Wednesday, 2 June 2010

a thought about expat life

Everyday I am learning a bit more about expat life. Most of the time it's good stuff, but the occasional difficult thing comes up as well... I have found, I guess, The Thing I don't like about this lifestyle.

By the end of the summer, I will have lost 3 friends that I have met since we arrived to Amman! If I am loosing friends, it means that Bibs is loosing her friends as well... And that gets me wondering how it will be for her when she grows up. I am used to it, usual it's me leaving though, but how will Bibs react when she grows older? Seeing her friends come and go again? Will it make it easier for her to meet new people, a more sociable person? Or on the contrary will she get shy and fed up because she has to make efforts every time? Will she become restless and a globe trotter? or will she find a small village somewhere where she'll stay because she has done enough travelling and she wants stability?

I guess all this depends on the character, but I do wonder... Of course today with all the social networks it is easier to stay in touch with people: Facebook, MSN, Twitter, Skype... All this makes it so much easier to follow people around, know where they are, what they are doing, keep the contact so that friendships don't just disappear. I am back in touch with many people I had lost contact with because of these networks. When I was kid we had to exchange addresses and write letters. You do it a couple of times if you are motivated, and then you stop because there are other things to do...

One of the good things with this lifestyle, is that Bibs will know people from everywhere, and I hope that she'll grow up to be tolerant and curious about the world. I also hope that she won't be too angry at us when we will be going from one country to another! Is it selfish from our part to "oblige" our daughter to follow our lifestyle? Well well... so many questions and they will only be answered in many years! Until then I'll just have to do my best.

Well, well anyways. Tomorrow we are off to the Hot Springs in Ma'In, you can read about last time we were there here. Going to enjoy a nice massage and this time I have the backpack for Bibs and my walking shoes! So I hope I'll bring back some new stunning pictures.


Haitham Seelawi said...


look at it this way! These days, those social media stuffs helped a lot in overcoming such issues! Bibs will be very open minded when she grows up, just like you said! So just relax and enjoy (^^)

jaraad said...

About your daughter I think she will value the opportunity that made here know people from different backgrounds, at least when she grow up. I believe it will build a confident personality. Facebook is my favorite I never thought I can reconnect with friends I had not talked to more than 10 years.
I visited Ma'In (ماعين) once back in the 90s. It is nice to see a waterfall in an arid desert.

Ulrike, Dubai said...

Oh, I know what you're saying. Until last year, we where always the ones leaving and although difficult for our daughter, there are always new things to look forward to, making the move easier. Last year her three best friends all left within a month of each other, leaving her so lonely and so sad. It is a year later now and she still has not really recovered and we are now letting her change schools in the hope that she will find new different people to make friends with.
It's just one of those expat things, I suppose. Most aspects are hugely beneficial, but occasionally you hit a wall and it's upsetting - saying that, I am sure back home, wherever that is now, there would have been other problems and more so.
I still think living an international expat life exposed to different nationalities, religions and cultures can only be good for them! Enjoy!

kinzi said...

B3, I am so feeling with you!! It is the scourge of the expat life - you go deep fast then have to let go.

Keep your heart open, but try and hook your heart to those who will stay as long as you do. I'm a long term American expat in Amman, when I get back to the fair desert land let's share some time and talk :)

Elisa, Croatia said...

I sort of had the childhood of an army child (ie: my dad's job involved alot of traveling within the states). I remember when I was in 7th grade We moved from Arizona to Virginia to Illinois then Texas. I was a shy girl, not putting much effort into making friendships when a month later we would have to say goodbye. So when I was in High School 1oth grade. I told my parents I wanted to graduate with my class, that I was tired of traveling..they agreed and I was left in care of an Aunt while they continued to move around. But moving around had it's advantages as well don't get me wrong. I got to see the States, national parks, and it taught me something very important: adaptability, I'm a chameleon! Look at me now!LOL

so what I'm trying to say is this: you are offering your daughter the world,different cultures and experiences. She will decide when she is older which country she likes best etc..

Until now I have always thanked my parents for keeping the family together and never have made them feel guilty for their decision to travel so much.

Scoop said...

I had the same concerns when we moved to Angola three years ago, about my kids being negatively impacted by the loss of new friends moving on. But here's what has happened. Yes, they do miss the friends for a short time after they move away, but they very quickly adapt and make new friends to replace the old ones. Even my teenager has done this. It has not been hard at all, and they have kept in touch with some of the ones who've moved on. It's harder for adults, I think, to lose friends! But you are right, it is easier to keep in touch these days.

All in all, the expat life is an incredible opportunity to make lots of friends from all over the world. Some you will keep in touch with, some you won't. But your lives will be enriched by having had so many friendships.

Babs said...

@ Haitham, Oh don't get me wrong I do enjoy! But since I have become a mum, I do think about these things! It wouldn't even have crossed my mind before how my future kids could feel... I guess I am growing up! Gosh, maybe I am adult?!?

@ Jaraad, I agree Facebook is fab! I am in touch with people I have seen since I left high school! It does make the world much smaller. I love Ma'In. it's a lovely & peaceful place!

Babs said...

Ulrike, that's exactly what I am thinking about! I hope your daughter will make some really good friends in her new school. It's the first thing, that I really find difficult, well it's more the thought I find difficult! And yes at "home" there would be some other upsetting things...

Kinzi, please do get in touch! Would love to talk :)

Babs said...

Elisa! You got to move around a lot... I agree with you, one day she'll tell us what she wants to do and where she wants to go! but fortunately I have a little bit of years in front of me :) says the selfish mum! lol

Scoop, am glad to read that! Also good to know that I am not the only to worry about those kind of things! Once again enjoy your holidays back home and good shopping!

fischerstella@hotmailcom said...

Dear Babs,

I am Stella, I wrote you a few weeks ago ( We were in Sri Lanka), My partner has a 2 year assignement in Jordan and we are planning to arrive in Amman by the end of september...
I am packing luggages and preparing the airfreight, please would you advise us on items we don't find or hardly in Jordan, ( except saucisson and foie gras) especially I have a 14 months baby girl Juliet..
I don't know yet exactly were we will leave in Amman !
Regards, Hope I will meet you when I will be there !

Babs said...

Hi Stella, I started to write you an email, but then realised that i couldn't send it - my brain is not that engaged tonite! Can you write me a mail so i'll get back to you? - See ya!
ha! and you can get saucisson here :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Babs-

I also grew up mobile in a military family- from birth until I was about 14. Probably the hardest move was the last one when we "went civilian" and moved to a permanent home.

While your concerns are valid, and I can certainly relate to them, I would overall not trade the life I had growing up for a more "stable" one. The benefits (a large and diverse circle of friends, seeing various places, comfort with travel and transition, and many others) outweighed the costs for me.

And that was WITHOUT the benefits that current technology offers for maintaining contact and relationships. I think you're doing just fine by Bibs :)

As an aside, I had my son in Jordan in 2009 when he was five. My wife and girls stayed home, but we had a fabulous time and I think he was ready to relocate in a heartbeat :)

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