But the missing after the visits. It hurts.
After the intensity of sharing every waking moment of every day, of needing to confer with five, ten or even twenty other people before lunch can be had, of grumbling together over coffee at breakfast and watching B-movies while putting up a united front against the mosquitoes at night. After 5 weeks of always-accompanied, the suddenly-alone again is novel for about a day. Then the missing hits, becomes all-consuming.
It tries to deflect the missing onto the small things, the things that serve as reminders of what’s gone. The Brazilian flip-flop mug, the English tea and biscuits. Make yet more rice and beans, as though we haven’t just spent two weeks eating… rice and beans.
But get on with it we must, we will. Our lives here are shouting louder for attention than even the toddler can, and anyway, more visits are already in the pipeline. We learn to live with the missing, we accept it as an ordinary part of a life lived abroad. It’s the price we pay.