Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Transnational families

We are a transnational family. I left home at the age of 9 to go to boarding school. My parents were in Nigeria, I went to Belfast. It was at the beginning of the troubles. We heard bombs go off at night from our beds and were evacuated twice. But that is another story. Home for me has always been the place my parents live. They moved around in Nigeria and then went to Belfast, New Guinea, (just have to mention that at the hospital in SUSSEX, I work with the former Head Girl of Sogeri National High School - how small is the world really??), the Arnhem Land, Batchelor and finally Darwin in Australia. At the age of 12 I was in boarding school in Toowoomba. We flew home to PNG for the big holidays and spent the short ones with friends and their families. 
When I left 'home' (Australia) to go to Japan, where my parents were/are, remained home to me. I had a family of my own and we had our own house, but the definitions are different. In Japanese they have a word, furusato, the place where one originates from. It actually means a geographic location, but mine is where my parents are. 
Big J tells me I am at home now, he is right, this is my home, but in my heart there is also another one. 
They are not mutually exclusive.
Today Princess Hannah and I participated in a formal talk about transitional families and how they maintain contact with those left behind. With us was Imre, a lovely Hungarian. Hannah left her Dad and grandparents. It was not her choice. It was in parts a painful discussion for her. It distresses me to think MY decisions hurt my girls, but NOT deciding what we did would have also
hurt Adam and Big J. 
Transnational families are on the increase and we are lucky now that we have the web, Skype, Face time and Facebook. It means we can keep in closer, more frequent contact. It might also mean that we take for granted more our distant families if they are so easily contactable. 
It is not easy at times being transnational, but then it is not easy at times being any sort of family.....

No comments: