I met Eric in a Middle Eastern country teaching English. We worked at the same school. Between teaching we had a bit of free time and we would talk. Eric was in his early 60s and from England. He wore glasses, was a little overweight and bald. He had great energy and everyone liked him.
We usually talked music. Unlike most people he knew a lot about music and enjoyed many flavours and genres. We would ponder the differences between Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett, argue the origins of House music, and rate the best Rolling Stones songs.
Eric was a huge fan of Drum n’ Bass music. He had Drum n’ Bass record collection back home at his home in England.
He told me stories of his younger days and traveling to Amsterdam and playing guitar in the streets for pocket money, working on the rail road and going back to university to study. He told me about being on the dole and homeless in Wales. Showed me photos of his small house set in a village in England, surrounded by quant shops and lush green forest.
I’ve met a lot of people over my years of living abroad in Asia but few that I miss talking to as much as Eric.
One day, he was upset about his living conditions and he was going on and on about it. Finally, I just asked him why he doesn’t just go back to England and live there. He said, he would never be able to find a job as good as the one he had abroad.
Later, I found out, months earlier, he had had a heart attack and had to be taken to the hospital.
I thought about where I would like to be when I’m 60.
“Is retirement even possible for me?”, “Will I be 60 and still at some dead end job?”. I’ve been lucky, I’ve always been able to find work, but back home is another story. It can be tough to find work back home because my lack of contacts mostly. Sometimes when I think about retirement, I feel despair, because of my financial situation. I have friends back home that own homes and have a decent savings. I try not to get depressed about it, but it does get me down sometimes.