The sad truth of living overseas



Hi friends,


This month I decided to not write about tips and hacks on how to navigate motherhood. I want to share honestly how I've been feeling and what goes on in my mind lately. Some days I'm good, and other days I have moments of guilt and helplessness about my family back home in Singapore. It's the painful truth of living overseas and being a migrant.


Of course, I'm grateful that I'm in a beautiful country, full of nature and a great place to raise kids. At the same time, I go through these waves of happiness and sadness moment by moment, day by day, week by week. I'm learning to embrace the changes and ride the waves. I'm so thankful that I found solace in writing, spending time in nature and meditation.


Anyway, here it goes.


My kids recently had a video call with my Dad, and they were telling him all about what they did for Easter and showed him their toys and new bedroom layout. Even if my Dad didn't say aloud, I could sense the sadness in my Dad's eyes. It's been over two years since he last saw his grandchildren. My Dad commented on how tall my son is and what a big boy he is. They chatted with him for 30 mins, and they said their goodbyes.


It's hard to have a conversation over video call with my Dad, the awkwardness of Asian parents (they don't communicate much with their children nor grandchildren) compounded by the fact that he can't hear them so well. My Dad asked if my kids had lunch and all my son did was show him his painted Easter eggs.


As the video call ended, the sad truth dawned on me. When will my kids see their grandparents again? Our yearly trip to Singapore has been on hold because of Covid-19. As much I want to see my parents and be in Singapore to see, hear and taste home, I cannot bear the three-week quarantine in Singapore at a government-appointed hotel with my family all in one room.


My greatest worry is not to see my parents before they pass on, an imminent low-stress thought at the back of my head as my time in Switzerland goes on, coming up to 10 years next year. Is it time to move home before it's too late, or do I have to accept that my life is permanently here forever?


I feel guilty sometimes that I left my parents in Singapore, that I'm not fulfilling my filial piety duties- a term drilled down to us ever since we were young to respect and look after our parents. At the same time, I have to focus on my family and what is best for us. I can't imagine living in a stressful city with limited nature. I can't imagine living without the seasons, which I now look forward to after being here for so long.


So for now, I pray that my Dad will look after himself, stay healthy and fit (He walks 10,000 steps a day, something that he is very proud of!). I hope that my Mom is still alive when I see her. She recently had her second hip surgery after a fall and is recovering in hospice. She's not picking up her mobile phone, and no one has gone to see her recently because of Covid-19 restrictions. I feel helpless that I can't do anything from here.


Living overseas is not always as rosy as it seems. People have many misconceptions that the grass is greener on the other side, but it comes with sacrifices and heartaches. It's not all rainbows and unicorns. I don't know when I will be home again. I hope we can visit Singapore after we all get vaccinated and when government shortens the quarantine period.

For now, all we can do is wait and enjoy our time in Switzerland with our family.


Thank you for reading and being here with me.


Much love,

Marisa



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