Having it All?

 

 

an-inland-sea

 

 

 

Sometimes I need to remind myself why I live in an Outpost.

 

Because I’m married.

 

And I’m thoroughly married. My status underlined by my geography. No escape. He is my bread and butter, my only adult company; provider of grownup conversation. My sanity. Sometimes. (Though there are occasions when he tests it sorely). Apart from Hat, he’s all I’ve got when Outpost bound.  I live in a place that distils my marriage; no small shots to dilute the mighty Maritalstatus (I tick that box with bold black pen) measures I must imbibe.

 

God knows, I don’t want to live here.

 

But I do want to stay married.

 

Which is why I Do – do you take this man to be your lawful wedded husband: I Do. Live here.

 

I bore out a mental tussle that raged for weeks and then I succumbed to what I thought was the Right Thing To Do. (I do, I do: how many times must I say it?)


And because I was a bit afraid that if I did not come, if I did not live With him, I might grow too used to living Without him. As indeed he might grow too used to living Without me.  (I also feared he might meet somebody else and fall in love all over again in that stereotypical way men of a certain age are supposed to. And then I got here and realized – given the dearth of female company I can pick from for a laugh over a shared bottle of Chablis – that that was probably an empty threat.  Too late, though, I was already ensconced: Mrs R firmly in residence).

 

Some people are good at staying married whilst remaining apart.

 

I’m not. Possibly because I’m not very brave. Possibly because I’m a mite old fashioned (Until Death Do Us Part? I Do, I Do).

 

Mainly because I have been with this man since I was 22; I have grown too used to his being there. Here.

 

I consider that my life now – the one I have opted for in lieu of regular contact with my children, my friends, the job I used to think I had – must fly in the face of what our bra-burning sisters of yesterday fought for: emancipation from male dictate.  Am I anathema to the liberation they battled for? I cook for him, I run a home for him because he’s the kind of bloke who enjoys a home with kids and cats and fat Labradors slumped on floors, I entertain his tobacco growing, beer-drinking colleagues and sometimes I bite my tongue when they ask me how I find life here (sometimes, not always: I’m married, remember, not mute). I try to remember to consider my reflection in the mirror; I try to remember that it is not just me that sees the face that scowls back (and so I drag on some lippie). I try to smile when he comes home. I open a beer for him (and one for me too) and I relate my day.

 

And I try – I really, really try – not to complain.

 

Having It All is the stuff of myths and legends and media-hype.  Didn’t your mother ever tell you? You can’t have everything.

 

I couldn’t. I couldn’t Have it All: all my darling babies close enough to tuck up every night, all my friends near enough to laugh with regularly, my husband in a job that paid all the bills.

 

So I had to choose.

 

I rationalized that my older children were probably – and certainly will be soon – ready to disentangle themselves from my long and knotty apron strings. I looked at Hat and I wondered, ‘Will you be OK, away from your peers?’ And I thought, ‘perhaps for now, you will be; perhaps for now a room of your own and regular walks on a dam with your dad are more important’. I asked Mum, ‘What shall I do?’ Mum, who lost my father when she was the age I am now. ‘Go with him’, she urged. Nobody ever asked her; Fate just snatched him away.  And I thought of both my grandmothers who followed their men to India and to Africa and I remembered the adventures they enjoyed (and doubtless the ones they endured too), adventures they collated as stories which they told to the wide-eyed, awed audience they had in a small grand-daughter.

 

So I realized I couldn’t Have It All. I could only Have a Bit of it. And I weighed it all up in my head and on the pages of my diary, frantic sideways scratching, testimony to my ragged thoughts and sleepless nights.  And I found places for the big kids in boarding school and I learned what was necessary to educate a child in the bush and I ignored the perplexed expressions of some of my friends.

 

And I told my husband, ‘I’ll join you’.

 

And so now, now on days when my home morphs from Outpost to Bloodyeffinoutpost, I remind myself that my big kids calls me less often than they used to, (and that’s a good thing I tell myself in trying-to-be-grownup tones), that I can hear Hat scream with laughter when she swims with her dad in the evening. That real school can probably wait. That I can collect adventures of inland seas and long drives and memories of Hat singing All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth on the back seat. That two years ago I couldn’t pay my bills.

 

And mostly that my mum was right: that usually you can’t have everything, not all at the same time. 

 

And so I lipstick on a smile.  And I tell myself, ‘Just Give it Your All Girl. For now just try to Give it Your All’.

   

hat-and-her-reflection

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49 Responses to “Having it All?”

  1. Rob (Inukshuk Adventure) Says:

    I think we can have it all, if we want it all. Just not all at the same once, but over time we can build up the memories of the bits and at some point we will have had it all. If not that, then we might readjust, rethink all to fit the now, then hey presto, it’s all here.

    Just feeling more expat tonight than usual – I miss people from there and there and bits of life from places far away. I like here (not love), marking time, but will want to move on to a new, more loved there before long. Perhaps there will be all that. Yeah, perhaps. For now we are here together and he completes me so that with the memories of them and there and here and now and of course perhaps, then I do have it all.

