I’m by no means in a blip right now, but I am definitely unsettled somewhat. As I am approaching my three year mark in the sand, so too are some of the original desert girls. Those ladies that touched down within weeks on my arrival and who have been part of my social circle every since. Now, many of us on these nomadic trails have a limited timescale and quite a few are contracted out to this random corner of the desert for a set period. Hubby and I have never embarked on a fixed term contract anywhere, allowing the decision to move on to be our own. But for many, particularly in this part of the world, they are on countdown from the moment they arrive, so as I approach three years, so too do a lot of contracts and departures are imminent.
So it seems over the last few weeks, there have been some big announcements and people are fleeing the desert for green(er) pastures and it feels like its an end of an era. Now I know that sounds a little dramatic, but my original ladies that brunch foursome will be down to 2 by the summer. We have recruited some lovely ladies into the fold who I couldn’t do without, but it has got me (over)thinking. I am happy here, no doubt, and I love my life
So why is it, that as people depart, my feet don’t itch for a new adventure but they wobble just ever so slightly?
It shouldn’t come as a absolutely shock, that people leave. This life isn’t conventional and with that unconventionality comes a little instability. My expat life has never been pre determined, planned or even thought-out much past boarding the plane, which has caused my inner Virgo to recoil, on more than one occasion, but Hubby and I have always just gone with the initial decision on the location, try it and see what happens.
Equally when it comes to leaving, we never have a set time table and a new opportunity has always been the catalyst, rather than a desire or need to leave. I like this, as for a little window of time I can relax and enjoy the fruits of expat life, without the pressure of knowing that in 2 years, 11 months and 3 days I will be packing my life up for the next posting. Now don’t get me wrong, I know plenty of expats that thrive on this process. It brings them excitement and removes any chance of life becoming stagnant. But for me, I think this would be a step too far and
my inner control freak would be screaming for the sand dunes!
I guess I am more surprised by my reaction to people leaving, more than them actually leaving. I know its a fundamental part of my Kuwait life, oil and gas and military postings are prevalent and therefore so is the migration of expats in and out of the country. However, as so many of my desert girls are linked to my Hubby’s company, I just have in my head that these ladies are going to be here for the long haul. I don’t know why, because we certainly won’t be doing a 12 year stint, so why do I assume everyone else will? It’s a strange limbo that we are all in, we are settled but its not our forever home, so can you really be settled? I think you can and whilst I am here I am settled, currently unnerved, but I am settled and its my right now home.
In my head (and boy sometimes I really should get out of it) hearing someone is moving on, towards a new adventure or going back to their home country, to hang up their expat hat for good, makes me question everything. Just for a split second, I think about where will we be next? or have I had enough here? Both are fleeting lapses in rational thought, as the departing desert girls start to chat through the logistical nightmare, that this life brings when moving, and
I am firmly back into the land of sand, cappuccinos and my perfect for right now existence.
As I continue to overthink this aspect of my week, my little bit of self psychotherapy has bought me to the conclusion, that I am only feeling this way because, up until now I have always been the one leaving. At 19 I left my little island haven and took myself off to the big smoke of London and left friends and family behind. I left London to return to my rock, leaving new college friends and a relationship behind. Then we left for Prague, leaving my work friends and family (again). Then we left Prague to head to the sandpit, leaving our expat friends behind. So at every point I have been the one in the drivers seat, its been on our terms and we looked towards the next adventure, not to those left in the old one.
That being said, is it any wonder that I have become wobbly!? When people I have grown close to are exiting stage right, leaving me centre stage for the tragic monologue, its only natural for nerves to ensue. Until now I didn’t really realise the effect it must have had on people, when I left (mainly because I am awesome and I know I left a gaping hole in their lives!!) but it must have left them a little bit ruffled. It isn’t all doom and gloom though, I am very happy and yes I am sad that these people are going and won’t continue in the randomness of desert life, but they will always be part of my journey and as transient as these relationships are, they still contribute.
So with that in mind, yesterday, in the midst of a little unsteadiness under foot, I sat with two of my desert girls, who aren’t going anywhere….for now, drinking coffee and laughing, (or cackling in my case) so hard that we cried and my stomach hurt. I realise that at that moment my feet were firmly back on the ground and cemented for a while by moments like these.