In a land with no passport

I was having a discussion with my husband yesterday about the ongoing transition from working to not.  The best way I could describe it is that I feel like I am in a land with no passport.  As I am still moonlighting a bit at my old job to aid in the transition, I have a detachment to that identity and that role as I am not “there” and yet I am physically there on occasion and will be through the end of September.  It is a weird sensation though, to form a emotionally detached barrier to the projects I have worked so hard on.  But, I need clear boundaries so that the transition works.  It is not my job anymore and someone else will soon fill that role.  

Interestingly enough, my issues during the transition have had nothing to do with leaving the office that I worked in or that I will be replaced quickly, I have struggled more with not having a professional side to myself.  There are many reasons why the timing of all of this has been quite fortunate as well, it’s just all very surreal.  I had lunch with a friend on Tuesday and she asked if it had sunk in yet.  I told her no, I feel like I am just taking a few vacation days.  Within a few weeks I am sure this will not be the case but right now I feel like I exist between two lands, not really belonging to either.  To add to that I am getting ready to leave one country for another which amplifies my feelings of belonging nowhere solid.  

My husband asked if I regretted this choice.  I think that is a common concern for husbands who have trailing spouses.  It was sweet of him to ask.  I know this is hard on him because he cannot fix it.  I told him no though.  I honestly don’t regret it.  We decided this logically as a family.  It is just a little more jumbled emotionally than I had planned.  And frankly, you can’t plan for this.  It just is and you need to know that going into it.  I suspect our expat journey will have many of these moments.  Mine just started early.  

But, I have one heck of a reason to celebrate this new role.  I get to make my kids three o’clockers.  And the joy on their faces when I pick them up makes all of this emotional confusion go away.  So, in the end it is all worth it.  

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On Packing with Friends

One of the things I think people embarking on this type of journey forget, guys especially, is the physical act of saying goodbye.  Too much time is wasted on trivial things like packing and to-do lists.  Stuff that at the end of the day is just that, stuff.

Last week I sat down and counted the days until the husband leaves.  52 days.  That is a very short time to say goodbye to a lot of incredible people.  Folks that he will not see in earnest for two years.  So, my focus last week was arranging time to see as many important people as possible so that it isn’t left to chance or one frenzied weekend that we try to see everyone and spend so little time with them that we actually see no one.  This past weekend we smoked a piggy with incredible friends while the kids played, and yesterday we spent a lot of time in the car in order to see folks that we would not have seen otherwise.  Our weekends are going to be like that until he goes, and the weeknights will be spent with the kids and their dad.  Soaking in as much time with him as possible because that separation will be the hardest on everyone.  

But, the singular act of focusing on the people we leave behind rather than the things we leave behind I think is paramount to an emotionally healthy journey.  Plus, it gives us permission to enjoy the weekends with good friends, food and memories. Memories that we can hold onto in the sandbox.  I’ll take those over an artfully packed box any day.