I was thinking recently about the new perspective you get on life when you live elsewhere in the world.
It occurred to me that I could think of only around half a dozen friends who instigate contact with me (either by post, text or email) on a relatively regular basis – and two of these friends do not live in the UK either. I am not sure this was any different before I moved to NZ but in the UK I had regular meetings with people and was more immersed in shared experiences and life in general. The relationships were more organic. It might not seem much but when someone says “Hi, how are you?” once in a while, it can mean a lot. Everyone is busy just living their lives I guess and a one-size-fits-all approach with social media seems to be how people conduct ‘friendships’ these days which is pretty strange when you think about it.
It will be interesting to see how well I settle back in to these relationships when I return to the UK for a holiday this year. My life has changed quite a bit since I last saw these friends and perhaps theirs has not. I wonder whether a lack of interaction over time starts to render us strangers or if that just melts away naturally as some friendships are stronger than time and distance. I obviously hope that the latter is true. A lack of familiarity should make these new interactions more fulfilling and interesting though.
In some ways I think this stranger-element could also be true of family relationships but to a much lesser extent. It is interesting since being in NZ how little family seem to instigate FaceTime or similar regular interactions. I am not sure if the 11-13 hour time difference is just too tough to work out or if they think we are likely to be too busy off doing something – which is no different to living in a different place in the UK really – but you would think this would be a natural two-way street. Such is life I guess.
Does anyone have any similar experiences from extended time overseas and how have you found returning “home”?