The End of Life As I Know It

(photo my own)

This week marks the beginning of the end of my life as I know it.  How morbid does that sound! However gloomy sounding, it is true. We have one more year as expats before we head south to begin a ‘normal’ life.  It is very exciting.  We will be close to our families and will be able to share in their lives on a regular basis rather than for intense bursts each Christmas.  My kids may even begin to understand the essence of an Aussie accent and perfect ‘G’day’.  I have hope.

Life back at home will not be a utopia and this is a fact that I am very aware of.  I have been following my husband as a trailing spouse (as we are affectionately known) for eleven years.  The day after we married we moved interstate and eighteen months later we were heading to Singapore.  During our travels we added to our family and my whole experience of motherhood has been on the far side of the world away from close family.  I actually grew up at a distance from extended family and do not understand the regular interaction and dynamics of families who live within visiting distance.

This process of going home is called repatriation and from what I have read can cause as much stress as your first expat experience and the resulting culture shock.  A good friend suggested that I write about my experiences as I prepare to go home and hopefully I will be able to find the words to express the highs and lows that I go through.

So this Wednesday as school starts, I will be shuffling my kids into their new classes hoping that they will reunite with friends and make new ones.  My eyes will be noting the new faces and struggling to remember names as I meet the new men and women who make up my community.  And I will be trying very hard to not distance myself, to not mentally evaluate whether it is worth beginning a new friendship, to jump in with both feet and avail myself of the opportunity of new friendships and new experiences.

Fingers crossed.

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6 Responses to The End of Life As I Know It

  1. flawless says:

    you have just made me cry, i was happy before i logged in :”””””(((( flawless at her best!!!

  2. Wow Kim, I love reading your posts. You really have a way with words. Repatriation is not something I’m looking forward to (not that it’s happening any time soon since we just bought a condo here!). I look forward to reading more posts. Love Caillie

    • Laney says:

      Thanks Caillie. Having very little difficulty coming up with ideas however when it comes to writing them down and then expanding the original thought … urgh!

  3. I think you’re doing a good job, so please don’t be so hard on yourself. I’m glad you’re aware of the tendency to ‘lean away’ when you know you’ll be leaving. Most people aren’t even aware they’re doing it. The year ahead is a great gift you give to yourself and your family, making the most of your time left in Denmark. Repatriation will be exciting, but brings its own challenges in part because you’ve experienced so much and it’s changed you. I write a lot about emotional resilience in expats (wrote a 6-piece series for I Am Expat and am working on a book), and highly recommend Ruth Van Reken and the late David Pollock’s Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds. Lots of people know about the book but few take the time to really read it. They capture so much about living cross-culturally, including how to leave (Denmark) well to enter (Australia) well. A real treasure trove.

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