About a month ago I sat in an internet cafe in Thailand talking to my mom, finding out my grandfather had just died. I sat there at the computer crying, getting some weird looks from the loud European guys sitting nearby.
Just a few weeks later, using the internet in a hotel lobby in Frankfurt, Kevin learned that his grandmother had passed away. And then we had to hurry off to the airport to catch a flight.
Sitting in the internet cafe in Thailand, I thought back to three years ago, when I was in that same internet cafe trying to get a-hold of friends and family to tell them I just got engaged (to someone they had yet to meet).
“Hi, I wanted to tell you I'm engaged!! What? I said ENGAGED... Wait, the connection must be bad, let me call back...”
“Hi, I keep trying to call but am just getting voice mail. I have something really important to tell you so...I'll try back later...”
When you live on the other side of the world, when you are traveling almost a fourth of the year, these things don't always work out how you would want them to. You want your family to meet the man you are going to marry. You want to hear and tell important news in person. You want to be at your friends' weddings and meet their babies, or at least their spouses! You want to be there when someone in your family dies.
It's strange how I will come back to that internet cafe every year and it will hold memories of important times in my life. An internet cafe. Sitting there I thought, “This is my life. This is just how things happen.” It sounds depressing, but it actually wasn't a bitter or cynical thought. I guess it was more one of acceptance. I realized...it's okay. There are a lot of great things about our life, and this is one of the parts that is hard. It's one of the parts that will always be hard. I talk to people who have lived here for 10 or 20 years, and they still hate missing those important things happening back home.
Sometimes there is hardly even time for these things to seem real. You are so far away and everything is happening back at home. The rest of the family is gathered, the funeral happens, and you just feel so distanced from it all. You still expect things to be the same when you come back.
This is one of the hard parts of our life. And yet...and yet, it's okay.