Ever had a day when you think what am I doing? That day when you look around at your weird, random expat existence and think to yourself WTF, how did we end up here?! I remember walking down my little Prague street, in the snow, having just survived the supermarket on my lunch hour, and suddenly out of nowhere, I caught myself in a moment of realisation….This is my life now……and with a smile and a giggle I carried on trudging through the snow. We all have moments where the reality of our situation can make us smile, cry and laugh out loud and sometimes this can be all in one day. Last week, I had one of these moments, and before you raise concern, it wasn’t a bad moment. On the contrary, it made me feel extremely grateful for this life. It was a moment of clarity, gratitude and resulted in the biggest internal smile. Yes this life can bring on random emotional outbursts but occasionally it can surprise you by epitimizing that perfect expat postcard. But first, let me take a few steps back and tell you the journey that took me to this warm fuzzy feeling.
Tuesday started, as every desert Tuesday does, with the ladies that brunch. This week, we were a little smaller but a new introduction was being made, which always invigorates the group. The weather was lovely, so an al fresco setting was selected, coffee ordered and conversations commenced over croissants. I was perhaps a little off kilter that day, nothing major but certainly was a little in my head, but not enough to cancel and definitely not enough to not enjoy myself and join in. It was lovely, what better way to spend the morning with your girls, putting the world to rights and educating the newbie on all things Ramadan.
Once home I pottered around, shoved my head in a book and settled in for the afternoon. My phone made that familiar buzz and a message from one of my desert girls popped up. It was a little odd as I had only left her an hour ago, but welcomed the distraction from a rather intense literary moment. 3 words came on my screen.
Are you ok?
I replied yes of course, why? Slightly bemused by the question, when she was sat next to me that very morning. She continued
You seemed a little far away at moments today, slightly off balance
Now I knew that even in her Italian to English translation, she didn’t literally mean off balance, me stumbling around like a vodka induced Bambi, she meant off kilter.
- I am that transparent?
- She knows me too well after nearly 4 years
- Awww how sweet that she noticed and wanted to check in
I reassured her that I was completely fine and I was a little tired which perhaps had made me seem not quite with it! That little moment did warm my heart, it just shows that people do care and we aren’t all superficial in our relationships. Internal smile number 1.
Now this particular Tuesday, was a rather sociable one, as not only was it brunch day it was also Book Club night or basically a girls night, gossiping, catching up and speaking about the book for 5 minutes as no one will have read it! But anyway, whatever the pretense of us getting together, I was looking forward to it. A couple of us carpool down to our hosts new house and even on the car journey hilarity had begun. There were comments thrown around the car how much we were looking forward to the evening and what a nice bunch had accumulated for this monthly occurrence. I nodded in agreement and was willing to leave it there when one of the gang piped up
I mean it’s just nice isn’t it? When I first moved here I was desperate for friends and then you lot turned up!
She began to dig herself a hole…….
I mean not that I was so desperate that you aren’t my real friends
Shovel was well gripped now…..
I mean I am happy I met you both, it’s not like I am waiting for someone better to come along or anything.
Well that was it, all 3 of us could not stop laughing, I am surprised our driver actually made it around the impending roundabout in one piece, as we were so distracted by the hysterics. Internal smile number 2
Once we arrived at the house (which I have to say was rather fabulous) the rest of the ladies where already comfortable in the garden, nattering away. We all got comfortable, nibbling away on the delicious food selection on offer. As we sat there enjoying the warm evening, conversations filling the air, I thought to myself, we could quite literally be anywhere in the world. This is no different to any bunch of girls, having a night off from the husbands and kids and frivolously chatting about anything and everything (Ok it is different, minus the wine). There was raucous laughter, piss taking banter and the briefest moment of serious book contemplation, but do you know what it made me happy.
These women come from every walk of life, me from my little island on expat year 8. Two Ozzies, both seasoned nomads around the world, who can both talk as much as me, which makes me like them even more! A cynical but lovable Scot who was more interested in the hosts dogs than us! A young mum of two whose enthusiasm for learning everything there is to know, tapping into our past experiences is so refreshing. My fellow Brits, our equestrian star, Jilly Cooper enthusiast, whose laugh can fill a room and our laid back, family loving, crack you up with her dedication to school term dates, fun mum. We are SO different and yet it works. That dynamic, the variety of life experiences, the breadth of personalities, feeds into my desert tribe.
Find your tribe ladies and they will lift you up when you need it, fill the air with laughter over the stupidest things and make this random corner of the desert not feel quite so random. That sisterhood of all being in it together bonds you and even if you can only all be at the same place, at the same time, once a month, grab it, because no matter who you are or where you are, you need it. Internal smile number 3