Search Results for: expat
I’ve written in the past about the jobs, titles and responsibilities that are attached to being a mother. How those things define who you are. How often it’s no longer about what you used to do for a living, or how far you made it through your education years. It’s sometimes, pathetically, not even about what your NAME is, as many times you are simply referred to as “Antonio’s mom.”
I knew before we landed in Delhi as a new expat family that my reason for being on this earth was currently defined by three letters – M O M – but had no idea how deep my feelings on the subject ran, UNTIL we landed here and started acclimating.
It almost feels as though you are slowly, slowly … disappearing.
The things you used to be relied on for, are now passed on to someone else to do. You no longer do even the miniscule of jobs that formerly identified you as a MOM.
Your ID badges that are required for admittance to daily stops (school, club, etc.) all list me as either a “Parent” or a “Spouse” … not simply Naomi.
Before I got married, I wore several hats. I was a single mom (both financially AND physically) to Terran. I received little to no child support and while chaotic, I thrived at that. I worked two, sometimes three jobs. I relied heavily on family and friends to help with Terran’s social and mental well-being (not to mention babysitting!). We got through it. At the end of every day, while I may have been tired, I was satisfied because I had “done it all.”After getting married and quitting my job, I found myself slowly adapting to my new role. My new title. I no longer was the breadwinner and was simply a mother. I was also now a wife, and a daughter-in-law. With those two new jobs, came new requirements and new daily things to work on, perfect and enjoy.
With this recent move and since becoming an expat chick, I am again adapting to my new role. This one though, leaves a lot of gaps. It’s as though I’m disappearing … and rather than let that happen, my instant inclination is to over-commit. Find things to volunteer for and ways to spend my day.
How do you best balance the lack of required MOM duty (and even WIFE duty) with a desire to find yourself again?
When you’re living in a country where most everything is done FOR you, shouldn’t you seize the opportunity and do things that make you happy?
It seems to be so … seems logical that us expat girls should relish in this time and instead of relinquishing ourselves to disappearing, we should leap for joy and make bucket lists galore. Explore, learn, teach, expand and better ourselves.
Why then … do alot of the women I talk to still feel over-scheduled, not rested and stressed? Is it the disappearing act and all that’s associated with it that leaves us still longing for more?
As we sit around the school campus after drop-off, or carry in our yoga mats, or get in line at the local “grocery store” … there is alot of discussion about how THIS time should be golden … yet we feel guilty for doing things that make US happy.
I’m not looking for the answer … as I’m sure that for each of us expat women, there is a different situation involved (some have traveling spouses, some are the breadwinners, some have children, others do not, some are here with no departure date set and others know the minute they will leave).
I’m simply voicing out loud my struggles with feeling sometimes as though I’m simply disappearing.
Several people have written eloquently about friendships. They are key, important and needed.
I wrote about how to branch out.
Chris is pretty depressed about his friendship status.
Kirsty wrote about lifelong friends.
Tsh shared about imperfect friends and solutions.
Jo wrote about belonging to a tribe.
At some moments in your life you only need ONE friend. The gal that sticks by you during all of life’s ups and downs. At other points in your life, your spouse or partner becomes your true thing — that person who is always there and rock star steady.
Then there are the moments when you have such an influx of amazing people in your life, that you are full to overflowing.
(maybe just a bit reminiscent of the feeling after Thanksgiving turkey?)
That’s where I am.
Full to overflowing.
- Pick one bad photo from your travel experiences or expat adventures (‘bad’ in terms of poorly taken, over-exposed, or simply very dated).
- Share that bad photo and explain why you wish you could recapture that moment again.
All of the pictures demonstrate me in a harried state. They were all taken in the time between knowing we needed to leave India and the time that we could announce that we WERE leaving India. I was desperate to capture every little thing that explained the experience that I had been given. I wanted to soak it all up and keep it forever, in case it was erased the minute I boarded the flight for home.
If I could do it over though, I would realize that what makes the memory is not the actual “click” of the photo (or the push of the camera button on the phone). What makes the memory is the association of your time and energy, and how that connects to the image that was captured.
All of the photos that you saw above were moments that were meaningful to me for so, so many reasons … yet because of the quality you would never know it.
When I don’t take time to follow through with an intention with quality … quality to match the integrity of the moment, it is all lost.
At first glance you see four people on a motorbike. Common in India, but a classic photo that visitors to the country take, because it’s abnormal in other parts of the world. [What I should have paused to capture was the laughter of these little ones on the back of this bike. What I missed because I was paying very little attention was the uproarious laughter that then followed from the bike master]
This guy worked tirelessly near our home preparing lunch for the nearby shop owners, construction workers, etc. I stealthily caught this photo on my camera phone as I walked the littles to the playground, when instead I could have taken the time to ask permission for a photo and captured the moment in a much better light.
So much happens at this corner and if I would have stopped for two minutes and asked Kushal to let me out, I would have captured a much more interesting vignette of this intersection.
4 steps to the right or left and I could have been witness to a story of how this man makes his living every day, or even if I had stayed another 10 minutes, I could have found out the story of the customer as well. Was this a favorite place to stop for lunch, or was it his first time? How long had the vendor been selling on this corner. More importantly to the story of what I missed … WHAT was he even selling? I need to stop longer, if I want the story behind the photo.
For all of those reasons, and so many more … I wish I could capture the moments again.
India is a country that is extreme and rich in its experiences, moments, culture, family and even in its idiosyncrasy.
To understand it without having lived there is impractical.
Trying to understand it while living there is ridiculous.
To attempt to understand it after you’ve left feels impossible.
One of the things that India taught me is to be more intentional with my photographs and to take more time, to pause, and get the entire story. I hope I can put it into practice more now that I’ve left.