The latter hop back to see their family for long weekends. They take low-cost flights, sometimes only paying less than 75 euros round trip -- taxes included. They don't deal with a significant time difference. They are really no further from home than a Parisian living in the South of France.
Ocean-separated expats live a different experience. We never go home for a long weekend. We save money for a very expensive trip every year, or even every few years. We try to extend our stays as long as possible, which may pose career or family problems. The time zone difference and ensuing jet lag make the trip a major undertaking.
An ocean, for all its wide open space, remains a formidable barrier.
Tu es à huit heures de moi
Je suis à des années de toi
C'est ça être là-bas...
(Extract from the song "Lettre à France" by Michel Polnareff . He wrote the song about his exile in the USA, but it can work both ways...)
This post was inspired by this week's Sunday Scribblings prompt: "ocean."
For more "ocean" posts, click here.