My friend Anita emailed me recently from the airport in Los Angeles. She and her husband were waiting for their flight to Australia, where Anita is starting a new position.
Also on the e-mailing list were Anita’s far-flung children, all in their twenties. One daughter is traveling in Asia after completing graduate school, another daughter is starting a new job in Florida. Her son is working on his doctorate in Connecticut. Her family is accustomed to staying in contact long-distance, and part of the email was to discuss new telephone arrangements.
Someone in the family is always traveling in a distant land. Family members have studied in Africa, Europe, Central America and more.
Anita is in her second career, which began in Honduras in 2005. Honduras now seems so close to “home,” which is upstate New York, she says. Australia is so far away. But she’s really looking forward to her new posting there.
When Anita moved to Honduras, I moved to a new neighborhood in my same city the same year. She moved thousands of miles to a new country with a new career and a new language. I moved five miles and didn’t even change grocery stores. I joked about how I fussed over the adjustments I had to make, but they were puny compared with hers.
The hardest part is being so far from family and friends, she says. There are no cheap, short flights. I remembered how hard it was on me when my daughter was at college 1,500 miles away, and I didn’t like that my son’s university was a three and a half-hour drive away.
She wrote to her children: “We hope to see you all as soon as possible. We love you all dearly and will miss you, but you all have it together, and we know you’re all in great hands — your own.”
It’s a good lesson to all of us.