I know I’m lucky to be living over here, having adventures, making memories and blah blah blah. But being an ex-pat means you miss out on things back home, and sometimes that brings on the Ex-Pat Blues.
Today my brother was hooded for his PhD. This is a big deal, and I wanted to be there, but I am an ocean away. But this is the 2000s, darn it (or ‘noughties’!) and if I can’t be there in person, I can be there virtually! The University of Kentucky kindly makes these things streamable (a word? no? is now!) for those of us loved ones who can’t make it to the ceremony. So I set my alarm for what would be 9am in Kentucky, made myself some tea, popped open my netbook and sat down to cheer him on from London.
But the internet was really spotty and after like 2 hours of it ‘buffeting’ and recalibrating, I managed to catch choppy bits of everyone walking across the stage except my brother.
This is the part of being an ex-pat that isn’t so glittery and fun. You want to be there for everyone’s big moments, but you can only fly home so often, so you only make it to a few of them. And everyone’s having babies, and getting married, and graduating, and they don’t stop just cuz you move away. You want to pause life and return to it untouched, but dude, life keeps going.
So later I’ll watch the video on archive. And I’ll smile, listening for my family’s proud cheers from the audience, and swell up with pride. It’s not the same. I know. Like facebook status updates aren’t the same as phone calls and phone calls aren’t the same as having a laugh over lunch or coffee.
The internet is great for some things, but others are meant for sharing in person.