Life changes in one phone call
….and with that one phone call….a closed door opened… which is what I want to tell you about today.
Yesterday I did a post about changing a Bathroom in a day.
Life too can change in a day – in fact with the blink of an eye when tragedy strikes.
But as an expat, life usually changes dramatically with just one phone call.
It is not the usual job hunting, interview process, salary negotiation, watch and wait kind of job changes – like you have in a normal scenario…..full of expextation to hear an answer while already spending your new salary in your head… No.
In expat world -life is dependant on changes and moves up and beyond your control, and of which you are totally not aware…. untill on one happy morning you get informed of how the dominos have started to tumble this time round.
There are many variations of this same story, but in the basic form, this is how it happens….
You always know it’s coming some day again,
You are never quite sure when…..
You start to think it might be coming up soon…
And then you completely put your mind off it again and happily live life when…..
1. Boss phones husband and offer a new position.
2. Husband phones wife to inform her about the news.
3. Husband and wife have a certain adrenalin going – be it in panic or excitement depending what has just been thrown at them.
4. Both calm down, realizing that this usually means zip your lip and don’t tell anyone for a few days. Protocol is alive and well.
5.Wife tells husband she will survive – even if she knows she might not…but whose gonna send Husband back to Boss with a “NO”.
6. Husband phones Boss back – cool, calm and collected to accept the job offered while thinking… my wife is going nuts at home… be it on a positive or a negative note – depending the news!!
7. Wife sits at home and think – LIFE JUST CHANGED – ALL IN ONE PHONE CALL – and from that moment on….. a million things will need to happen untill she knows, for sure… she will sit on this same couch again… in another house, in another country … with no idea how that will all work out…just knowing that it will !
That was me again this week. Except for the part where Wife was this time round part of the cool, calm and collected clan. WIth off course a big YES…woohoo baby…on the side !
First there was moving to the U.S. – that was exciting as I was to have my first baby there and it was our first expat assignment.
Next was a move back to South Africa – that was exciting because going home was fun and I could go back to work.
Then came a call to move to Moscow – husband made me sit down…on the chair that just arrived that morning for my newly renovated office, to break the news. That was exciting because it had a certain element of mistery and magic to go to Russia to explore beyond the “Iron Curtain” as I knew it growing up.
The call to Korea was a different one – I had to shamefully go pull out a map to see WHERE exactly is Korea? But the great thing again was that it was unknown to me… implicating that there would be a lot to learn about people, culture, lifestyle and history that I had absolutely no clue about. And so it was – I have been enriched by this experience. And same goes for my kids.
This time it is different. HONG KONG is next on the map. I know where it is. That’s a great start !
And this time I am excited for the following top 5 reasons, which I will share in a minute.
Breaking the news to your children always goes with a bit of nervousness, as not everybody tends to be at the same place in life when these changes happen… but we are blessed to have happy, well-rounded children who embrace change despite having to cut ties with friends they have bonded with for various reasons. And despite having to swop that nice, cosy spot they have carved out in life over here right now …..for that uncomfortable feeling of being the new kid on the block again.
On Sunday we shared the news to the little one, 5 yrs old…and I wish I recorded it as we went from zero to hero all in one minute in her world !
It went like this..
Me:”..you know what? Daddy is going to have a new job..and his not going to do his old job anymore
L – WHAT??!! He’s not gonna be our DAD anymore????!!!!
Me – No, I mean his OTHER job – you know…at the office….but it means he has to go to another country
L – WHAT???!!!!! BIG outburst in tears… but THAT means I will not see M or I or ANY of my best friends anymore????!!!
Me – I know, but it is a really fun place where we will go….
L – (sobbing still but trying to compose) – WHAT???!! Is it Australia ??
Me – No, but it has a BEACH..
L – But still not my friends !!!!
Me – it has DISNEY World
L – WHAT ????!!!!!! ….YEAH !!!! …..My friends LOVE Disney. Whoo Hoo….”
And then life continued. All done. All happy.
And the greatest testimony through it all still goes to my husband – despite his hard work, despite me being super proud of him and his career, the kids still think that his REAL JOB is being their Father – which just means that he is there for us, always has been and always will be. And nobody has become the by-product of his ambitions.
Okay – so back to those top 5 reasons:
1. It is closer to home – at least 4 hours and no “extra leg” anymore – a direct flight now to SA
2. Nice weather, Easier shopping, more variety in restaurants, more English, more Cosmopolitan City.
3. Great schools, great expat community, I believe.
4. A place with hustle and bustle – yes, that’s my kind of place ! and maybe that will convince a few friends to come visit who were a hard pull to get to Seoul – you know… bribe the kids with Disney, the beach, the rugby….something for everyone ?!
5. But I love that it is still in Asia – which I have now grown to love and respect and in which there still lies a list of fabulous destinations we were hoping to see and visit and explore. And close enough to my current destination to come back or have my girlfriends over for a weekend trip !
New doors have opened up again and the best thing about it will be that that can happen with the old ones not closing on you….
Life has just, once again, become so much more with so many new opportunities and so many new awakenings that will go with it.
Challenges – for sure. Sadness of leaving friends and Seoul – for sure.
We are happy to move on as much as we are grateful for the time we had and will still have in Seoul.
But we will be taking with us…. more than what we ever came here with.
Life has and continues to be good for us as a family. We are blessed and we are thankful.