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.