When we first arrived in Canada, calling my family in Burma used to be a huge production. The long distance charges were expensive, the wires in Yangon were often frayed or broken and we phoned early in the mornings because of the time difference. This resulted in short conversations where much of it consisted of inquiring about their meals and asking if they could hear us. I was also often half-asleep. This was unfortunate because I missed my family terribly and wanted to connect with them. However, this situation helped to shape my philosophy on relationships.
There are few individuals I love more than my extended family in Burma. Their love is vast and they love affectionately, openly and well. It’s very easy to care for them because we are there for each other unconditionally and without judgement. That’s what being a close-knit family means, not the minutes you clock in each other’s company. It’s also because the connections are honest and we’re not desperately trying to avoid conflict. People fight, people forgive, people share a meal. Leaving them was very difficult and I always feel that it’s better when we’re together. But we’re not together and that’s the point.
It’s almost comical to expect relationships to remain just as they are when there is an ocean between you. You don’t even need physical space for partnerships to shift. The saving grace is that after the initial shock of missing loved ones the flow of life starts to mold your days once more. With that rhythm, landmarks and people become familiar and gradually you move on. It’s alright you know. You just start to have these pockets of networks in different locations. They are all beautiful even if they’ll never overlap. Because strangely enough you learn very quickly as a seven year old that pining for a former life doesn’t bring it back. It’s painful but you just have to let go and fully embrace those times when you are lucky enough to meet each other again. Be here now.