I'm an expat who happens to have a blog. But I feel I should be relatively honest about what an expat's life is. Sometimes I'll come across a student who'll tell me they used to live in the south of France (a twelve-hour drive from where they live now) and how it was just too far from their family. I know what you mean, I say. And then some.
No more is that true than when family members fall ill. That was our case last week when my grandma fell and had to go to the hospital for a little less than a week. I wished I could just hop in the car or take a short plane ride to see her. But for me, seeing my family involves a minimum of about a 16 or 17-hour day when you count the train ride before and the car ride after. So I feel a bit helpless whenever anything happens way over there. I can call and hear my grandma's cheery voice and assure myself she's doing a little better. I can send emails and, more importantly, receive them to get updates. But not much more.
Luckily she's home from the hospital now but still recovering from her fall. Now my family is taking turns taking care of her, and again I'm a bit left out in that aspect. I know they don't resent me for it, but I just wish things were easier.
The best I can do from way over here is send out a big get well to her and a big hug to all the family over there!