The Hardest Part About Living Overseas – Losing Family

Living overseas is a blessing. It’s an experience few people get to enjoy. Whether it’s for work or studying abroad, I’d recommend if you come across an opportunity to live overseas, TAKE IT. My favorite interaction with Japanese locals are with those whose spent time living outside of Japan. Not because they speak better English, but because they possess a more worldly perspective.

I’ve been living overseas for over five years, having called two countries my home. But I think the worst part about living overseas is losing family members.

There’s nothing more gut wrenching than receiving a call in the middle of the night, or early in the morning (because of time zones), and finding out your aunt or uncle passed away. By virtue of living overseas, I might not have seen him or her for a few years. Living under the false assumptions that I’ll see them when I get back. It sucks. It really does.

This past holiday season was a new challenge for my family, upon learning that my wife’s uncle was dying from cancer. His time left on this Earth was limited, and we were halfway around the world.

Life is chaotic and news like that is an expression of life’s chaos. I think as a family, we took the news as best as we could. I totally supported and encouraged my wife to fly back to America if she felt the need to see her uncle before his passing, but she didn’t want to go at any cost. Because flights back that week were somewhere upwards of five thousand dollars. And the more affordable flights had exceptionally length layover times.

Thankfully, technology allows us to communicate with our loved ones in ways we wouldn’t usually be able to. We can text, send pictures and video chat for updates.

We absolutely had the money to fly back home, but out of principle would not pay for it. This is what’s hard about living overseas. If you need to take an emergency flight across the ocean, expect to pay car money. And you know what sucks the most, there’re many people who don’t get to make that choice. Some people, take out loans to pay their way to go home, only to find themselves in significant debt.

If I flew to Italy tomorrow, it would cost $750. If I flew to California or New York, it would cost nearly double that amount.

I’m sorry my first post of 2020 turned out to be a bummer, but it’s something I felt I needed to express. Like I said earlier, living overseas is an amazing experience, but it’s easy to feel isolated from family back home.

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