Wednesday, 1 January 2014


We met our landlords today.

A lovely young couple who have moved to Geneva for a 'couple of years' (famous last words) with MrsC as the expat, and MrC as the expat partner.

It's very rare, and terrific to see a young woman being given the opportunity to further her career, share her knowledge in an overseas posting. It's even rarer for a young husband to agree to give up his career and allow her to fly.

It wasn't surprising that we'd end up serving them afternoon tea in their home, at their dining table (they kindly left a few pieces of furniture with the house), and while it felt odd for a few minutes when they first arrived and we did our 'hello's lovely to meet you' that we sat and chatted like long lost friends.

They shared with us the history of the house - it belonged to MrsC grandparents! She's practically grown up in it. When her grandfather passed away, her dad and his brother decided, property prices being what they were, it would be best if one of hte grandchildren 'bought' the house for a 'start in life' 

MrsC's older brother was heading out to Australia (as the Irish do) and her younger brother wasn't interested, so she thought 'might as well'. This was a good few years ago now, and when she and MrC got married ...... they moved in .... eventually renovated .... had baby J and a few months after moving in and returning to work from maternity leave off to Geneva they went, and in we moved.

Listening to them talk about their first few weeks in Geneva made G and I smile as it brought back memories of our first time here, and reminded us how much we've learnt about being expats, and how each move gets better in terms of logistics.

Finding a new home.
Relocation help.
Creche (their little one is 18 months)
Social life.

Again, we smiled knowingly, not wanting to come off as show offs, or been-there-done-that folk, but as we approach the beginning of our 8th year away ..... 4th country .... we've seen a lot and experienced a bit.

I couldn't help myself. G smiled.

If I could just give you some friendly advice, get two babysitters, and never share them with anyone. 
Make sure the MasterJ is happy to eat dinner with them and not you, and be put to bed by them, and not you. Ask the sitter to pop over in the afternoon and play with him so that IF and, trust me you will, need to at some time want or NEED to leave him one weekend afternoon for some couple time and Master J will need to be able to be left behind.

With no grandparents close by .... your babysitter is your next best thing until you make good friends with people who have kids the same age and you can do sitting swapsies - tho if you all want to go out together, you ALL need babysitters which is why you don't share yours.

AHHHHHHH! Thank you says MrsC. I'd have never thought of that til we got stuck, I guess.

Where do I find a sitter tho? You don't want just anyone ....

AHHHHHHH! Ask at his creche, or the International School for a senior student who is knee deep in fundraising for the S E Asia trip to a school in need, or one who is dedicated to study and has no social life. You don't want final year as you'll only get a few months out of them. You want 'transition' (4th form) year to get 18-24 months out of them.

WOW! Thank you. Aything else?

(G smiles, cos he knows I'm on a roll)

MrC - how are you filling in your days? Expat husbands are rare, and while MrsC is working mad long hours, and travelling (OMG she does a LOT of travel) what are you doing ....... he says that MrsC employer has been great making sure he's ok cos they said if he's not, then she will stress out.

He's been busy with Immigration, banks, car, finding a home, sorting out furniture and other things that us wives usually cope with. There's no International Men's Clubs :(

He's learning French; playing golf; cooking; but he's worked all his adult life, so this is going to get boring to say the least.

I think women, generally speaking, are better at keeping busy, at finding things to while away the hours, they tend to volunteer more than men, or join art galleries, museums, book clubs, take up a course etc. 

I wasn't able to share any personal experiences with him, but did mention the success of a couple of husbands in Japan - both found work with their old companies, but worked remotely, online.

They LOVE that we love their house, and like what we've done with our furniture and theirs, took pleasure in seeing our artwork and 'stuff' from our adventures and were pleased to see the garden before the daylight went.

We LOVE that they are happy in Geneva, cos it means if it continues to work out we won't have to move til our next gig ........... and I'm happy that I was able to help a newbie expat find some answers to questions she never knew she had.

With friendship

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