Sunday, September 9, 2012



The amount of times I have packed up a house, its contents destined for a shed somewhere in the outskirts of Brisbane.  Watched as men with either broad Australian accents or a very strong Kiwi accents rummage through the innermost of my cupboards, pulling things out and shoving them into boxes.  I have often looked away with my cheeks flaming at what they discover there, long forgotten in the busyness of daily life.  

I always miss my belongings when I live overseas, there is so much comfort to be found when you are lonely, friendless and a bit lost in your new world, in sitting down on your couch and remembering the conversations between friends, late at night over a glass of wine.  Noticing the chip out of the sideboard from bumping it too hard while putting the pram together for the first time, all thumbs and giggling nerves picturing the sweet baby that will soon be pushed in it. 

I remember being told by another expat friend that the curse of all this moving, is that when you finally settle at home, you look around and none of your furniture matches, mine hasn't really ever matched to begin with.

This photo was taken as I left Australia for the second expat stint with Han's job.  Han had already left and what waiting for us in Singapore, Otto was 18 months old and it was his inaugaral overseas flight.  Six and a half hours of sitting in a chair, to say I was nervous would be an understatement.

This may have been my second international move, but it was my first with a child, and I had a lot to learn.  Over the course of our time in Indonesia I did a lot of travel.  We visited friends on neighbouring islands, travelled home for a wedding and medical appointments, and visited tourist spots within SE Asia.  Slowly I became accustomed to exactly what I needed for Otto and what I could leave at home, what seemed like a great idea on a website didn't always stack up in practice.  The one item you see there that always, always always saved my life, the Ergo.

Moving countries is such a thrilling, exciting, challenging and growing experience personally, as a couple and as a family.  It is like jumping off a cliff with a rope attached and hoping beyond hope that someone else has a good strong hold of the other end, ready to catch you.  The friendships you form are fast, firm and strong, you tell your expat friends details of your life that you aren't even sure friends at home know.  The first words out of anyone's mouth upon meeting for the first time are, where are you from, and how long are you here?  

They are your lifeline, your someone to call when the idea of staying within the walls of your compound any longer might drive you mad, when your driver has once again failed to come to work and you can't get anywhere because it is a religious holiday and the few taxis around are all taken.  When you are heading home for a holiday you have a list miles long for the home comforts that we can't find, Milo, Allens snakes, Nesquick, Nespresso capsules.  

Each expat stint I have learnt more about myself as a person, friend and wife.  We always love coming home when our time is finished, it is great to see family and friends and not be rushed, trying to fit a years worth of news into one small visit, but invariably our feet get itchy again and we start to wonder if we could do it all again, pack away our belongings and board a plane, ready for what life will throw at us next.

The answer is always yes.

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