Saturday, May 12, 2012

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

This is an entry that I'm a bit ambivilent about and one I thought about keeping to myself rather than putting on the blog.  But after writing in Aidan's birthday entry that I can't sugar coat life, I feel like it's one that is a part of our lives abroad and so therefore it's something I need to put out there.  It's one that I think people could take the wrong way because they may not quite get my "tone" of voice in my writing.  So let me just say up front that this is about how I'm feeling right at this moment.  It's not anger, it's not resentment, it's generally just a sense of loss and disconnection from home.  There are no accusations and no one is at fault for anything that I'm about to write.  It's all about the tests of time and being out of sight and out of mind.  So please bear that in mind as you read...

I'm heading to the States this week for my brother's wedding.  I'm super excited about being on US soil again for the first time in 11 months.  But I'm not going to Boston...instead, I'm heading to Minneapolis which is where the wedding is being held.  Three days to test out my legs back in my homeland.  However, in just over a month, I will be back home home (as the boys call it)...home to Boston. 

And I'm looking forward to our trip home.  But what's weird is that my calendar feels pretty empty.  Normally I'm scrambling to fit everyone in and every minute of every day is scheduled.  I usually return to Barcelona after 2 1/2 weeks with some kind of illness from just running myself ragged.  And every year I tell myself that I won't do that again this year.  But strangely enough, my calendar is doing it for me and I'm feeling a bit distressed about it.

The question is why?  Why don't I have much planned?  I've told everyone we are coming though I haven't reached out individually (my fault) - but normally we're all talking on a regular basis and it just comes up in conversation and we start to plan and it just happens organically...but not this time.  I am feeling like I need to make a more concerted effort on my part and I recognize that I'm the one who left and that life has gone on at home without me, but it never felt this way before.  Lately I've been feeling a sense of being disconnected with many our friends from home.  I'm not sure why.  It may be me, it may be them.  I don't think it's anything intentional on any of our parts.  For almost 2 1/2 years we've all managed to be pretty good about staying in touch either via phone, email, facebook or skype.  But for the last month or two, it's feeling like suddenly the distance is making a huge difference in our relationships.  It's out of sight, out of mind - we're not there and with the exception of 2 1/2 weeks a year, we won't be there again for 3 more years.  Maybe I'm imagining it.  Maybe I'm creating a mountain out of a molehill.  But since as I wrote in the entry about Aidan's birthday, this is all a part of our experience abroad and so I'm putting it out there - hopefully no one is going to be offended... 

I actually think it's Aidan's birthday that triggered this entry.  And again, I hope no one takes this the wrong way because I know that I've made a few late calls to kids at home or sent presents a day or two late.  But I guess the point is, I still did it.  Aidan leaves messages for his really close friends at home on their voice mails (the time difference usually doesn't enable us to call when his friends are home since more than likely it's a school night and his friends are at school when he gets home and he's long in bed by the time they get home) for their birthdays.  We send presents.  This year, Aidan didn't get a single call except from family.  It was a little heartbreaking.  And again, I don't think it was an intentional hurtful kind of slight - I think it's another instance of "out of sight, out of mind".  We aren't there on the forefront anymore and now that 2 years away has stretched halfway into our 3rd year, the efforts are changing, on both ends - we're all continuing on with our lives no matter where we live.  We're no longer a constant everyday part of the same group as much as we try and hope to remain.  All we can do is continue to let people know that we are coming back eventually and that their friendships mean the world to us.  And that without them and their support, we never would have been able to embark on this adventure in the first place. 

People move all the time, it's just a part of life.  Rarely though, do people move and then come back to the same place as we intend to do.  And I think because of this, it's added a slightly different dynamic to what I have for expectations.  I've worked harder to stay in touch because I know that we'll be back but maybe I haven't worked hard enough.  And I've worked to make sure that Aidan stays in touch with his friends (though it's incredibly hard because at his age he's really not a fan of either the phone or skype so I know I could do better with this).  Maybe I haven't done enough or maybe I'm expecting too much??  Friends of ours that have moved away without the intention of coming back - our friendships have either continued to bloom organically or they have wilted over time.  But my relationship with them is different than those that I would see daily. 

What's interesting to me is the people that I didn't see on a daily basis are actually the ones I have plans with.  Is it because we were already used to communicating differently that our friendships are standing the tests of time and distance?  Because we had already been putting forth the efforts long before I left for Barcelona? 

And what does this mean that my relationships at home are changing?  I know that friendships evolve over time depending on where you are in your life and where the other person is in theirs.  Sometimes you grow together, sometimes you grow apart.  Has my time abroad forced some of these friendships apart and will we be able to repair any "damages" once I'm back for good?  My hope is that our trip to the States at the end of June will refresh all of our minds as to why we all became friends in the first place and that it will feel as though we never left... I guess like anything else, only time will tell. 


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