Making Sense of Migration

One of my co-workers from Korea told us today that she’s leaving Nepal in mid-November  because her visa is going to expire. Her fiance, who will be leaving with her, is also an immigrant (from Europe), but neither of them want to return to their home countries. They’re not sure where they’ll be headed next. I felt so sad. Although I’ve only known her for a short amount of time, we connected over travel, life in Nepal, and being in international relationships. Hearing of her departure got me thinking about movement and migration.

In the US, I’ve met people from all over the world. What seems to be particular about immigrants to the US is that they often move there and stay, or at least the ones I’ve met have. So once I get to know someone from another country, it’s easy to meet up and stay in touch.

In Nepal, I’ve also met people from all over the world or who have lived in or traveled to other countries. Many of them are Nepali who have lived in the US, Australia, Europe, or other places and are back to visit. Some have lived abroad for years (like Tri) and are back in Nepal for a while. Others are temporary or permanent immigrants from the US, Korea, China, and other places.

What’s different about the people I meet here is the brevity of their time in Nepal. Even though some of the immigrants I meet or the Nepalis returned from abroad are planning to settle here for good, the majority of them will move away again. It makes for a lot of mixed emotions. I love meeting these people who have great stories to tell and different perspectives, but it’s also incredibly sad getting to know them and then coming to terms with the idea that I may never see them again.

The amazing thing about it is it makes me live in the moment, enjoy the likely limited time I have with new friends, but it’s never easy. Those in international relationships have to consider these realities of movement and migration all the time. For me and Tri, at least one of us will always be an immigrant, no matter where we live.

I’m still trying to understand migration and the mixed feelings I have about it. For those of you who have lived abroad, traveled, immigrated, how do you make sense of the realities of migration?


5 thoughts on “Making Sense of Migration

  1. London is often described as a very transient city and most people you meet are from another country, so I know what you mean about so many people coming and going. Some of my non-British friends feel that British people keep their distance because of this. Me and my guy are US/UK and like you one of us will always be an immigrant. Immigration is a very hot topic here, usually negative comments, though when I remind people that I’m an immigrant I’m usually told “Yeah, but you don’t count you’re American”. I know that my nationality brings certain benefits and it’s not fair, but I don’t think immigration is easy for anyone.

    • Although it can be painful to think that one of us will always be an immigrant, the upside is that we always have a second country to call home. 🙂

      That attitude that Americans somehow “don’t count” is crazy. Immigration is a hot topic in the US right now too, as I’m sure you know. Do you think you’ll stay in the UK for the long term or move back the US at some point?

      • Very true, we always say with family in three countries we will get to take lots of holidays and always have a free place to stay! 🙂

        I’ve been in the UK four years now and will stay at least another two for permanent residency/dual citizenship. After that I’m not sure. P would love to live in the US, but for now we are tied to the UK as his parents are here and his dad is not in good health.

  2. I find this 5 month limitation put on foreigners particularly hard. It saw many of my friends forced to leave Nepal because they couldn’t get extensions. But i guess on the upside it lead to my husband proposing so he could keep me around more permanently.

    Migration has been the biggest impacting factor on my life and relationships over the last 2 years. I am always leaving someone and missing someone. I can never be with both of my families or with my friends at the same time. It is hard.

    Great post.

    • I don’t like that 5 month limitation either. They also make it so inconvenient for foreign spouses to get visas (as I’m sure you know)…so much running around to different offices, getting signatures, etc.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s