There's a moment in every expat's life, when the employed expat comes home or texts 'would you live THERE?' or 'I've had an offer'
With those short sentences, for a day, a week or longer your life can be turned upside down and inside out. More often than not it amounts to nothing, but every so often it amounts to the next adventure.
G came home last night and asked me if I'd consider moving to, let's call it, THERE as he'd been called by 'him' and told to 'pack' cos there's a desperate need for G's expertise.
My instant reaction was really? After a few minutes, I said, THERE sounds interesting. Really!? THERE?
Guess most expats have a list of criteria they use to consider each move. It might involve formal discussion within the family unit, or it might be subconscious, but trust me, when a move is imminent, this is what's discussed to varying degrees.
- Be a promotion
- Quality of Life style.
- Safety (tho there are some families who live apart as the work is done in dangerous places)
- Health (as in medical care)
- Quality of education - this can also read consistency of curriuclum depending on the age of the kids.
- Perks - some industries do still offer perks as part of expat packages.
- Gets you out of an unhappy current situation
- Some are as simple as 'always wanted to live there'
- Others are a chance to work in Head Office
- Are we ready to leave where we are?
- How longs the contract?
- What'll I (as in the unemployed partner) do to fill in time?
There's also a group of expats who don't have a choice. The company simply says - at the end of this contract we'd like you to go here and you do. These days that's still mainly the realm of diplomats and military personnel and the top echelons of business (CEO's, CTO's etc)
Fortunately we still have a choice.
While cooking dinner I couldn't help but text 'his' wife and teased her with 'your husband wants mine to pack his bags and for us to go THERE' and she said 'really, sounds great.' Then a few seconds later she texted 'you for real?' As an expat in the same company she knows the drill.
Our next response is similar to a surprise visitor ringing and saying 'in the neighbourhood, thought I'd pop over for a cuppa' and you all run around like headless chickens tidying up the place. You all know what needs to be done and just do it.
G and I sat on the couch after a quick dinner googling things that are of priority in terms of 'shall we move to THERE?' As this is potentially our 4th move, we're feeling pretty confident about what decisions need to be made in order to make a final one of to move or not to move THERE.
I googled International Schools to discover there's a few to choose from, depending on where G's office is located (we always base the house/school on the location of the office as best we can) and two are very attractive propositions. But there's no point contacting them as we have no idea where this opportunity will go.
Next on my list was rental properties (G had already done his quick google search) and fortunately we were looking in similar areas, remembering we know where the office is.
International Women's Clubs or similar was my next entry into Google Search. YES, there is an an IWC and an American Women's Club and a Welcome Newcomers group.
Next, checked out a few expat blog sites and looked up a few bloggers living THERE to see what they are chatting about ...... curious comments, very interesting city, broad range of activities for the weekend and lots of sight seeing opportunities. Sounds promising.
Then of course Googled THERE itself to see what their tourist commission says, read about it's history, climate, economy and more.
G was looking at the intranet for work to see if the role was being advertised. No, so it's another one of those 'you were recommended' opportunities which are always such a pleasure to receive. Seems the hard work, long hours etc are worth it all within context of course.
He also looked on the Australian Governments DFAT (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) to see what they are advising about THERE.
While we were ensconced in the what if's of moving THERE G's email made it's little noise of recognition that something new had been received. He shook his head and laughed ........ what? An request gauging his interest to move YONDER as he'd been 'highly recommended by several colleagues'
We laughed so loud and long ... really!? Two opportunities in one day .... is the universe telling us something.
So we googled YONDER.
I texted a friend who's from YONDER and explained this might very well result in nothing, but G has had an email asking him would he consider a move to YONDER and I was wondering what she could tell me about it'
As MsB is also an expat she fully understands this could be a flash-in-the-pan, or not, and was very gracious with her response.
So, I googled International Schools in YONDER, in addition to International Women's Clubs and checked out a few expat blog sites while G looked at the intranet for the role and again, not advertisement just an email based on recommendations.
We went to be around 1.30am feeling rather pleased with ourselves. We know a lot more about THERE and YONDER and for now, both are appealing, tho THERE is slightly ahead than YONDER.
Will we move over summer? WHO KNOWS?
Will it be THERE or YONDER? WHO KNOWS?
All I know for sure, as an expat family this is how our life rolls every 2-4 years.
We always wait til contracts are signed before sharing the news with MissM, and parents and friends. There's not that much room on this roller coaster.
It's exciting, scary, time consuming, frustrating, emotional and can amount to nothing, or it's all those things plus bittersweet when you make the decision to go cos you're sad to leave where you are but excited about where you're going.
Either way, we are so thankful for the incredible opportunities we are offered, and the experiences we have and people we met along the way, so yes, it's worth it.
HUGE request - to those of you who live near us, or at school with us, this is a HUGE leap of faith in terms of trust. We've not said anything to anyone outside ms-havacht and would really appreciate you keeping what you've read between us as MissM has no idea, and well, really there's nothing much to say, despite me filling a page!