If you’re living in a country people are curious about (or if you have family and friends that really do miss you), you can count on having visitors.
This can either be a source of stress (How will I keep them entertained? Where will they sleep? How disruptive will this be to my newly-established routine?) or a great opportunity. You will not only put their minds at ease that you haven’t fallen off the edge of the earth but also help them appreciate what you’ve come to love about your new home.
Even though Cuenca, Ecuador is just one stop in our nomadic travels, staying here for six weeks seems to qualify as a “temporary home”–and one we look forward to coming back to. So having two of our daughters come during their winter break was a top priority so we could spend quality time together and they could learn about and appreciate a new place.
It really helped that we sent them lists of restaurants, sites, and events ahead of their visit. Building excitement before their arrival made them a part of the planning and had them more invested in making it a great time together.
Okay, in the interest of full disclosure we did pay for their tickets.
But they are financially independent and pretty picky about how they spend their free time so we were very happy they chose to spend it with their parents. We were committed from the very beginning to making it a memorable vacation.
We alternated between seeing the sites and living a somewhat normal family routine. They were able to sleep in late, joined us at the Mercado for food shopping and we worked on a puzzle together on rainy days.
I think that when parents take off for parts unknown, even when they have grown children, there could be some feeling of abandonment. Part of the beauty of these visits is being able to strengthen our relationship and let them know that although many things have changed, there’s also a part of our life together that is immutable.
We were able to share memories and create new family stories to tell. I don’t think they will ever forget the fires, music, and fireworks of the New Year’s Eve celebration in Ecuador.
And we have the whole thing recorded–that, and much, much more thanks to the efforts of one of our daughters, who created a video montage of the trip.
Of course, it got posted on Facebook and now the entire world knows just how much fun we had.
Please share with us your memories of visits from family and friends during your expat adventure.
by: Mike & Eileen Brill Wagner