Expat Life

On Family and Stories

Coffee for Two

Have you ever had a chance to spend a whole week with your dad? Like, a week when he tagged along as you lived your ordinary life, keeping you company over the coffees and waiting at the bus stop while the kids are at school? Walking by your side through the woods and the town? Chatting as you cooked dinner or relaxed after it?

I just had the chance.

He visited us in England years ago when the Walden was tiny. There was no time for any of that. This time, though… it was like our morning chat over coffee at his house, the ones we’ve had since I became a grown-up, just went on for 10 days. It was the best.

I learned so much. About him, about my family, about the things he knows about (which are not the things I know about). About myself.  He told me stories about my great-grandfather and people in my hometown. He revealed that real life really is made up of a cast of characters. That life is actually quite interesting when people live their authentic lives, anywhere in the world.

That life isn’t best lived in a posed shot on Instagram.

We hadn’t seen each other in nearly two years. Do you know how much can happen in two years? How much can change? How each and every day is full of little stories that never get shared? Our conversations dove deep because they could. There was a big gap to fill in since the last time we had a proper talk.

I’m so grateful he came so I could show him the things that simply can’t be understood without living them. The things that you eventually forget are unusual or interesting when you live in a foreign place. What it’s like to be surrounded by conversation you can’t understand. Trying to communicate with the vocabulary of a 5 year old. Grocery shopping. Waiting for the school bus. Driving down a walled street. Living behind a gate. He even took a photo of our electrical panel to show his electrician buddies. Who knew it was interesting?

From the beginning I’ve said that we’ve been given the opportunity to live where we do so we can share it with our family and friends. It makes me so happy when we get to, and when they share with us what they’ve been up to all this time we’ve been apart.

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