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Nurturing the spirit of the season

Photograph: Pexels

Text: Lyndsay Jensen

Dear internationals

I trust you are in the midst of your final week of preparations for Christmas, with travels, dinners, and presents neatly arranged beneath the tree. I want to extend my sincere apologies for the absence of a November issue. Unfortunately, life sometimes takes unexpected turns, and I had to take a step back to navigate the challenging waters of grief. The death of my beloved mother cast a shadow over that month, making it difficult to focus on the usual tasks that bring The International to life.

Grief is a universal experience, yet its nuances can vary greatly depending on one's circumstances. For those of us living abroad, dealing with loss takes on an added layer of complexity. The physical distance from loved ones and the cultural differences can intensify the emotions accompanying mourning. Returning to my home country during this period was filled with heartache and solace.

Navigating the familiar and being with my family brought a bittersweet comfort. Memories flooded back, sights and sounds echoing the footsteps of times past. However, being away for an extended period inevitably leads to a certain estrangement. The once-familiar places seemed altered, and relationships had evolved in my absence. Dealing with these differences became part and parcel of the healing process.

Yet, amidst this, there was a sense of rediscovery. I found solace in the commonalities that transcended time and distance. Shared traditions, familiar faces, and the warmth of my roots provided a sanctuary to heal. It reminded me that no matter how far we roam, our origin remains an intrinsic part of who we are.

As the holiday season approached, I returned to my adopted country with a renewed perspective. The contrasts between the two worlds I inhabit became more apparent, highlighting the diversity that shapes our experiences. Embracing these differences, whether in customs, climates, or daily routines, can become a celebration of the rich tapestry of life.

In this December bumper issue, we aim to accompany you through the festive season and usher in the new year with a sense of community and understanding. Our diverse collection of articles, stories, and feature story are curated to resonate with the complexities of the human experience, acknowledging that joy and sorrow often coexist.

The International has always strived to be a source of connection, bridging the gaps between cultures and individuals. I am immensely grateful for the unwavering support we've received from our readers over the past five years. As we close this year, my team and I want to express our deepest gratitude for being part of this global community.

Looking ahead, we are excited about the possibilities that 2024 holds. The International will continue to evolve, striving to bring you insightful content that reflects the diverse perspectives of our readership. We hope you'll continue this journey with us, contributing your stories, insights, and experiences that enrich our publication.

In the season's spirit, I extend heartfelt wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our readers. May this time be filled with joy, reflection, and connection. Thank you for being an integral part of The International's journey, and here's to a new year filled with hope, peace, growth, and shared stories.

RIP Mom. xx

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