I apologise once again for my lack of blog posts.
Just when both myself and members of my family were gradually getting accustomed to coping with the death of our father earlier this year, my uncle died suddenly five days ago and the family has once again been plunged into mourning and reflection.
Unfortunately, the death of my uncle coincided with a time when we are in between postings having completed one overseas posting and about to take up another. This has meant that as much as I wanted to, I could not attend my uncle's funeral. As I would have had only two days to make a visa application for my return journey into the country we are temporarily living in, (the application procedure for a single entry visitor visa normally takes up to ten working days). We were biding our time, attending business meetings, familiarising ourselves with the country at our next posting whilst awaiting the necessary work and residence permits prior to going away on annual leave.
At times like these, it makes me think that the life of an expatriate is often much misunderstood by some people who have never had to leave the comfort zone of their home, family, friends, city and country in order to go and live and/or work in another country. Being an expatriate comprises of much more than a string of social occasions and parties.
By its very nature, being an expatriate means that for reasons beyond your control, you inevitably end up missing and unable take part in important family events throughout the year such as deaths, funerals, births, weddings, birthdays, visiting relatives in hospital following an operation, illness or an accident, taking turns in looking after elderly parents and/or relatives and participating in religious holidays and celebrations as well as other family related events and gatherings which you would have otherwise participated in had you been back at home.
So, as Christmas and New Year approaches this year, let us spare a thought for everyone who is far from home and who will celebrate the festive season away from their friends and family.