See you later, er, caiman…

We’re finding it hard telling people we care about that we’re emigrating. Even though we’ve spent months deliberating and agonising over the decision, and even though many people knew we were thinking about it, it still comes as something of a shock – to both them and us. I even had to tell someone twice over a period of a couple of weeks, since obviously they didn’t believe me the first time.

And now that we’re telling people, we’re lying awake feeling guilty about it! I think these feelings are influenced heavily by age on departure, potential accessibility in country of choice, and likelihood of return therefrom. I say this because when I disappeared off thirteen or fourteen years ago, I recall it was with a sparklingly clear conscience: after all, I was simply going away to make my fortune, in the certain knowledge that I would re-emerge unscathed from the rainforest in due course, carrying sacks of gold and outrageous stories back to my friends and family (who would be waiting, hale and hearty, with open arms and bar tab). But it’s not like that anymore: the fact is we probably won’t be coming back this time. And even if we do, any friends and relatives who haven’t actually died on us will be – like us – in their dotage and quite possibly unable to drink for medical reasons (or simply because their hands are too shaky). And as for visiting us, well, yes – provided they have the stomach – and wallet – for 20 hours of flying and don’t mind the heat, humidity, mosquitoes and alligators (well, caiman, actually. Or maybe we could get back here occasionally? Hmm – maybe, but don’t bank on it – we’re going to need every penny just to get by (at least until I find those sacks of gold).

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