Where To and What Not

by farrah on May 10, 2017 · 2 comments

It’s May 2017 which a while ago seemed like some intangible date where we were going to begin our countdown. Specifically, the one-year-mark countdown to our contract ending here in the Netherlands and of something happening next.

Of course, that magical date of May 2018 has been created after not one but two extensions- and our initial assignment of ‘two to three years’ has meshed into our fifth. Five years. The best way I can try to put some kind of concrete idea of that amount of time passed is thinking back five years to the ages of the boys. L and C were two and B was three. Babies. I had babies five years ago. I was also five years from 40- which yeah I know means nothing really to anyone but myself.

So anyhow- here we are in this fifth year last hurrah. As people who know me- know I’ll say ‘nothing is ever concrete till that contract is signed’ but I’m pretty darn sure that there is no likelihood that we will be living in the NL much longer. There is no mobility with my husband’s company here, and the contract is almost up- which means it’s time to rotate. It’s time to start thinking about saying goodbye.

When we left the US we were displaced Michiganders living in South Carolina. It wasn’t like we were even ‘Yankees’ considering how many people from the north had moved there. But we were sick of the heat. We were sick of the red clay, we were (I was) tired of driving quite so far to a preschool. We were in a routine living in a neighborhood where no one was really close and the development itself had started to go downhill. We had been there six years and yet it never felt like home.

As for friends I had met some wonderful people teaching. I have a fantastic friend that I met (and who came here to visit) from my first birthing class way back in 2008. But I never clicked and made that daily sort of relationship with someone like I have here. I’ve made friends with people over the years and grown comfortable with them. I see them daily- sometimes more than once or twice a day because of the close-knit walk-up school pick up and drop off. We have a holiday family, I have a gym buddy, lunch buddy, a coffee friend. I didn’t have those things in SC and I’m about to kiss it all tot ziens and once again become anonymous.

Let me explain that last part a minute because a part of me really likes the anonymous part. I like being unknown. Being just another person you don’t know can turn me into anything I’d like. I can be social (or not), I can be adventurous (or not) and I can screw up royally or make some kind of drastic change and no one would know the difference. Heck I could even make up an accent and no one would know. The point is the idea of shedding any kind of pigeonholed personality is something incredibly freeing. So yeah, while it’s awesome to have the close friends like we’ve made here, it’s also pretty cool to suddenly become anonymous once again.

But what about the kids? Sure, I’m a 41-year-old woman who might or might not be having some kind of clichéd mid-life crisis and enjoy this ability to reinvent myself, but what about my kids and my husband? My husband I don’t worry about. Work is work and that’s the constant. He will always be meeting new people, learning new things and going about his day. But my kids are going to be picked up (for the first time really since they were so young that first time) and removed from their friends. That makes me feel guilty. And worried.

The resiliency of kids is indeed something that I firmly believe in- I really really do. Additionally my husband and I are stable and caring parents who are genuinely involved in their lives because they want us to be involved. As a family we get along well, disagree pretty nicely too and are for the most part up all for a challenge and or an adventure. These past five years of breakneck traveling (at times) has proven to me that we can handle much more than I thought we could.

But they didn’t choose this life. We chose it for them and it makes me wonder if I project too much of what I’ve always wanted onto them.

What’s the answer? How do you know? Or do you just carry on and keep going until there’s a definitive line of being crossed?

Our children have never lost sight of who their family is, who their relatives are or where they’re from. Sure they might not be visiting every weekend or live down the street from their grandparents or cousins, but I don’t know how much that would change. Technology is second nature and asking to FaceTime or message someone goes without saying. It’s the day-to-day living that I worry about. How much change is too much change for a kid? Is there such a thing when what you had really wasn’t normal in the first place?

Anyhow. So that’s where we are right now. Thinking about where to next and whatnot. Leaning towards something far away and very different from we have now- but I know that at least until the next contract is signed nothing is for certain yet.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amy May 11, 2017 at 5:01 pm

I still live vicariously through your travel photos. As long as you move somewhere that offers solid instagram fodder, I approve this move. Good luck with the decisions ahead!

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2 Kristin May 15, 2017 at 1:40 pm

This was truly beautiful to read. Thanks for me Monday Inspiration.

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