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Open letter to a special friend / family member who has immigrated

My special.. 

Where do I begin? I’m sorry I didn’t realise what immigration means.. how could I, when I’m dealing with the grief of you not being around any more.. well, you are, but you aren’t. You get what I’m saying.. thank goodness for technology! 

I’m sorry I took our catch ups for granted, that being around the corner from you seemed so normal and a part of daily life. When actually, this is a complete luxury. Something I will never take for granted with any family or friendship around me – thank you for showing me the value of relationships and appreciating time spent with loved ones.

I’ve come to know that immigration comes at a price. You’ve made the decision to move to another country.. and whilst you had your reasons and your currency may be stronger than ours, I know people think to themselves – “oh you’re earning pounds / dollars / euros..” but that currency has come at a price. You’ve had to find your way, with no community, no family and no friends. You’re an adult yet you feel like a little child, hoping to sit with someone to share your lunch with. 

Your world has changed around you.. and you’re exploring new things. I sometimes get jealous when I see your photos, maybe because you’re braver than me, or you’ve gotten an opportunity that I want, but doesn’t seem to be on the cards for me right now.. and whilst Instagram may look dandy and I bet it is amazing to see new things and experience a new way of life, I now know that leaving your favourite meal spots, your favourite coffee shops with a bestie or seeing me on the school run while fetching or dropping our kiddies is the loss you’ve had to endure. And even though you’re not here with me, at least I have the comforts of familiar faces, short catch ups and things I enjoy. 

Having said this, It’s been tough on me too.. time zone changes, daily life happenings, I’ve tried my best to keep in touch, but also I’ve probably underestimated just how much that continuous check in or simple emoji might mean to you. This journey of immigration seems like “no pain no gain” .. it takes time to settle in, meet new people, make conversation, make an expat friend (only to know and realise that those friends may come and go regularly), to break the ice with people, to try form community, to gain a sense of belonging, try fit into a church that you can call home, all whilst seeing your people, together in your home country, moving on without you… I guess you’ve realised who your true friends are right? I hope I’m one of them. You’ve seen how friends put in so much effort in the beginning, text, FaceTime, voice note… only to see the good ones, the loyal ones slowly sieved through the pack, showing you that they’re there for good. 

I may not have been there for them all, but I’m grateful to have shared some of your highs, and some of your lows.. and that’s ok too. My special… know how brave you are, how proud I am of you. I can see how much you’ve grown and experienced. I think I didn’t quite realise what this road of immigration looks like… but now that I’ve got a better idea, I promise to support those who decide to leave, and those dear to me a little bit better. I also need to thank you, I know you’ve tried your best to be there for me too, to love and support from far away. To encourage and uplift when I needed it most. I’m sorry if I withdrew from you a little, perhaps it comes down to this grieving process.. one things for sure, is that I am glad to have been apart of the ride, even a fraction of it. Just as you do and care for me, know that I will do the same. 

Give yourself some grace, take a deep breath and know that even the Israelites had to travel through Egypt to get to the promised land. Your time is coming and I can’t wait to be apart of it! 

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