A family of six comes with all types. I have a husband and a daughter who are superb planners. When confronted with a deadline three months away, they have the ability to instantly backtrack a project start date that makes allowances for events like hurricanes, tsunamis, and as yet unprecedented breakdowns in infrastructure. I also have a son who is a procrastinator.
I am a mother. And an expat.
I'm also a wife, and a writer, I like to dabble in art, I'm a bookworm, and lately I've obsessively worked on my forehand in tennis, but those two - mother and expat - seem to define me more than anything else. However, I'm not just an expat and a mother. I'm an Expat Mother. Combining the two doesn't just add up like one plus one, it creates a whole new dimension of motherhood.
When you've lived in several countries, you tend to gobble up new traditions, Our four children are a good example when it comes to Christmas and all the German traditions we celebrate. As I often get questions as to how these traditions actually work, I thought I'd elaborate in more detail. Also, this gives me a chance to vent just a teensy bit about my Christmas-induced stress levels.
There are hardships for expat children. But has anyone ever stopped to look at the one HUGE upside? They get to celebrate every holiday tradition they've ever come in contact with on all their travels. I know this, because I'm one of the elves (also known as mothers) working tirelessly behind the scenes to make it all come together.
The house was a whirlwind of activity. I was running around like crazy directing and rescuing items from disappearing in the container (not diligently enough, it turns out, but that is a topic for another blog post), and then, opening the door to one of the kids' rooms, I witnessed a sight almost forgotten at our house: The kids were playing Monopoly together.
Moving is always a lot of work. Moving internationally is even more work. And moving day is the day when most of all that work seems to come together all in one instant. Sometimes, the weight of it all cannot be expressed and is easier to appreciate in pictures than in words. Here is my moving day - or rather, a series of moving days spanning years - in pictures.
"The Problem with you, Mom, is that you always have to have the last word." Excuse me? A teenager was accusing ME of having the last word, when there isn't a teenager in this family, or possibly the entire world, who doesn't ALWAYS have the last word? I was sitting at the dinner table, stunned at my recent and utter defeat at the hands of my four glowering children.
When I flew to America in 1983, It was my first trip outside of Europe. We had traveled quite a bit throughout Europe as children but the day my 16-year old self said good-bye to my parents in Frankfurt, Germany, not to set eyes on them for the next entire year, was the first time I would leave its boundaries. It was also the very first time I would travel on an airplane, an absolute novelty.
It's late in the day on January 1st 2014, and I find myself with absolutely no New Year's resolutions. Other than perhaps finishing this blog post in the next three hours so that it will actually appear on January 1st. Instead of looking at the new year and setting all sorts of goals, I thought it might be more fun to look back at the old one and come up with some statistics for you.
Not much in today's world is more universally reviled or at least complained about. Almost everyone who has one usually agrees that they are a pain. It's the one topic Bashar al-Assad and President Obama would likely find much in common about. Even though Assad doesn't quite have one yet. I'm talking about teenagers of course.