Monday, May 26, 2014


This morning I asked my students to reflect on two questions as part of our migrations unit:

1.  What are some things people leave behind when they move?
2.  How does moving change people?

As no one in my class is native to Switzerland, I thought this might trigger some interesting thinking about moving and migration.  I also thought it was important to record my own ideas about these two questions to share with my kids.

When I move, the most important things I leave behind are relationships.  Leaving home, I left my mom and dad, who did not want me to move, who were (and at times, still are) very vocal about their disapproval of our overseas life.  I left my brother and his new wife and my sister.  I left behind a tight-knit group of friends that I married into when I married Jason.  It was not easy to say goodbye to any of these people and begin a new life overseas, with no established connections and friendships.

Since that initial move to Egypt, we have moved twice more.  Each time we've left behind dear friendships.  When you live overseas, your friends become your family, and each time we've said goodbye to those friends, my heart has broken a little.  Yes, we have Facebook, email, Skype, and blogs, but it is not the same.

When we move, we also leave behind places that are special to us.  Leaving Texas, I left the home that we brought Luke to after he was born, with many fond memories of good times there, memories of first steps and first words, walks around the block, and good times with neighbors and friends.  Leaving Egypt (gladly), we left behind places that had become part of our routine - Jared's Bagels, Lucille's, Maadi Community Church - and a place that had become our home - our shared apartment building with the Simons.  Leaving Venezuela, we left the beautiful Avila mountains outside our window, an apartment that felt like ours, and a school that was a place of refuge for us.  We also left favorite vacation spots - Siete Mares being the most memorable one.

Each time we move, we leave possessions, too.  I look at this as a good thing, as I always like to pare down what we have and leave with less.  However, there are always 1-2 things that I'd like to take, but can't because of space or weight.

Moving definitely changes people.  I've developed a harder shell that protects me emotionally and lets me detach from people a little bit, but I also have a soft underbelly - when I connect with people, I let them in more quickly than I might have at home.

Another way I've changed is that I can't remember anything anymore!  I have a brain full of faces and names that I can't match up, and I have forgotten so many things about home (like how to drive from one place to another).  When your head is filled with different countries and continents, things blur.

(Enough for now.)


Meera said...

Good write up:) I can understand how u felt!

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