Transitioning Expats by Queen Gitchee
I suspect every expat family goes through a rocky patch whether leaving their home country bound for their first posting or if it’s the 10th move under their belt. If you don’t then Hats off to you.. (liars). It is exciting and then challenging and forces you to dig a bit deeper. There are stages in the whole process, so let me enlighten you.
- First comes the concern about “being left behind” or not offered another expat role
- Second comes the excitement of the “hey are you interested in a gig we have in Butt Fuck Nowhere?”
- Third the “look see” whirlwind visit to check out houses, schools, supermarkets and malls or lack of. Then meet the staff who wine and dine you like royalty. (I have no idea what those of you who move without getting to visit first go through. please enlighten me!)
- Fourth is the nod and the wink ( “we can do this” )
- Fifth is the negotiation (we can’t possibly go down in house size, car brand, driver/school Blah blah)
- Then there is no turning back point.
At this point you are officially in Transition
The ink is dry on the contract , the house has been packed and now you are limbo.
Maybe your partner has left, maybe you have to complete the school year, sometimes visa’s take months ( eye roll for those who have lived in Saudi) whatever the reason there is probably a time of familial separation and/or living in temporary furnished accommodation.
At this point if you are not in a posh hotel you are in a reasonable apartment that has mismatching sheets, a single sheet for a kind size bed and really cheap high pillows that make your neck ache! Or is that just me…..
Ah but I digress ……..
Transition. It is a place where once you have started you cannot stop what has been put in to motion. There are moments where you feel free,liberated from the weight of material possessions but somehow there is excess baggage. “I might need this when we get there” kind of baggage and the bulge of the souvenirs purchased as you frantically tick of the places you wanted to see before you left and buy the things you just had to have. Those Mongolian fucking wooden heads I had to have I shoved them in a bag and hey presto i snapped all the decorations off! Bloody marvellous. The kids had to bring home all their artwork from school the day the house was packed up, the entire years worth of sh**. I digress again..
You move and you arrive. Your new country! Ah. The excitement of seeing things with “Fresh eyes”. It is wonderful . Oh the food is better, the air is cleaner, the sun is brighter and the people more friendly. Then the kids go to school , your partner is flat stick at work, no time to talk and you are home alone. Not your real home another temporary home (until your stuff arrives). You don’t know anyone and the phone doesn’t ring because you don’t actually have a sim card because you can’t get one without a residency visa. You try putting yourself out there and get a few nibbles on a mums group. Surely they all want to know you. The new blood in town. Haven’t they looked at all the party shots on your profile? Can’t they see how cool you used to be? A brief coffee is arranged, “good on you” they say when you tell them your wishlist of things to achieve and see. while living here.
“I can’t wait to get out of this shithole” says another one.
“I am really busy” says the third as she hussles out the door promising to see the other one at play date on Thursday . MWAH MWAH great friends besties!
At the school, administration assistants almost rolls their eyes when they see you lurking around their office 30 mins before the final bell, the bangladeshi cleaners don’t understand the silly grin on your face and think it’s a invitation for sex, the other mothers can see that look of desperation in your eyes pleading, “Please call me for coffee when you get a chance” “ They can go fuck themselves”, you say in your head or mutter under your breath as you slink out of the school yard with nothing but stares to the back of your head.
To add insult to injury you had no response to your shout out to the Embassies and consulates asking if they have an “international women’s network” , no responses to your questions on noticeboards, facebook mother pages or even the casual hints at your husbands work you would like them to arrange a staff dinner.
What on Earth have you become? Don’t they all know you were the Queen in your last post. Can’t they see under that subdued happiness and sobriety is a gin swilling, champagne guzzling party animal that just wants to sing karaoke at 4am in a long red wig with her mates?
It is still Transition. You must be patient because before you know it your phone will be ringing , there will be 50 new Fb friends and you will be looking backward to all that time you had to mooch around doing nothing but read your book in the sun. By then you will be too busy loving your new home and all your new friends…..
For now it can be a party for one as No one will talk about your drunken antics behind your back!
kisses from QG.