Do you see this beautiful girl? I left home when she was only 12 weeks old. Now she’s just turned 12. Twelve years of missed milestones and birthdays. School plays that I couldn’t attend. And the thousands of hugs I couldn’t give or receive. My lovely niece is just one of the precious members of my far away family.
When I chose to follow my heart and immigrate to the Netherlands, I was focused on all that I would gain. A wonderful boyfriend who would later become my husband. A new home. A new language. New friends. Trips to Paris, London, Rome. And eventually two beautiful children I couldn’t even imagine back then when I was only 21 years old.
But there were people I would leave behind. Nieces and nephews who hadn’t even been born yet. A sweet Grandma and Grandpa whom I used to see every Sunday for lunch. My parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins and a few dear friends who might as well have been family.
They say that having a child is like having a piece of your heart walking around outside of your body. But even before I had children, there were already so many pieces of my heart more than 6000 kilometers away, living their lives while I live mine here so very far from home.
So I do the only thing I can, I call them and I visit them as often as possible. And when I am there, I photograph them. And in my own way, I keep my far away family as close by as I possibly can.
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