Sometimes living an ocean away can be an advantage. I don't have to hear minute by minute insults tossed back and forth between political parties during the presidential election, for example. I don't have to wonder how my loved ones can stand that guy, or even worse, promote him.
Culinarily speaking, there are hardly any Reese's Peanut Butter Cups in Germany, which is good for my waistline, especially at Halloween. I haven't felt the need to sneak anything from my son's plastic pumpkin goodie basket.
Usually, living on a different continent is a mixed blessing.
When my parents divorced years ago, I felt bad for not being there, for not providing a shoulder to cry on. Selfishly, I knew I was also missing the tension. Despite the guilt, I knew that was easier for me. I didn't have to hear whose fault everything was. I didn't have to take a side. I didn't have to deal with the tears.
Unlike my friends and family back home, Sandy didn't affect us here in Germany. Thankfully, we have a house and jobs and power. So here I sit with boxes of clothes the kids have grown out of, a set of dishes I no longer need, some extra pots and glasses.... I'd love to be able to help, but sending them to the States by mail would be astronomical. It would make more sense to write a check.
I'll have to look into that....
Sometimes being far away has no silver lining whatsoever.
My sister is due to have her first baby in about a month. She's a twelve hour flight from here. I'd love to go stay with her for a week or so to help out. But it's looking like 100 EUR per hour on that flight...at a time when our car has been in the shop twice, and my husband has already taken a ton of vacation to make up for my unexpected, unpaid overtime. Gotta love being salaried.
So it's a choice between abandoning my husband and kids at Christmas or not being there for my sister.
I don't know what I'll do yet. Besides being so far from family, the worst part about distance is how the consequences seem to be that much higher, decision-making that much more difficult....