Warning to future expats, family reunions can be painful

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Mom and I have just one beer

Mom visited Hungary for five weeks. I hadn’t seen her in over three years, and before that four!

When we moved away from Canada my mother frequented Europe on vacation, and I just assumed she would continue. However, as we age, the time change and our health doesn’t always let us continue the things we like to do. Life gets in the way: work, obligations, age, health…and of course money!

I managed to convince her to come, to see if she might want to move here. However she decided to stay put in her little retirement community, a place where many Hungarians live. She cannot give up comfort for an adventure at 68!

The hardest part of moving around like vagabonds is that you see family less frequently, and when you say hello and goodbye it can be incredibly painful. Yet we still do it, why? For me to give my children exposure to the  world first hand is bar none the #1 reason. To introduce them to culture, traditions, the idea of travel being essential, and a variety of new sounds through languages offers them different perspectives and opens their minds to the idea of ‘others’. They see for themselves that people are truly more similar than different., and they have seen so many interesting things already and they are 15 & 17! I can only imagine how cool they will be when they grow up.

We also got to reunite with one of my favourtie cousins in the last 5 years, I did not see her for ten years! After our family fell out over an unexpected death of their patriarch and the sad realization that they screwed mom out of her inheritance, the families never spoke again. However, my little cousin came around and we could not be happier. In the end, money means nothing, but family is truly forever. I can get past many things in my life, and realize I cannot change the past, I can learn and move forward. Eh voila!

I cried when I accidentally bumped into her and her new husband on a street while walking along exploring the city in our first year here. It was a fabulous moment of reconciliation, something that i will never forget.

I think this is by far the hardest thing, seeing family, rebuilding bridges, reuniting family and trying super hard to make things easier on everyone. Life is full of twists and turns and I can only hope that I don’t bring sadness or harm to anyone around me. I just want to live my little quiet existence and perhaps bring happiness to those around me.

Goodbyes are heartbreaking.  Bye mom! See you soon!


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