One of the hardest parts of expat life is when good friends announce they’re off to pastures new and you find yourself being forced to embrace the dreaded farewell.
It’s happened to lots of us pre-summer and it’s almost certainly likely to happen again, (even when you least expect it), so if you’re one for shedding a tear or two, here are some tips on how to survive those emotional goodbyes (*sob*) and carry on life as we know it – without totally losing the plot!
1. Don’t forget that it’s not goodbye forever. One of the greatest things about living in Dubai is the number of amazing friends that you meet. Some of these relationships are with baby group pals, school friends or neighbours and some will evolve into something really and truly special, guaranteeing long-lasting friendships across the miles for years to come. So dry those tears and keep your chin up – you can be assured that you’ll meet again in the future; and as we know, time flies and soon enough you’ll find yourself meeting up in a gorgeous British park on a wonderful summer’s day.
2. It will always be upsetting as you wave goodbye – it really is an expat truth that your friends become your family. However, in the run-up to their departure, try to avoid thinking too deeply about all the “last times.” – Live in the moment, enjoy every minute and don’t stress about capturing every moment on social media! By all means take pictures but remember that you also have this wonderful thing called a memory and you’ll soon realise that the pictures and conversations stored in there can be just as colourful and more powerful than any photograph you’ll ever take.
3. Once they’ve gone through the departure gate that one last time and life begins to return to normal, try to be positive about this wonderful new opportunity for them and for you -see it as a chance to trace along another thread in life’s rich tapestry and explore new friendships but by all means, throw yourself into some cake or even new experiences if you’d like; Bikram yoga anyone?
4. Don’t forget to look up. Somebody around you, (and often closer than you think), has been there too. You’ll be so surprised, and possibly moved to tears, at the way your other friends start to rally round and make you feel normal again. Being invited to join some new school mums for a coffee and a chat or to tag along to a weekly soft-play meet-up is a real blessing when you’re feeling a little low. Nurture these new friendships and remember this kindness when somebody else has a good pal leaving for new shores. It’s all about spreading the love!
5. It’s worth remembering that life really does just keep moving on. No amount of last play dates, final drinks or #makingmemories moments can stop the inevitable and, when you keep that in mind, it seems a bit silly to get too sad. Just be happy that you’ve found such a great friend, shared many fabulous times and remember it isn’t the end, it’s only the beginning of an exciting, new chapter of expat life.