New friends – Old friends – No friends – Repeat

We sold our house in Houston on the first day it hit the market. We couldn’t believe it. We were the god and goddess of house selling. After the second bottle of champagne and the fifteenth self congratulatory pat on the back, we went to bed ten feet taller and completely bullet proof.

And then the sale fell apart.

We had two weeks before we were leaving the country.

It was a disaster.

With the house half packed and both G and I reeking of desperation, there were no further bites. The jig was up. Buyers knew we needed to sell and they were willing to wait it out. We were going to have to leave the country with a rather huge investment in the hands of a real estate agent who had really bad dress sense and a bad attitude.

And then it got worse.

On the day we were leaving, a water pipe burst in an internal wall. We saw the damp making its way down the wall. The drips were large enough that the beagle stopped for a drink as she wandered by.

And then the real estate agent arrived with a prospective buyer as a surprise.


We had an hour to get to the airport.

I stood on the front lawn of our unsold leaky house with the beagle on a leash, 20 suitcases around my feet and 4 children in different stages of pre moving hyperplaneactiveness. You think that’s not a word? Wait until you move country.

By the time we got to the airport I’d had enough. Forget emotional roller coasters, it had been two weeks of an emotional high speed rail with a catastrophic crash at the end. We’d only moved 12 months before and now G was changing company. We were heading to the unknown. We were exhausted. Done. At the end of the line. We’d reached our limit.

We arrived at the airport in a state of chaos, there was a problem getting the beagle on the plane, the children cried as they whisked her away and we had too much luggage. We stood in the line being jostled between one attendant and another with minutes to make our flight. We have to pay how much? And then my necklace broke. I heard the metal of the love heart bounce as it hit the cold airport floor.

As I reached down to pick it up I pictured my girlfriends handing it to me on my birthday. Women I’d known for over 20 years. I’d fallen in love with it immediately. It was perfect. Someone who knew me well had bought this, and while it was perfect for me, it reminded me of them. I hadn’t taken it off since the day I’d got it. Whenever I was anxious I would twirl the love heart in my fingers, I’d done it unconsciously. And now it was on the floor of the airport. The line began to move – I quickly grabbed the chain and the heart, and stuffed it into my pocket before getting on the plane.

Don’t cry. Just get on the plane. Don’t cry.

A week later I sat in a coffee shop in Doha looking at a sea of faces – none familiar. No-one was particularly friendly, I felt self conscious, I was beginning to plan my exit. Out of the blue, a women arrived with twinkling eyes, a devilish sense of humor and a bag of jewelry for sale. I looked down at the silver pieces and recited the story of my love heart, I was melodramatic “I’m devastated, I had something similar” I pulled my love heart from my handbag “my girlfriends gave it to me”. She got it. She could see it was more than just a necklace.

“I think I can fix it – I think I know someone”

And she did.

I’d made a friend. My newest friend had helped me regain a little piece of my old ones.

Today I showed an old friend my daily life. She came on the school run and I introduced her to my new world, my new friends. We sat in the school cafeteria, her children with mine. My two worlds collided for just a moment. My expat bliss must have been visable, a text from a new friends arrived that night:

“you looked very happy today. A dose of good old aussie friends that know you inside and out does the soul a lot of good. enjoy their company.”

I’m not sure how I got so lucky – the old friends are fabulous. The new friends – I’m so glad I met you.

New friends, old friends, no friends, repeat.

Expat life.

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