Expat wife/life: NOT always as pictured!

I came across this meme the other day and chuckled. I/we do travel, I use to get massages while living in Qatar quite often, I was a lady who lunched, I did shop a lot, I felt like I managed it all, but at the end of the day, what do I really do? Sort out documents – from birth certificates, passports, vaccinations, insurance forms, etc. BUT that was then…this time around, on our 4th international move, I am in another expat boat and am doing a lot more than just sorting out documents.

To begin with, we moved with the expectation that we would just settle in this little town of ours for three years, enjoy family time and the whole work/life balance that Scandinavians are known for. (I know, I should not have expectations…) This ideal situation unfortunately hasn’t unfolded for us yet because unexpectedly things changed at my husband’s work and he now travels WEEKLY for work. I have now learned that surprisingly like many other expats, we have a weekend marriage…not the easiest thing when you have two small kids!

While trying to figure out our lives where husband/dad is not home during the week, I have been really sick with mastitis recently. Something that I wish no mother has to go through. But this has given me the time to think about our lives as expats, moving around from country to country, adjusting every time, orientating, finding friends and so on. It isn’t always easy or as glamorous as I may portray it to be via social media posts. I actually posted about this being my expat problem – click here to read about it!

One thing for sure is that I would not move with a baby again. Why? Asides from trying to get settled, baby is growing, not sleeping, going through milestones, and making the move just slightly harder. My personal ironic twist – we first moved to Denmark when my son was 7 months. It was hard then. This time, my daughter was also 7 months. Even harder this time around. Lesson learned for me: do not move with a baby, who is 7 months old!!!!

Now that baby girl is off to nursery, I have more time to ponder should we continue this expat life of ours. It isn’t about shopping, lunching, getting massages as the meme suggests. The travel is a big perk however. That is not only because we are expats, but we are in countries that support time off from work. Thinking about our ten years as expats, we have so many great memories and experiences that make it difficult to say, I just want to settle back home…wherever that is now! Maybe deep down I don’t ever want to settle. It seems to be easy to say, “let’s just move back”. But I know that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, is it? Need to start watering my own again…grass is greener where you water it…