The 4th of July celebrations, American Independence Day, embodies the spirit of friendship, family and home. Good food, friends and fireworks during a late night outdoors, definitely spell love.  But at this time of year in Libya, everyone seems to be flying away rather than flocking together. As schools end and expats head home for the summer, I stay behind waiting for their return. 

Once part of an expat family in the USA, my current role as a Libyan host means that I have seen many friends come and go.  It’s hard being the tree deeply rooted in the ground that watches the birds fly back to their exotic summer homes. It’s lonely being left behind.

One would assume that being a Libyan in Libya, I would have loads of local friends.  At some point that was true, but I sort of lost a lot of them as I moved to England with my new family, a few years back, and our separate lives went on. You must also realize that to a certain extent I have lived an expat's life here.  Going to an international school meant that all my friends came from different countries, and they are the friends that do not live here anymore.

What's holding me back from making new friends you ask? Not sure really, perhaps it's because birds of feather flock together.  I just haven't found the "right" people yet, the ones with similar interests and backgrounds. Maybe if I looked past my prejudices, I may just find a good friend hiding among the day-to-day people in my life.

Not all is bad. I do have the blessing of being surrounded by my large extended family – blood is thicker than water after all.  And when the summer is over, expats will come flocking in again to nest for the new school year, bringing with them many opportunities for new friendships.  For those who have lost their best friends as their posts in Libya have ended, or for those who are coming here for the first time to set up temporary homes here, you are not alone.  There is friendship to be found – if only we could fly!

Happy 4th of July!


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By Sarah Elmusrati

Sunday 4th July 2010

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