Right now is the worst time of year around these parts. 

It’s probably what it feels like back home when winter is settling in and you know there are months of cold, dreary, dark days ahead.  Here, the heat is becoming oppressive. You can’t be outdoors.  The winds are howling, adding to the intensity.

Kids are writing exams.  They are stressed.  Parents are stressed. 

Lives are moving forward.  Living here, that means good-bye parties are being held.  Shipping containers are regularly showing up, huge trucks parked in front of houses.  Signs are posted all around with large household items for sale.  Houses are being packed up, likely much heavier than when they arrived.  Goodbyes are being whispered.  Perhaps secretly hoping that if  you don’t say them too loud it will be almost like a dream and therefore not really going to happen.  Tears flowing.

Not all conversations of moving are sad.  Stories of families moving on to new challenges and adventures can be uplifting and exciting.  Some families being re-united during the summer months.  Together once again after they’re sometimes torn apart mid-year due to employer’s work needs elsewhere, while Mom’s stay behind ‘getting the kids through school’.

It is always a time of moving on. 

Usually, those leaving do so with mixed feelings.  Anticipation and nervousness of what lays ahead.  Sadness thinking of the friends and experiences they’re leaving behind. 

Then there are the other group – those not moving on.   For them, there is no excitement of meeting new friends.  No anticipation of starting a new life.  They mourn the loss of losing friends, once again.  Perhaps even for some, wishing they were also finished their time here. 

It’s a strange lifestyle.  People warn you going in to this that you need to get used to friends coming and going; moving on.  I’m not sure how you do that.  When you live so far away from your usual circle of friends and family to the other side of the WORLD, the people you meet here become those friends and family. 

I have only one dear friend moving, about a month from now.  Over the past 8 years she’s been my friend, my neighbor, at times a work colleague . There are other acquaintances leaving.  For them I can be happy, wish them well and be thankful for meeting them, getting to know them a little.  For dear friends though – what do you say?

I saw a comment on Facebook the other day that summed it up for me…..The lady who posted it is speaking of someone who’s just left, and she herself has 3 weeks left here ……

Sure gonna miss you these last 3 weeks, and forever.

Forever.  How do you say goodbye forever?

People here are from all over the world.  Too far apart from one another to just pop in and visit sometime, or even plan a holiday to visit.  Unless you have become the best, of best, of friends, you will likely never see each other again. 

Of all the people we’ve grown close to over the years the only ones we have seen since they left are 1) people from our home-town, and 2) one family we made a special, long trip, to visit – once.

Personally, as I said, there’s only one good friend who I’m really gonna miss around here.  But, you can sense the heartache of many stretched all around the schools, places of work, the neighborhoods.  ‘Cause forever is a very long time.