A month ago while I was in Florence, I received a phone call that you dread when you are an expat. My brother called me to tell me that his wife had passed away. I quickly made plans to return to California as soon as possible so I could arrive a couple of days before my sister-in-law’s service. After living so many years overseas, these calls are the ones that make being an expat difficult. No matter where your loved ones live, you can’t always be there so you do what you can. I wish I could spend more time with my loved ones in California, but it’s not easy when an ocean separates us (and they don’t all live in the same area either).