Tuesday, 7 January 2014

January 5 'Left for our Adventures'

It's a simple, repetitive entry in my diary.

2006. The year is branded on my mind.

MissM was 2 1/2.

MissM left Sydney when she was 2 1/2. Wish I had a dollar for every time we've said that these past 8 years. It's the marker that quickly tells people we're experienced at this moving around the world gig. That's MissM's Australian by passport and otherwise a kid who's had lots of amazing experiences.

We left as most expats do, with a signed contract for a set amount of time. Ours was a mere 2 years. We were so naive with our  'we'll see what happens after that' attitude.

As you know, 3 years in Yokohama followed, then 18 months in Winchester and we're back to Dublin for another 2 year gig with a 'we'll see what happens after that' attitude, tho with a lot more experience and wisdom under our belts.

We really don't think that - we know for sure where we'd like to go next, and where we wouldn't. We've learnt the advantages and disadvantages of being in an English speaking environment, as well as the pro's and con's of being in a non-English environment.

Hindsight is an incredible asset!

We know HOW to move, WHAT we need, the way in which we find a new home in relation to school first and work location second. We know what to take with us, besides clothes and shoes to last the few weeks or months until the rest of our stuff arrives.

We've made mistakes along the way and learnt from them. We've listened to friends and learnt from them. We've read books on TCK's (Third Culture Kids) and attended seminars at school; I read blogs from other expats, I write this one. We befriend other expats and share stories, and make long lasting friendships in a matter of months because no one knows how long they'll be around til the next move.

The first few months of any new country is stressful, as are the last few months. Now we know that, we don't stress as much as before. But the months in between can be awesome!

I think I'm the only one who consciously knew Jan 5 was the day we left Sydney. Maybe Mum has it in her diary.

It's a funny way to think, after all this time.

I don't think we started our adventure 8 years ago ..... it's when we left. Why do I think like that?

Why do I still feel like we've left when really we've gained so much these past 8 years.

The friendships, the things we've seen and experienced in countries we never thought we'd travel to, let alone live in. What we've learnt as individuals and as a couple and family; the intimate times shared with guests - all because we took a chance and 'left for overseas'

So much has happened to all of us (family and friends in Sydney, friends we made in Yokohama and UK) since 'then'.

As expats w re-establish our lives regularly.

How long are you here for?
What do you do?
What does your husband do?
Do you have kids? How old/ girl/boy/interests/school.
Do you know ..............

Who'd have thought 8 years would go so fast, or we'd still be happy to be 'away', looking forward to our next gig before this one's even 1/4 way thru.

I wonder if it's Happy Anniversary or if indeed it's even a date to be acknowledged any more - we no longer live in Sydney but we never left, not really.

We think about it daily! We chat with family and friends regularly. We keep up with news. We celebrate from afar. We read the  news. We download the TV shows. We listen to the radio online, and read newspapers. We may not be totally up to date with stuff, but we try. We wait with baited breath for confirmation of the next guests, and while we are long overdue a visit ourselves, we get back as often as possible.

So, if anything, it's a bittersweet anniversary.

I will always remember the date we left and the fun we've had ever since.

After all, home is where the heart is, and mine is definitely in two places.

With friendship

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