I noticed early on that the expat life is a transient one. Or maybe it’s just Amsterdam – a European city with so many headquarter offices and people from around the world. I guess that would make it a combination of the two. In any case, almost a year ago I had to say goodbye to one of the first friends I made here. A person who introduced me to others who have become great friends. Now, close to a year later one of those great friends is also leaving. He’s been in Amsterdam for close to 7 years, a lot longer than many end up staying, and has been offered a great opportunity elsewhere so he is taking the job.
It really shouldn’t come as any surprise that people’s time here comes to an end. Most of the people I know moved far from home to be here. Making big changes in life isn’t as scary for these people. We’re living in a foreign country with a different language and culture. It isn’t a permanent home for many, just an adventure or stepping stone. As hard as it is to say goodbye one person at a time, I don’t want to think about what it will be like when it is my time to say goodbye to everyone (who is left) when I eventually leave.
In our world people come and go every day. It’s always someone’s first day living in a new place, finding their way, adventures just beginning and the unknown explored. Unfortunately it’s also always someone’s last day. Saying goodbye to the people they know and love, the places that are familiar and the things that make them feel at home. I wish my friend the best in this next chapter of his adventure and know he’ll find his way quickly. He and all of his funny little quirks will be missed here in Amsterdam. I just hope there aren’t too many more of these goodbyes in 2012.