Expat life: the downside

I adore living in London: the daily buzz, the excitement, the life that runs through this city, the adrenaline kick you get each time you are out and about. I’m so grateful to live here and I wouldn’t change if for the world, BUT living far away from my family has a huge downside: I miss the daily life routine together.

I used to visit my family in Italy very often but now, with two kids, it becomes harder which means we see each other a little less. I’m so glad my mum visits us every few months so that Catherine can build a strong bond with her. However, apart form that, we are on our own. This makes us even closer: we rely on each other, we treasure each other, we are enough for each other because that’s how it has to be.

It was so nice to have my mum, sister and her little one here with us for a whole week but, at the same time, it’s almost impossible to go back to our routine without shedding some tears. Even if I’m full of gratitude it is still so hard to say goodbye. To shut the door and go back to a house that is suddenly so silent.

It always takes me a few days to adjust, to get stuck into that normal routine again. For a few days I accidentally call their name, like they are still here and I long for more time together. Sometimes, it is almost as if it was easier if we would never see each other but I know that is so not true.

Me and my family are different, SO DIFFERENT, a difference so huge that it almost torn us apart. I feel somehow that distance makes our relationship stronger, we must fully take advantage of those moments, treasure them. We try to fill them with memories and sometimes that even builds up some tension but, surely, having limited time to spend together makes us all move past our differences and defects.

With time, saying goodbye becomes even harder: Catherine is so aware of everything now and it is heartbreaking seeing her cry because she misses her nonna, her aunt and cousin. In those moments I feel so happy that I can just hold her in my arms and comfort her for as long as she needs. I’m so grateful for her showing me, through her innocence, what matters the most in life: LOVE; nothing else.

I still remember when I had to leave my seaside flat where I spent a month each summer with my grandparents, I was in tears for days. I was so sad but now those memories are some of the best I have.

I know that I have to be grateful for having had my family here for a week, to have had the chance of showing them glimpses of our lives here in London. Even if it’s sad today, these days will be wonderful memories tomorrow and forever. So because I’m human (and extremely sensitive) and I will shed some tears, I’m also keeping in mind how extremely lucky I was to have them here.

Family is ultimately the most important thing we have and I will be looking forwards to our next adventure with a full and grateful heart.

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