  2. kitschen pink Says:

    This is serious stuff. I know that. I know that when you’re in the midst of things it’s much much harder than planning or retrospect. That the reality of coping with drudgery or boredom or loneliness is far greater a trial than the busyness of a working world. But I can’t help but wonder – how does your lippie cope in the outback -I know how mine goes if I leave it in the car on a sunny day – and that doesn’t get beyond around 37 degrees. So your lippie must be hysterical -one inadvertent swipe and the whole tube would be across your chops! That’s what was making me really wonder. For the rest, I have no ability to take on board the scale of it all. I rarely leave the county let alone travel the world. I just wish I could pop over for a chablis and a laugh, which is all I think you need today. t.xxx
    (is that ‘possibly related posts’ a new feature ? What a hoot – a computer that sounds slightly senile! Might not be related posts at all but, well, whatever!)
    (double thinks – maybe you keep your lippie in the fridge with the Chablis? good plan.)

  3. kitschen pink Says:

    oops! Sorry – I know you’re at the outpost not the outback! It’s just the beautiful boy has a current obsession with all things australia so it’s a bit front of mind – I’m trying to indulge so that it’s a passing phase – heaven forbid he plans to go live there one day!!! t.x

  4. choppysunflower Says:

    You very consciously made a choice for something you could not even imagine what it was like. You are a women of honor and loyalty, so you stay and fight your way through it. You don’t complain, you merely observe and tell us what it is like.

    Many of us could not do it. Nor would we so consciously have made the choice. The fact that you can stay and do without, says a lot about you. It speaks highly of your ability to endure.

    Of course, we can’t have it all. We have little bits of some things now and then. Not all of it all at once. I now have peace and quiet, but no husband. So be it.

    You are a voice of reason, don’t forget that. That’s quite an ability out there in the outpost.

  5. rosiero Says:

    I’m not sure what your husband’s work is and how long you plan to stay in Africa, so my comments may be useless. I think if you know you are only going to be there for a set time, it is easier to cope with, to enjoy the experience as one of a lifetime and then to plan for the return to home. But it sounds like you are there indefinitely. All I can suggest, if you can afford it, it to have a few long breaks sprinkled throughout the year – either visiting your older kids or returning home and visiting friends and family. That way you can have a bit of it all – a bit of civilisation interspersed with being in the outpost with your husband. From what you say about the competition, your husband won’t stray and your marriage will survive. He’ll probably appreciate you even more on your return. I wish I could be more helpful….. your frustration comes through thick and strong.

  6. lulu Says:

    You are so lucky to be with your soulmate. You must have lost your father when you were too young and know the fragility and value of being with the people you love. Your children will always respect that you worked at keeping your marriage at the top of the priority list when the going got tough and they are growing up….and Hat will always value what she has with her father, which presumably you may not have had…you are right, the older ones are slowly cutting tangled strings anyway, but you are teaching them how to be in loving relationships themselves and so to prove that your bond with the father of your children is still right up there is bloody brilliant. Well done you. Lx

  7. Retired Memsahib Says:

    You have perfectly highlighted the unfairness of gender throughout time. Your lucky husband does “have it all” while you have almost impossible choices to make just to “have a bit at a time”. There are undoubted advantages to living as you do. Your children have enjoyed the most wonderful childhood and have memories and experiences that they could never have had they grown up elsewhere.

    But, oh yes, there is a “but”. Why is it always the woman who has to make the sacrifices? Why are we always found wanting if we can’t remain immaculately turned out, smiling through the power cuts and still able to produce a gourmet meal at the drop of a hat when important men drop in out of the blue? (It always is men that drop in and, naturally, they’re important).

    I never found a satisfactory answer. If the mighty one loved his work too much to look for a post that would have been more comfortable for the rest of us, we just had to compromise. On some postings we accompanied on others, we didn’t. I discovered that, if I couldn’t have it all, I could certainly do it all. This isn’t a solution that would suit everyone and you do need to evolve a way of living two lives. I have a friend who is the wife of a navy officer and she says it’s the same for service wives. When the other half is away for prolonged periods, the wives develop a different pattern of living which can make them stronger and more independent in many ways.

    One of our more successful comproises consisted of the children and I spending the Easter and summer school holidays in Africa while my husband joined us at Christmas. This meant that there were never more that a couple of months without us all being together. The children enjoyed the beauty and benefits of an African life while also enjoying the stability of not being wrenched away from friends every so often. This compromise allowed all of us to have “most of it” and seemed much fairer to my feminist mind!

    Come what may, you’re doing a great job and I really hope you’re appreciated. Don’t forget to appreciate yourself, though!

  8. Potty Mummy Says:

    First off RM, you ARE brave. Never forget that. There are not many women out there who would have made the sacrifices you have, turned their back on the comforts that you have, because they know that it is The Right Thing.

