Saturday, June 27, 2015

The high price of living away from home

Over the past weeks I had my twin sister visiting me in Philadelphia. For the first time she was the one leaving when we said goodbye. While I am the one who would be away from our family and happenings, I experienced this time all the bitterness of driving back home from the airport, with my mind filled of flashbacks from the new memories we made. I sighted entering my now empty house, already missing the fun and energy my sister and her kids had brought in. Not knowing when we will do the same again. The following article fell on my lap right after, while I waited for my husband to arrive, and get my mind an easy, since my thoughts were racing back replaying all the decisions we made and make everyday, as very normal expatriates. It is so perfect written, since 2 days ago I have been making its translation from Portuguese, so I could share it with you. If anyone is interested in reading the original, here it is.

By Ruth Manus:

The High Price Of Living Away From Home.
Costs that go way beyond rent.

Flying: the eternal jealously and frustration mankind experience every time a flying bird cuts the sky. We learned to do a million of different things, but being able to fly... That's something life didn't allow us. Maybe for knowing that we, humans, belong to places and people too easily, and in this case, flying would bring crises hard to handle, between the temptation to leave and need to stay.

Well. Then man created the wheel. The Kombi. Skateboard. Harley. The Boeing 737. And we discovered that we could fly without wings. But things got complicated when we realized we could leave without a date to return.

After this, all the braves began to arise leaving behind their poor cities full of misery and hunger to feed their families in capitals filled with opportunities and monsters. These braves left the comfort of their own home to study and dream of an incredible and hypothetic future awaiting them. They left beloved cities to live opportunities that can't happen twice in their lives. These people in the end left behind the lives they could held in their hands, flying to new lives they decided to face with an open heart.

The lives of those who go flying elsewhere are paradoxal, every day. It is a constant heart on the fence. It is crying for wanting to be there while not willing to move from here. It is seeing heaven and hell on departures, and dreams and nightmares in staying. It's to be proud of the choice that offered you a thousand treasures, and hate yourself for the same choice that took from you another thousands precious things.

Living this life is a classic routine: laying in bed thinking of your old home, in the miles away, in the beloved people there, in what they are doing without you, in the laughters you didn't participate, and the hard times you were not there to help either. It's trying to hide a tear without success, and sight knowing you are the only to hold responsible for your decisions. In the next morning, it's wake up feeling alright. Life makes sense again, even though you know other nights like that will come.

But do we ever learn to... get sick without being taken care of, smell food with our eyes, make empty apartments into homes, transform coworkers into friends, pain into resistance, strongly missing someone into just thinking of one?

Will we learn to... be a son/ daughter from far, love via Skype, see kids growing by videos, pretend that Whatsapp can substitute a bar table, be a friend through emoticons instead giving hugs, laugh out loud while typing HAHAHAHAHA... to swallow up the crying and move forward?

I wonder if that will always be the fate of those going through this. Will we be still asking ourselves if we should be here or there? Is this sort of a test, a choice, braveness or karma?

Wondering if we will ever know what's the right place to be. After all, is there a right place to be and live all the uncertainties of life that we insist on pretending we can control?

I know it is not easy. And admire those who face all this, every day. Those who left Vitória da Conquista, Sao José do Rio Preto, Floripa, Juiz de Fora, Recife, Sorocaba, Cuiabá or Paris to build a life in Sao Paulo. Those who left Sao Paulo to go to Rio, Brasilia, Dublin, New York, Aix-en-provence, Brisbane, Lisbon. Those who left Bolivia, Colombia or Haiti to live in Brazil. Those who changed Portugal to Italy, Italy to France, France to Emirates. Those who left Senegal or Marrakesh to pursue happiness in France. Those who left Angola, Mozambique or Cape Verde to live in Portugal. My admiration to those who try, face things up, and go.

It is a high price to pay. We ask ourselves, blame ourselves, stress ourselves. But destiny, life, and our own gut sometimes say we should leave. Some don't go. Those like me who did, are not free of fear and many weaknesses. But we are forever free from fearing to never have tried. Keep walking.