Travel resolutions.

I’m not going to wax poetic about my year in review, ups & downs, what I plan to do in 2011, and all that bullshit. I don’t really feel like it. I will, however, wish you a Happy 2011. May you fulfill all your goals, especially your travel goals.

My travel goal/resolution is to go to Germany. Everything else is up in the air and will likely be spontaneous, so I won’t list any other countries as definite choices. Suffice it to say that I intend to visit other places as well.

Happy New Year. Take it easy and take care.

What are your travel resolutions? How will you meet them? If you document your travels, how will you do so? And finally, if you plan to expatriate, where are you going and why?

Home is where the heart is.

I’m heading home for a few weeks and will be on a plane by
the time you get this. I have a few pending blog entries in my
Drafts folder; this week was busy so I couldn’t publish/finish them
in the time frame that I expected. Don’t worry though… I have
lots of material, and I’ll publish the
pending entries once I recover from jet-lag and my family (which
should take a few days). I didn’t want to leave everyone hanging
without saying something.

I’m looking forward to seeing close
family members & friends, observing the differences
& similarities between the 2 countries & cities,
and appreciating my hometown & my new town for what each
has to offer. I’m also looking forward to getting some necessary
rest because I’m burned out; I realized a few days ago that I
haven’t had a proper vacation since September
2009
. That’s a long time to
go without self-care and time off. This time at home came at the
perfect time, and I’m glad to head home for the holidays.

I wish all of you a Merry Christmas and happy holidays, no matter what you
celebrate (or don’t). To those of you travelling, I wish you a safe
journey to your destinations and a wonderful time when you get
there. Be mindful/careful and have fun. Relax, take a chill pill…
whatever you do, just enjoy.

Happy holidays.

Happy holidays.

Dilemma.

Friends
How many of us have them?
Friends
Ones we can depend on
Friends
How many of us have them?
Friends
Before we go any further, let’s be
Friends*

Is a word we use everyday
Most the time we use it in the wrong way
Now you can look the word up, again and again
But the dictionary doesn’t know the meaning of friends

Whodini – Friends

Definition of “friend” – dictionary.com

I’ll be heading home for Xmas for 3 weeks, thanks to Europe’s strong belief in vacation time – lots of it. I’m looking forward to going home; I’ll get to see my closest family members & friends, eat food that I’ve missed for 6 months, and just plain old enjoy myself without worrying about work. I’m hoping to get to at least 1 other state to see family, but if I can’t afford it, at least I’ll be in my hometown and I can try that another time.

I’ve always been a big believer in closure, even during times that I wasn’t able to get proper closure from others. I had to learn how to do so on my own. Needless to say, leaving the United States forced me into another round of closures. On a good note, my closures with my closest friends, family members & mentors only forged our ties even more. On the other hand, I completely cut ties with a few people (including family members) and cooled down ties with others.

I blocked someone on Facebook (and off-line) who got mad at me on the eve of my close-friends-only going-away dinner (how convenient) for something so stupid that it doesn’t even deserve mention on here. I only extended an invitation because the person couldn’t come to the informal gathering, but it’s the principle of the matter that counts. (The fool recently voted for my character on a game we used to play together on Facebook; it annoyed me but I laughed it off as a passive-aggressive attempt at being nosey. Yes, I’m an adult who plays a game on Facebook. Shoot me for needing diversion from time to time. :-| )There are other people who I’ve known for years who should have attended (either 1 or both of) my going-away gatherings, but for some reason(s) or another, didn’t show up and made excuses. I’m not angry with them, but it made me see them in a different light….. especially since skipping out on things is a habit for some of them.

So far, I’ve only told my closest family members & friends who have maintained consistent contact with me (whether it’s once a week or once a month, it’s the thought that counts). I’ll see those people without a doubt, no matter how broke I am and no matter what it takes. The fact that they’ve kept in touch with me through the ups & downs of this experience speaks volumes and I can’t thank them enough. But the other people fit in a grey area.

You know those people.

Those are the people who didn’t know about my departure until a little over 2 weeks before I moved strictly because we weren’t that close to begin with and, when invited to my informal going-away gathering, didn’t make efforts to show up or couldn’t come for whatever reason(s) – valid (living too far away) or not. Also included in that group of people are those I’ve known for years who didn’t show up and made excuses (most of which were bullshit). A few of those people make it such a habit to not show up that I’m used to it, but I figured they’d at least try to make it to 1 of the 2 gatherings. And at least 1 of those people is so self-involved & shallow & superficial that the person wanted everything done on their watch, making everything about them as usual. That didn’t happen, nor will it ever again.

So….. What to do? I’ve been thinking about this for the past few days; I’ll be home in less than 3 weeks and this is a dilemma for me.

Has this happened with any fellow expatriates/travellers? How did you handle this before going home?

Any insight would be appreciated.

Disappearing acts.

Good night, sweetheart, I got to go now
Time won’t permit me to play no more now
But I’ll be back to do another show now
So good night, so long, bye, bye

Chuck Berry – Goodnight, Well It’s Time To Go

Before we left dinner, we exchanged numbers with intentions of meeting up again soon. Most of the people I met began work 4 days later, but 1 person started before me.

