The Downside of Being an Expat is When All Your Friends Go Home

Photo courtesy of Adrian and

Photo courtesy of Adrian and 2Famous.TV

[Editor’s note: This article was previously published at 2Famous.TV, a hip blog featuring the kinds of videos and stories about life in the Middle East that you don’t see in mainstream media. We’d like to thank Adrian and the rest of the 2Famous.TV team for allowing us to republish this article and would encourage you to check out their site and follow them on Twitter @2famousTV.]

In the past three months I’ve deleted three of the four top contacts in my “Recent Calls” list. I’ve either cooked the “last meal” or walked somewhere to partake in a final drink or bite to eat for someone else. I’ve even added a bunch of new cool stuff to my house, becoming a scavenger of sorts, by accumulating the possessions of those who will no longer be here to use them. We are now equipped with an oven again! And a washing machine for the first time ever! And even a ping pong table!¹

I’m an expat, and so many of my friends in Lebanon are expats too. Despite all the adventure, glory, excitement, and novelty that comes with being an expat, sad things come of it as well. Namely, the longer you stay the more you have to say goodbye to really good friends.

You can hear it in the whisperings of local Lebanese people who have stopped becoming close to friendly, wide-eyed foreigners because they are so emotionally exhausted from having yet another friend say goodbye for good. I’m not that cynical yet. And I hope to never be. But it is true, not many people stay for very long. Lebanon is also a place of transient locals. Even many of our Lebanese friends are searching for ways to move abroad. And have.

Things have changed for me and it pulls on my heartstrings. Layal left today. My confidante, my cohost, the friend I would waste units on just to text, “Hey, what’s up?” The girl I’d go to when I found out ridiculous tidbits of gossip that my boyfriend would deem stupid. Jorgo left over a month ago. You know Jorgo. It’s not a full 2Famous life without him. And my best yoga buddy and friend, whom I’d pour my heart out to, Rebecca, left a few weeks ago. She even hosted my birthday party last year.

I’m learning there comes a time in every expat’s life where you either move on to greener pastures or just go back home. None of us are set in our lifestyles — that’s an obvious statement — and it means it is only a matter of time till we move on. (And it’s not because we’re in Lebanon and the U.S. is about to attack Syria, which might lead to chaos and further instability here. I swear!)

But the feeling here now is comparable to what it feels as a cool sophomore in high school whose senior friends graduated last year. I’m finding it hard and a bummer. And my lack of internet only compounds the difficulty of keeping up with far away friends. Update: already called to install internet in the house, can hear my sisters’ screams of delight.

But I don’t want to end this on a sad and dramatic note. So I also want to point out those moments of experiencing eureka when you find a new friend. A real friend whom you can see a future of sharing secrets and weird life crises with. A person whom you meet and leave thinking, “Wow, this girl’s really cool and I think we get each other!” I’ve got a lot of those scattered around the world these days. Now it’s time to dust off my shoulders and scout for some right here, right now. In fact, my crazy neighbor who roams the street all day muttering things to herself just invited us for coffee and you know what? I’m going!


¹ Great selling point to potential new friends.


Adrian Avedisian (@avedistraction) is from South Florida and living in Beirut, Lebanon. She currently writes and edits for 2Famous.TV. Check out more of her writing and better yet, propel her to stardom by watching her cooking show, Something’s Cooking in Beirut, or listen to her live radio show streaming from inside a bar every Friday.

One response to “The Downside of Being an Expat is When All Your Friends Go Home

  1. I wish it didn’t have to be all bad. Losing a true friend is tough and limited technology unfortunately makes things worse because we know it should be that easy to stay in touch. An expat seems like a there’s a lot of give and take…literally. I feel for your situation. Things in America suck right now in many ways, be happy just to in a place where you can get in a conversation with a stranger who doesn’t care about what’s going on in Washington D.C. I hope your friends don’t forget the things that you all enjoyed cause it’s easy to get caught up in the region you live in no matter how big or how small

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