Sometimes other people can say or write something that resonates with you immediately
A posting on Facebook by Mamamia (aka Mia Freeman (ex- magazine editor in Australia, now blogger) caught the attention of MsIndia who posted it with the comments ‘nice to see someone else walks in my shoes’ which enticed me to open it and well, here I am blogging about a blog.
The Life of An Expat Wife is interesting in as much as it dispels the myths surrounding the life I now lead. The author Kirsty Rice is Australian (like me), left ‘home’ for one gig (like me) and has been away for 11 years (she’s a few on us tho we’re sure to catch up) and 4 kids (definitely where we loose similarities), oh! And a beagle (yep, that’s it).
She talks of the loneliness while husband is at work, the isolation until friendships are made, and the incredibly supportive network that living in an expat community offers.
My SIL commented to me a while ago ‘it takes ages to make friends. Took me nearly 4 years when I moved to Sydney’ and I agree. Friendships do take a long time to form, to take on an air of comfort and safety but as an expat we may not have 4 years to cement a friendship. Up until now, we’ve done 2 years in one place and 3 in another … you’re gone before you realize.
Yet, in less than 6 months you do forge friendships. You support one another in a way that strangers don’t usually feel comfortable doing. You have to reach out or you'll implode with your thoughts. You need information on how to navigate and survive your new home for however long you're there for. You crave companionship when husbands are at work, and kids are at school. You'll be enthusiastic to take on board every cultural experience you new home offers as you know there is a use-by date on everything.
Today, however, I can be as expat as I like, as I'm going on a first-date with a potential new friend who's British but lived in Australia for many years and then Qatar before repatriating. We picked each other up at a cooking class a few months ago.
While reading The Life of An Expat Wife, which is short and sweet, I realized that being an Expat in a non-expat society is the core of my issues. Nothing more. Nothing less.
So, from today I promise to be more optimistic and less expat-ish in my attitudes (which i have to admit aren't as expat-ish as some LOL) and expectations (unless with other expats) until the next gig, which should be somewhere between 2 and 4 years (OK, promise is a very strong word, let’s change that to I’ll try really really hard)