It’s A Precarious Time

It’s a precarious time.

As the days get hotter I find myself yearning for Australia. My parents have been at our beach house and when I think of my mother cooking breakfast while my father sweeps the leaves from our backyard, I can almost smell the bacon and feel the breeze running through the house. I’m at the end of my rope with school, it’s not their fault, I get like this every year. It’s like the build up in the tropics, waiting for the rain that never seems to come. One last class party, two graduations, one last delivery of cupcakes. The children are tired, prickly, and in constant discussions about when we get to Australia.

It’s a precarious time.

The balance of wanting to leave but not wanting to say goodbye. Friends who are off to greener pastures (literally) who are excited yet exhausted. It’s a fine line. How excited do you get about leaving when you’re sitting with those who are left behind? When do you cross the line? How excited do those being left behind get about your impending move? When does it begin to sound careless, offhand. I’ve begun discussions about next year “Hey, have you heard that…” only to remember mid sentence that they will not be here when I return. There’s an emptiness with the thought of seeing their car, their house, their names.

It’s a precarious time.

Friends wait to hear the results of interviews that have gone on longer than planned. Others go through last minute job changes. Marriages which have been slowly deteriorating, those involved sitting up in the middle of the night wondering if this isn’t the chance to make a clean break. “You are coming back aren’t you?” I said to a friend with a hint of desperation in my voice.

It’s a precarious time.

A time when I remind myself of what I have. A time when I find myself at the traffic lights in tears. A time when I get excited about what we have coming up next year, next month, next week. A time when I think of what we are about to lose. A time when I wonder what would have been better, to have started this expat life of ours later, perhaps when the kids were grown, or to have quit – settled. It is, of course, neither. There’s only one thing worse than having to say goodbye, and that’s the thought that we wouldn’t have met at all.

It’s a precarious time.

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  1. Yet again you find the right words to convey emotions unique to the life we lead. How excited does anyone get about an impending move? The ones going focused on the new adventure while the ones staying learn to cope without them and get ready to welcome new friends they’ve not met yet and do it all again. Deep breath. Count to 10. X

  2. Yes, yes and yes. xxx

  3. As an Australian Defence partner I can’t tell you how much this resonated with me. Sounds just like posting season. Hard to explain to my ‘civvie’ friends how I can feel excited about the new posting and desperately sad to be leaving again. Hard to explain to the kids that we are moving yet again. For me I need to live in the moment and live one day at a time despite the crippling anxiety of yet another move because I fell in love with a RAAFie. All power to you.

  4. My son (28) recently told me that he is glad we moved around the world. I think we have this thoughts often if it was right or not and why we do it. Not everybody is made for it but I am such a gypsy. Maybe that’s why we are stuck in Romania now. I wonder sometimes if you miss Australian summer because with school you can only go home in winter. Confuses us too because our kids live on the other side of the world now and it is always someone missing out on a summer.

    • We go again at Christmas for a few weeks. I would love it if it was the other way around (12 weeks at Christmas and 3 weeks in winter) but I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to sell it to the North Americans and the Europeans 🙂

  5. I think what you are going through sounds really hard. I’m sure other ex-pat families will empathise with you in a way that others can try but simply cannot fully understand. Take lots of deep breaths, make yourself a cuppa and hold on there. Thinking of you. Gxo

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