It’s a year ago this week that Finn, Clara and I finally landed in Singapore. A year I didn’t think we’d see out at some moments. A year that I don’t think anyone thought we’d see out, to be honest. But, spoiler alert, we have done…
To me, aged twenty eight and a half. The me who has never dreamed of travelling. The me who actually hasn’t really traveled at all. Ever.
This is the new beginning you didn’t know you needed or wanted. The first few years of married life have been spent trying to balance babies and bill paying, and you’re bored but won’t admit it. You wave Karl goodbye every work trip but will never admit to him or yourself that you yearn to get on the plane alongside him. You’re busy keeping little people alive whilst playing snakes and ladders with an unfulfilling career. The idea of giving it all up is crazy. Let alone giving it all up to move to a country you couldn’t even point out on a map of the world. But at the same time, you’ve navigated the school gate for year now, and you’re scared. Is this it? Will the rest of your twenties and your thirties be taken up with small town school politics, because they might if you stay.
But what if you go? What if you just go along with another of Karl’s career moves. Another one, because this will be the third in the four years you’ve been married. A career move and a house move. Another one of those too. Your young children have had more bedrooms, more neighbours and more upheaval in their few years of life than some people ever have in their lifetime. Will they cope with boxing up their lives again? Will you cope? What about those boxes sat in the front room from the last move less than a year ago? The ones that are sat still packed, as they have done for the last nine months? Are they fast becoming a metaphor for your life? Always ready to leave, never fully unpacked, not quite sure what’s inside anymore.
But what about when you arrive in Singapore? If you arrive in Singapore. You already know that you can name only three people who live there, one of them being your husband. It’s going to be tough meeting people, or at least people that you’ll click with. You’ve heard all the myths and legends of these expat wife creatures, and you’re pretty sure you won’t fit in. You’re about twenty years too young for a start, and you don’t consider yourself to be a massive dickhead either. But then you know that if you don’t find some friends of your own your life will literally be taken over by being Karl’s wife and the kids Mum. Your career in the UK might be somewhat unexciting, but it allows you to be a person of your own. You’ll miss that more than you could ever imagine you would. Give it maybe six weeks, by about six weeks in you’ll be be blinded by the mist of homesickness and mourning your old life.
It’s stressful isn’t it. starting anew? Letting go of all the junk – physical and metaphorical – is easier said than done. Even when you think you have everything under control there will be something go amiss, or astray. They don’t say moving house is one of the most stressful things you go through in life for nothing. I’m not sure that claim even takes into account a move overseas. One which you are not even one hundred percent sure about. But you’re a do-er in life. Let’s face it, all those years of Brownies and Guides, D of E and getting through an all girls school haven’t produced a wall flower. This is perhaps the least romantic way of looking at things, but you will manage in the end.
By love, luck or a small miracle your marriage will be the best it’s been. In the end. It’ll be touch and go during the first month, but you’ll both find your feet in your new home, job and life together. All the shit of the past four years will pale in comparison to this challenge. But what’s that other saying? The one about pulling together in adversity or something? THAT.
Give it a year, just give it a chance. This will be the best thing that’s ever happened to you. But you have to allow it to be…