After super super busy weeks with looooots of stressful & exciting work in beautiful spring London followed by a super super chilled weekend on Aaroe (Årø) the tiny little island in Denmark which my grandmother lives on, I'm now back in Shanghai. And I'm super super happy.
Work was tough but successful and a weekend with my family in the spring sun just cures about everything. Especially when the spring sun is out all weekend and all I have to do is chill with my family and read the new Dalai Lama book my grandmother picked up for me in secondhand.
I've read several of his books and books on Buddhism in general as I have always been drawn to the peaceful wisdom from this religion. It has helped me train my mind, helped me find more peace within and many of my fundamental beliefs about life steams from the Buddhist religion. Just for the record, I'm not religious. I just agree with Dalai Lama that we humans can be many things but the most important thing you can be in this world is kind. Kind to yourself, kind to all.
According to Buddhist beliefs the true source to happiness lies in our mental attitude. For all human beings, good health, material possession and close relationships are all very important for our happiness but in the end of the day it is all depended on our mental attitude towards these factors. If we for example continuously compare what we have with what other (more rich) people have we'll hardly feel satisfied. If we continuously compare our health, shape & look with others its the same story. So Buddhist or not, it's just super super important to appreciate what we have. Appreciate our health, our body, our mind, our possessions, our friends and our family.
I was having a deeper conversation with my sister in Denmark about the fact that I live in China 10.000000000000 km away from her and her baby girl Sofia. It's a small conversation we almost surely are going to have every time I'm home (I'm home a lot lately) and about to leave for the airport. My sister hates that I have to go back to "stupid China" and would prefer that we could see each other every week. Have family dinner together every Sunday. And just chill together and have more everyday life with each other. I do to of course, but I don't have to go back to China. I want to go back to China.
I agree with her that no matter how hard we try with wechat, skype and facebook we will never have that everyday life feeling together.. So the question is if we will ever really be part of each others life? I believe so. In fact I truly believe that my relationship with my sister as well as my appreciation of my entire family, my childhood homes and "my country" Denmark, have improved magnificently since I started to live abroad several years ago.
And vice versa.
This weekend I told my family (it's indeed quite big) that all I wanted to do was chill on Årø. No time or energy to drive around Denmark's country side and visit everyone.. but everyone was very very welcome to join me for easter-weekend. My entire close family came by and we were blessed with good sun, good food & good vibes.
I feel so appreciated when I go back home with 1 weeks notice and the people I care most about have all the time in the world to see me and be with me.
Choosing to be an expat and living in another part of the world than your family doesn't have to mean choosing a life apart from your family. It can indeed strengthen relationships and the mutual appreciation of each others existence. It all depends on perspective and our mental attitude towards each other and this incredible life of ours <3