Four and a Pizza Pie

ladies pizzaAmong expats ’tis the season, not for tidings and joy, but for leaving parties and gifts, frantic last-minute quests and excuses for daytime drinking. Well, more excuses anyway. June is a tough month for expats. June is packing and wrapping and scrambling and crying and toasting and second-guessing and trying to suck in giant gulps of air to keep you upright.

June is a month full of goodbyes.

Not too long ago my husband and I sat down to confront the eventuality of leaving ourselves. Though we are still firmly on the hosting and attending side of the fence, if I’ve learned anything in the last eight years, it’s that mental preparation is half the battle. At some point the eventualities turn into possibilities and the possibilities morph into certainties, usually the day after you book a long-haul flight or fork over half a year’s tuition. But in the throes of hashing out the pros and cons of staying vs. going, conversing about how hard it will be to set up camp somewhere else and say goodbye to a damn good life, a life which gets harder to leave every additional year we stay, we boiled it down to this:

As long as the four of us are together and there’s decent pizza, we’ll make it work.

Because at the end of the day, what more do you really need?

It’s not easy. Several good friends have been struggling with repatriation or new country postings. Several more are already anxious at how they’ll handle it in a few weeks themselves. But as they make the list of pros and cons, of fears and anxieties, I say the same.

As long as you have your family and a deep-dish, it will be ok.

pizza pieYou’ll be ok. You’ll make it work.

It may take a while. It will probably take a while. In fact, I’d be surprised if it didn’t–it should. Settling into a new place or re-settling into an old place, which can be just as foreign and intimidating as a new one, isn’t easy. There will probably be a lot of tears. Some resentment. An argument or twenty. A lot of second-guessing. That old bugger hindsight will come into sharp focus.

But have faith that as long as you’re together, you’ll figure out how to make it work.

You’ve slogged this road before. You’ve thought it out. You’ve run the numbers, listed the pros, calculated the cons. You’ve looked at it from every different angle and sideways. You’ll be ok.

Maybe you underestimated how different it would be, or how difficult. Maybe it’s not going to be the best country you ever lived in or the nicest house. Maybe you’ll need to hire a tutor for you kids to catch up or maybe your kids will be ahead and lose some of their momentum in the place you’re going. Maybe you won’t have the same friends you had before you left to go away. Maybe you’re going to miss the place and people you left behind.

You’ll be ok.

Because as long as you’re together and you can get a decent slice of pepperoni, it means there’s something normal and right in the world. And sometimes that’s all you need, just a little, tiny bit of normal and right to hang on to.

Maybe this move isn’t going to be the one that pays off the mortgage or sends your career into the stratosphere. Maybe the commute’s going to suck. Maybe the school will suck or the weather or the driving or the lack of decent black beans. But you’ll be ok. Because, pizza.

You’ll make it work. You’ll find a school. Maybe it won’t be a perfect fit. Maybe your kids will be behind or be ahead. But it’s ok, because they’re there with you. You’ll find a house. Maybe the bedrooms will be too small or your landlord will be a dick. But the roof will cover all of you. You’ll make friends. They may not be as good as the ones you made in the last place, but that just means you made some great ones that will always be there. You’ll be able to drive from your house to Ikea and back again without consulting the GPS. And rest assured, Ikea has the same stuff wherever you are.

pizza placeIt might not be pretty and neat, but you’ll figure it out. You’ll figure out what the important things are, like the thickness of the pie crust and the sauce to cheese ratio.

To those of you leaving, those of you who recently left, you’ll be fine, I promise. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow or even next week or next month, but you will: because you’ve already got 95% of what you need to make it work right there with you.

You just need to find the pizza place.

 

 

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8 thoughts on “Four and a Pizza Pie

  1. A Girl with Geography June 6, 2016 / 12:33 pm

    You ‘ll be fine, it gets easier once you do it again and again 🙂 You are stronger than you think, and for the kids it could be a great experience as well: if nothing more, it will teach them to embrace the change and not to be afraid of it in their adult lives. Change is always scary, but think about it; have you ever regretted changing anything in retrospect?

    Like

    • Dina Honour June 6, 2016 / 5:07 pm

      Not us this time, though it will be at some point. But your points are all spot on. Usually it’s the things you don’t do you regret, not the ones you do!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Anonymous June 6, 2016 / 3:35 pm

    So right….

    Like

  3. Carmen June 6, 2016 / 10:19 pm

    I moved four times in the last six years and each time, I felt like I was doing it for the first time. It’s tough and I bitch all the time while packing. But part of the charm of moving is the chance to reinvent myself and at the same time, stay true to myself. It’s truly a journey!

    Like

    • Dina Honour June 13, 2016 / 5:36 pm

      You are right and it took me a long time to admit it, but it’s definitely the best decision we made for us. But moving sucks. Big time.

      Like

  4. Kelly Y. June 7, 2016 / 12:12 am

    I’m on the leaving end this month and struggling…..but you’re right. It will be ok eventually. And there will be good pizza where we’re going. We’re returning to the US which is so, so much harder in so many ways. Easier though in some ways. We’ll work it out though. Thanks for this reminder!

    Like

    • Dina Honour June 7, 2016 / 7:39 am

      Good luck! I don’t want to gloss over the difficulties, because they are many and varied (and I think you’re right, repatriating is in some ways even more difficult), just trying to offer some words of encouragement for down the road. 🙂

      Like

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