Living Abroad

c/o chuen seng teoh

As a kid, I’ve always dreamed of faraway places and the opportunity to travel to see the world. The wanderlust was real. Growing up in a small suburb outside of Kuala Lumpur surrounded by wet markets and wooden houses, it was difficult to imagine life outside of that bubble of mine.

Fast forward a couple decades later, I find myself living abroad. First for two years in Mo i Rana, Norway and for a year and a half now, Sassnitz, Germany. Both places are small towns by the coast. Living abroad away from family for the first time has thought me a lot about myself and allowed for growth which I don’t think would’ve been possible if I stayed put at home. For that I am grateful.

While it has been a great adventure and experience, I find myself yearning for home. I struggle with the feeling of being apart from family and friends whom I grew up with. It is an ambivalent feeling. Hence my delight when, over this past weekend, I read a blog post by Austin Kleon on writings by Oliver Sacks that helps me with this struggle of mine.

In Oliver Sacks’ memoir, On The Move, he quotes from a letter he sent his parents when he decided to stay overseas:

As for the other intangible and incalculable things you have given me, I can only repay these by leading a fairly happy and useful life, keeping in touch with you, and seeing you when I can.

Oliver Sacks makes peace with being away from his aging parents and pursuing his own life in such simplicity, I am encouraged to adopt the same mindset. Echoing Austin on this, to lead a fairly happy and useful life, I love it.


#the100dayproject 026/100

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