the experience

Christmas is a-coming, and the baubles are on the tree. The mercury is also rising, which means we’re in for another southern hemisphere Christmas in the sun. What’s unusual about this year though, is that this is the year I send my little sister off into the big, wide world to live and work on another continent far, far away.

This will be the first time ever that we are in separate countries for more than 3-4 weeks. The first time we haven’t been just a quick phone call away. If I thought moving in with my husband was hard (and it was), this is going to be even harder.

Siblings are a strange thing. They drive you mad almost every day, but no-one else, not even the love of your life, gets you like they do. The shared history, the shared jokes. Particularly for two sisters, it’s also the nights spent talking, the “us against the world” attitude in high school, which morphed into the the “we’ve got each others back” attitude in life after school. Sisters are important, and it’s going to be very hard to see her go.

Experience, though. That’s why she has to do this. Up to now, we’ve both emigrated twice. Lived on two three different continents. Been to several different schools, together and apart, and been to boarding school. We studied for and got our degrees, and then our postgrads. We’ve both worked in bars and restaurants, had loves (and lovers), fights, nights on the town (and days hungover), times when we talked all day and all night, and times when we weren’t talking to each other at all.

But now, now our ways have parted to some extent. I am married, and I have a small (hairy and slightly evil) dog. I have a job that I enjoy (though, it could pay more), and I go on the occasional but amazing holiday with the hubs. She has been studying, getting her heart broken, finishing her articles, and staying in one flat since high school. And now is the time for her to work abroad, travel, make new friends and have amazing adventures.

I suppose that part of this is fear. Fear that she’ll forget about me. Forget about coming home. Our experiences will no longer be shared, and our lives will cease to be intertwined. And the lump in my throat comes from a fear that the world is bigger than our relationship can manage. And the time might come when we’ll only see one another once a year. And that makes me sad. The bigger part, the one that is motivating her and helping her set on her way wants to see her happy. I want to see her have adventures, and meet new and interesting people, and see the world. I want her to experience the wonder that is a new city, a new country, and new people. I want her to go skiing, have hot chocolate in the snow covered mountains. I want her to meet people, maybe fall in love. Experience this amazing world, and everything it has to offer, and (hopefully) come home a fuller, happier, more fulfilled person.

That’s my hope for my sister. In the meantime, I’ll hold down the fort here. I’ll be here when she calls, and welcome her home when she’s done seeing the world. And when she gets home, we’ll have the long conversations which will bring our lives back together again. I’m going to miss my sister. But I hope she has a wonderful time.

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