It’s Because Of Her – The Expat Wife


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In the blog’o’sphere community I move in, there is no shortage of expat tales and crazy stories out there about life as an expat and more specifically an expat wife.
By far the most memorable one I have read to date, has to be from Kirsty Rice at 4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle – The Expat WIfe. It is a great laugh for us ‘trailing spouses’ and it is a reality check for our significant others.
Laughter and fun times aside, there is a sad side to this expat life.  A side us wives see all to often yet perhaps don’t speak about all that much.
Generally the trailing wife is married to the travelling husband.
I have lost count of the number of stories I have heard from other expat mums who were ‘dropped off’ in a new country with their kids and pets in tow – only to be told later from hubby he is required on a plane first thing  thousands of miles in the opposite direction.
Find the hotel – check
Find food that the kids will eat – check
Find the favourite toy the baby will need to fall asleep – check
Find someone who speaks your language – check
Hire a car – check
Learn the road rules – ummm
Enrol the kids into school – check
Find a place to call home – check
Have all the utilities connected – check
Find a doctor – check
and if you are lucky, turn your attention onto yourself for a brief second and try to locate a hairdresser and waxing goddess – Lord knows 10 weeks in we are in desperate need of a little ‘tweaking’.
We do this over and over again, for us expat wives it is a bit like child birth – you know it’s painful but you always seem to go back for more and in all that craziness we realise the best thing we can do is remain constant and just, get on with the show.
Our degrees stayed packed in boxes from many moves ago.  
In some countries we are not even allowed our own bank accounts, and can only enter the country on our husbands working visa.  
Somewhere in the mist of all the moving we lost our way and our identity, but we never say anything out loud because we don’t want you to think that we are not supporting the ‘grand plan’.
Then, after twenty something years of marriage you tell us, you want a divorce, you have met someone new, so you will be moving onto another country without us and the kids.
Thankfully this is not my story.
It is sadly the stories of expat mums I know….and it is heart breaking to hear.
Stranded in another land, trying to understand what, when and maybe how did this all go so terribly wrong.
What continues to amaze me through all of this, these wives I have met, do not sit around talking badly about their spouses – remarkably they pick themselves up and dust themselves off and continue on with the journey.
While the direction may have altered it’s course and the company may have decreased by one, these strong women focus on the task at hand and do what they always do best – get on with the job.
Over the years, I have met some remarkably strong, courageous, amazing, wonderful expat women and I think I can safely say, yes they do breed us differently.

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