I had a hard time making a video to accompany this blog post. I am sad after driving a good friend to the airport who was an integral part of my expat experience here. I know that he will be back to Barbados again. He loves it as much as I do.
It can be difficult living in a transient place with people coming and going. I get attached to some of them and it is hard to say goodbye. So difficult that it causes me to wonder why I do it.
The beautiful thing is that I have found community here. Most of us expats don’t have family here and our friends are in our home countries. We turn to each other for support. My closest friends here I have known for less than a year. Let me be clear, that these are not acquaintances, but true friendships. Sure, we have surfed, laughed, and partied together. We have also cried, talked about the future, and big decisions.
Keelan and James were one of the first to leave and the hardest for me to say goodbye.
Dany and Kev left before the lockdowns last year, but they have since returned for a visit
Vanessa was here for a short time but touched Kate and I deeply. We saw her just last week via Zoom from Toronto.
How is it possible for it to be so hard to say goodbye to someone that you have known for so little time? How can the bonds be this way after such a short time? For me, it comes down to three ingredients:
- Curiosity – What can I learn about you and where you come from? How can we help each other form our views of the world?
- Adventure – My group of friends here are especially adventurous by nature of moving country in the middle of the pandemic. Although, we continue to ask each other what are you curious about seeing and doing? What are your passions and how will these play out in your future adventures?
- Living in the Moment – We know that most likely we will leave this place at some point. Yet, we throw out whole selves into the moment as though it will never end. This takes a vulnerability that many are not willing to commit.
It doesn’t take moving to a foreign country to find these. If these elements are present, these bonds can be made at home.
When I was eighteen, I entered university and lived in residences at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo. The girls on my residence floor had no idea what we were doing but turned to each other for support. Heather, one of my close university friends, has been the only person to fare the pandemic to visit me in Barbados. This is a life-long bond. [Please note that I know it has been difficult to travel in the pandemic, which is why I haven’t left the island. This does not blame others for not traveling here, and furthers my point about the thirty-year bond between Heather and I.]
Heather and I after our surf lesson with Bodie at Freights Bay.
Whenever Jamie and I were out, people would say to me, “Your husband/boyfriend is so good looking!” Then they would quiz me about why he was not my boyfriend. Maybe they couldn’t wrap their head around a male and female being friends. More likely, it is the closeness of our friendship that shone through.
Jamie and I at his going away party, as the sun sets on Pebbles beach on the south coast.
Kate, the South Africans, Erin and Darren, to name a few of my friends, are still here. I am going to be with them in this sliver of time in Barbados. I will continue to cherish them as my expat community. #gratitude
With Lorena and Kate on the water at Drill Hall, chatting while we wait for the next set.
My question to you:
When have you been in a sliver of time, in the moment, that has allowed you to form a community and a bond that you know will always be with you?