E arrived 2 weeks before me and he, too, came here solo. Everyone else has a spouse/partner so it was probably difficult for him. A different agency from ours recruited him, I later found out. Since I sat on one end of the table and he at the other end, we didn’t really talk except to exchange numbers and find out where we’re from. Neither of us knew that the other worked at the same place, nor did either of us know that we were from the same part of the United States until we went our separate ways that night.

I went to work the next day and, sure enough, we ran into each other – E was coming from shadowing a visit, and I was on my way to shadow a visit with one of my new team members. We said hello in passing since we were both in a hurry. It was Friday and even though it was my 1st week, it was still tiring. I was in the latter stages of jet lag, getting used to a new timezone, and beginning a new life. Needless to say, thank goodness it was Friday.

On the way home I sent E a text to say hello and TGIF. He wrote back and asked if I was doing anything over the weekend. I’m not sure about the rest of the weekend, but I definitely didn’t have any plans that day. He said we should hang out, maybe grab something to eat. I was really tired & hot, but I decided to take him up on his offer. I’d already pushed past my social anxiety to attend last night’s dinner; why not push myself a little further and meet up with him?

We decided to meet at a central place, but I was running a bit late. When I got to the tube station to transfer to the next one, the tube I needed to take shut down for some reason. (I learned later that it happens all the damn time. :-| ) I sent E a text, telling him the situation and that I’d see him in a bit.

I finally got to the place and noticed that he wasn’t there yet. About 30 minutes later, I received a text from him stating that he was on his way to meet me. Then I realized something….. Wait….. Did he leave to meet me at the tube station where I was initially stuck? I sent him a text with that question and sure enough, he’d left the central place to meet me where I got stuck. That was very thoughtful of him, but now I had to go back to where I was before. Sigh.

I sent him a text and said “I’m coming back over there. Don’t move.” I went to the nearest tube station to catch the next one and thank goodness, even with 1 transfer to another tube, everything was running better. I arrived & called him to let him know that I’d arrived. He didn’t answer so I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

For at least 1/2 hour.

Whilst waiting, I sent text messages describing my clothing (black shirt, black slacks, black flip-flops), if he’d forgotten what I looked like. Since this particular tube station is quite large, I also walked around to see if I’d find him, which was unfruitful. I knew something was wrong, so I tried calling E again, but alas….. My phone was out of credit for phone calls and there was nothing open at that time of night to allow for adding credit. I had some loose coins, so I called from a pay phone (the pay phones in London suck, by the way), and wouldn’t you know it….. E didn’t have any credit either because his phone went straight to voice-mail, and the phone operator stated that E wouldn’t receive any notifications until he added credit to his phone.

I used the last bit of credit I had to send E a text message explaining what happened, and I headed back to N’s house. I was a little disappointed but at least I tried. Besides, being tired gave me an excuse to head home.

The next day (Saturday) I had a couple of appointments to view flats. Even though I’d just gotten there and N wasn’t rushing me out of the house, I’ve always hated being a burden to others so I began flat hunting early. During the 2nd appointment, I received a text from E apologizing for last night. He confirmed that he ran out of credit and, since the tube station is so big, couldn’t find me. I called him and we apologized to each other. He then said, “You won’t believe where I am now.” I said, “Where?” He said, “At the airport. I have an emergency back home.” He then told me about having to return home because of a family emergency, as well as the long journey to the airport. One of his co-workers gave him a ride to the airport, which was nice, but she didn’t know where she was going and got lost. This led to him missing his original flight, which led to him spending more money on a brand new plane ticket. At the end of the conversation, he said he’d be back on Tuesday. I told him I’d send him a text message with my e-mail address so that he could contact me and, in turn, I’d tell everyone else. I wished him good luck and said “see you back at the office on Tuesday”.

Tuesday came and went.

By this time, everyone who was at the dinner started working, and I told them the situation. We figured that it was something serious since he hadn’t returned by Tuesday. A week and a half went by; we decided that one of us should find his supervisor to see if he was alright. I found the supervisor, who stated that he wasn’t returning until August 2nd. We were right – we knew it was something serious. Toward the end of the month, I had lunch with my recruiter and told him the situation. Having worked in the business for years, he said

“I’m a cynical bastard. That young man isn’t coming back.” (I love how brutally honest many Britons are.)

I said, “You really think so?” He said, “Listen, I’ve worked in this business long enough to know. When they pull the disappearing act, they’re not coming back, especially if there’s no explanation.”

August 2nd came & went and sure enough, he didn’t return. By this time, we’d already established our work schedules and were too busy to remember. But he never returned.

Epilogue:
After a little investigative work (also known as being nosey), my co-worker’s wife figured out that E likely returned to the United States for his son. Yes….. He has a son that no one knew about. We still don’t know all the facts, but based on the investigative work & finding out that he left a son (and possibly the child’s mother?) there, that was our conclusion. He’s connected with a few of us on Facebook, but mum’s still the word.
______________________________________

Has this ever happened with you? Or better yet, have you done this yourself? Tell us here.