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The Expat Season

It’s that season. The cycle in the expat life where people you’ve grown to know and love deeply, depart for their next adventure. Sometimes that journey takes them home even if just for a summer – oftentimes, it sends these friends to amazing new places to call “home.” When we lived overseas, this season always seemed to be the hardest for me. It was marked by goodbyes or farewell-for-now’s that often left me feeling melancholy. Today seems no different, and while I've long since lived as an expat, it feels like yesterday.

Vietnam Airlines over HCM

My friend Molly was recently wrapping up her time in Vietnam and looked back on a post she wrote 2 years prior:


“Life is big. But sometimes it is too big. Along with postcards and anecdotes, I’ve collected people. People who live all over this too big planet. I keep adding these people, these wonderful people, onto my list of those I already had before I left the States. The Originals.

Now there are days, a great many days actually, where I feel a little like a Raggedy Ann doll with bits of thread extending out from where her heart is supposed to be; thread tangling and twisting to California, and Idaho, and New York, and Paris, and London and everywhere else those loved ones have landed.

The pulling of those threads can sometimes be painful.

I suppose it is not the worst problem to have, to love too much…to love too many, but it can be overwhelming when all the miles and years get added up.”


Molly, your story is my story, and that of so many of the people I’ve collected along the miles and the years. My threads twist and tangle to Saigon, and Zambia, and Paris, and Virginia, and California, and South Africa, and Singapore, and Australia, and Costa Rica and back home to Oregon.

As I sit on the other side of the world now reflecting on these people who have left bits of threads extending from my heart, I smile and appreciate just how much that tribe has grown.

And yet still, those heart strings tug and the pain creeps back. It’s just that season.

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