They say it takes a village to raise a child – but in today’s world the village is no longer just your immediate community and family.
It’s now a virtual village as people explore the globe and experience life in a different way from the last generation. My parents were born and bred in the same place and all of my Mum’s siblings still live in my childhood city – and thats how I always thought it would be for me.
In 1950 when my Dad was born, China invaded Tibet and the Korean War started. It had also only been 5 years earlier that the first nuclear bomb had been used in warfare. The world was a scary place for not only what was happening but also for what was unknown. Other countries and cultures were more mysterious, and that in itself provides an element of fear.
But it was also the decade that the first commercial planes flew allowing people to travel abroad – if they could afford it! Communication was handwritten, news only came over the radio, on the tv or in the daily newspaper so was often what we would now term ‘old news’.
Nowadays, the internet, email, Skype, FaceTime, Facebook & advancements in air travel means the world has the perception of being a bit smaller so when we travel away from home we don’t feel so far away from the people we love and the life we know. We are also awash with up to the minute news which means people have a wider understanding of global issues.
Is the world scarier now? Maybe, but in a different way. While each foreign country offers it’s own global perspective, this era of information & understanding that we are in adds a new, more in-depth angle to all forms of news from celebrity to current affairs to human rights to terror attacks. I feel like exposure to this kind of knowledge has brought either a closeness to terror or the feeling of safety from being tucked away from it.
But Johnny and I chose not to sit in the negativity of being scared, after all we have more chance of being hit by a bus in reality! Living in a world which has (almost) no borders anymore, for good or for bad, eventually became too strong of a pull for us and we felt we had to try living a different life for a while. So when we got an opportunity to move our whole family literally to the other side of the globe to give ourselves and our kids a new life experience- you bet we put all the pros at the top of our list and all the scary reasons at the bottom – and we went for it!
Many people over here ask us why we would leave NZ. But why wouldn’t we? The world is scary, but it always will be for some reason or another, like having kids it’s never the right time! After all, it is our children’s world which we believe they need to see.
We want them to experience history, not through books, but by living in the countries that created it.
By seeing it through a different lens, learning from the people whose ancestors made those decisions and fought those wars and committed those atrocities that we can only read about from NZ. From the ancestors that gave birth to the generation of adventurers and traders who settled in New Zealand and gave me my heritage. To be in the heart of such cultural wealth.
I love New Zealand and we will return one day. We do feel that our kids are missing out on a good old kiwi upbringing….rugby till dark, sports in all weathers, outdoor opportunities galore, family – a paradise for two boys and a girl growing up.
Toughest of all was that we left our village behind and chose to take on that whole responsibility ourselves, as parents. Which we are doing the best we can.
We rebuilt a small village in Dublin that supported us. But in Swansea I feel like I‘ve built a physical tribe so absolute and solid that the true friends I have made here are now part of my family, my inner circle, my tribe.
But when we move to France in 23 days, they will soon become a part of my virtual village that is Facebook. While living in Europe, of course we can still see them, but one day we will go back to NZ and that physical tie will be broken. I feel we have created a world map of our own and as we move across the globe we leave behind new settlements that we will forever be linked to!
So thankfully we have Facebook!
There is so much judgement and perception around Facebook being a time waster, a place where people post the best parts about themselves only.
Their own fake news.
But here’s what it is for me: Its my lifeline to my family in NZ, in Dublin and in Swansea.
If you are in my tribe then hopefully you will have a presence on the one platform that I can be guaranteed to access no matter what country we land in.
You will show up for me in my virtual village because it means a lot to me for you to be there.
When I first left NZ, I really only posted to FB so my Mum could follow my kids. I don’t have 500 friends, I carefully select my tribe so that people who don’t care about us aren’t getting bombarded with photos of my kids! So when Mum died last year I really questioned why I was still on there.
For me (most of the time) it is not about the instant gratification or the adrenalin rush of having people like my posts. Its my open channel to my village who I can’t be with anymore.
Yes, we chose to leave our family for a short time so we could live a life of different cultures, languages and perspectives. But just because people are not in your physical village anymore, doesn’t mean they don’t need your virtual support.
When we’re in a foreign land, virtual love is better than no love.
Love, Jaimee Sarah oxo