Just over a year ago, having just learned I was pregnant and with a one year old, I thought that preparing for a move to the other side of the world, kids and husband in tow, would be a breeze. With starry eyes, I accepted my first posting. I thought of the exciting work I would do, the spicy and delicious food I would eat, the sights I would see, the opportunities for my career and my family. An eternal optimist, I imagined myself with my baby and perfectly behaved toddler, setting off on this globe-living adventure with the ease of an evening trip to the grocery store (ok – maybe I’m exaggerating. I’m not that naive, and my toddler is far from perfectly behaved). I didn’t completely think about what moving to the other side of the world really meant.
My baby girl Freya will be 6 months old this week and my son Max 27 months. The world as they know it is about to be turned utterly and completely upside down.
The last few months have been a whirlwind of emotions and chaos, to-do lists and nagging. My son has pointed at the empty walls and insisted that they are “broken” and we should “fix it”. In the last month alone we’ve spent over 40 hours in the car over short weekends trying to say our good-byes to family and friends who although have every intention of visiting, might not. Today, I wiped away tears as I thanked our babysitter who has been like family to our son. I’m scared of the day when he realizes that his little world has completely changed and he won’t be going to play with her and his gang of toddlers.
I’ve insisted that Skype is a great replacement for face to face visits. It isn’t, and I know it. They do to.
Max has been sick twice from the heat in the last few months and we are moving to a place where temperatures often reach the high 40s. He has a nagging cough that I worry might only get worse with the pollution. As a mom, I have questioned whether my decision to pack up the family and move around the world will cause harm. I have felt incredible guilt for the pain I am causing family by taking their loved ones so far away.
For awhile we did not know whether my husband would be working and whether we would face the reality of most families in this career as a one income family. We have been incredibly fortunate that he has gotten a job. Renting our house has not been as easy as we had thought. Trying to keep it spic and span while an endless stream of potential renters come and go has been a challenge in itself.
But, when I tell my son that we will be taking a plane tomorrow, his eyes light up and a smile spreads across his face. I know that we have raised him so far to be an adaptable and flexible. I know that India is going to be full of wonderful opportunities and within hours of landing he will be running about, jet-lagged and dopey, but building new friendships and pointing out all the new wonderful sights and sounds.
My daughter has been my side kick. Attending meetings and language training with me. An easy-going little girl smiling and charming everyone she meets.
I know that my husband will settle into his job and that it might just be the perfect thing.
I know that I will hit the ground running and not look back.
I know that our time away will fly by, and although we’ll miss our friends and family in Canada we’ll have memories and stories to tell that will last a lifetime.
I know that I am incredibly fortunate to have so many wonderful friends, family and colleagues who have supported us and helped us in the past few months, and whether we are next door, or a world away they will always be there.
I know that those friends and family will forgive me for being stressed and scatter-brained.
I know that when this assignment comes to an end, I’ll be anxiously dreaming of the next one.
I know that I am incredibly fortunate to have a job that gives me such amazing opportunities and allows me to do something I love.
I know that people will come visit and they will learn and experience something they might have never thought possible.
I know that this experience will bring us closer together as a family, and we will be stronger for it.
But for now, I know I need a good night sleep. Tomorrow is a big day, and we have a very long way to go.