    And secondly, it’s sad but true. For the majority of us (and by this I mean women but know that this covers some men too), Having It All is – and always has been – impossible. We kids ourselves, in our child-free 20’s that we can. How hard can it be, we think, to combine, marriage, children, a job, a great lifestyle, in a place we want to be in? Surely not that difficult…

    But then you have children. And it becomes apparant that men and women are (normally) hard-wired differently. You start to do the sums. The hours spent commuting. The time spent in meetings watching others posture when you know that you could have got through the agenda in 20% of the time and been on the tube home by now, to make it in time for the children’s bath. The fact that some-one else is there to watch first steps, wipe noses, share the good as well as the bad times. The pressured conversations with partners over who’s turn it is this time to cover when the children or carer is sick. The weekends spent cleaning, the frantic supermarket shopping trips.

    So, you decide to give the career a break, and concentrate on your family for a while.

    Of course, what no-one tells you that is that the domestic crap is still there – it’s just that you don’t get to share it any more, since it’s now your job… Which of course you have to do with a smile, or why bother?

    Sorry wittering on. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that from a very different location and situation I really do sympathise. But I comfort myself with the fact that this is The Right Thing. And it’s not for ever…

    Now, chablis anyone?

  9. nappy valley girl Says:

    RM, I think preserving your happy marriage IS the most important thing and I would do the same as you ahve. After all, you could be sitting in relative comfort somewhere else but missing your husband like hell and what would be the point?
    The other day my husband met the wife of a colleague. Colleague is about to go out to the US for a couple of years, a bit like us. But the wife is not going. She wants to concentrate on her own career (they are both doctors). To us (me and my husband) this seemed extraordinary. What a sacrifice to be parted for two years. But then, both of us know that life is short (both our mums died in their 50s). If you love someone, that is what’s important. Not Having It All.

  10. Bush Mummy Says:

    RM could you do a correspondance course? Learn a new language? Or study to be a teacher/doctor/vet/child psychologist/yoga teacher/jewellry designer? Or learn an instrument? You seem like an incredibly talented passionate and focussed woman. Could you not put these great strengths towards learning a new skill that could then be used in your immediate environment to make it more ‘yours’?

    You know the old saying – if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em..

    BM x

  11. guineapigmum Says:

    It sounds so hard. Even so, I would have done the same as you without too much hesitation. I would have stuffed my fingers in my ears if anyone tried to persuade me out of it. Even if meant moving to a Muslim country where western women don’t fit in with the culture, I’d have done it.

    The sabbatical strategy someone suggested further up sounds a good bet. Probably good for Hat, too. And as for a correspondence course, how about Open University? Of course it’s not the same as daily contact with People but you sound like you’re made of tuff stuff. Stick in there!

  12. Gillian Says:

    Hi Mem, You are doing what I have done when I have found myself in a hard, hard place. It’s a kind of meditative practice where you focus on the good aspects of where you are. You refresh your reasons for being there. You look at why it is best to stay the course. You keep this in front of you.

    When it is really, really hard, it is like clinging to a rope. And when it is worse, it is like I have been tied to the mast to stop from being washed overboard.

    It is wonderful to hear your love of family. How they must love you too. Mothers give their lives so their children may live. We give pieces of our lives for years… and years. I think that this is how life is passed through the generations.

    So, Mem, we love to share your bumpy lifeboat life. Endurance is so astonishing. No less so when there’s a bit of chablis and lippy in the lifeboat. (Which makes me wonder whether you have read the astonishing ‘Life of Pi’?)

  13. paradiselostintranslation Says:

    Doing the right thing doesn’t make it any easier but perhaps it helps us hang in there. Making the hard choice in the 1st place, in some ways, for me, was the easier bit. Living it day in day out is the tough part.
    I find, however much I love my other half, I have to battle the feelings of resentment towards him, at times, & the question left hanging in my mind “how can you accept this sacrifice I’m making so easily?” “how can you carry on, knowing I am miserable”, “wd you make the same sacrifice for me?”
    It’s at that moment that I have to remind myself that we chose together.

  14. Hadriana Says:

    How’s your writing going? I suspect that you’d really like to do it big time. You may not have certain things but those things can be a distraction…when you can pour your heart and soul into a writing project…Sorry not trying to preach…When I was in Egypt I missed my friends, having a status full stop, but I didn’t have children then and I think I was missing those!? You have a gift for writing. I’m sure we’d all like to read a book of yours. I know I do!

  15. QldDeb Says:

    It’s hard for you, but there are many blessings too. Your big kids are happy at their respective schools, learning to be their own people (sad for you, I know, mine’s doing the same), you and Hat are building such an amazing bond that just wouldn’t be possible in the busy city and you are living in a difficult and challenging place, but a place of such natural beauty, something that is being stripped from our world all the time.

    And you have a true partner, someone to make the choices for. I’m a bit envious of that, I have to be honest.

    The education you are giving to Hat is invaluable. She’s learning the way people did years ago, in the bosom of her family, safe and secure. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just different from the current “norm”.

    Hang in there, you’ve definitely done the right thing, it’ll be worth it in the long run.

  16. doglover Says:

    I don’t know whether this counts because I’m a man unlike most of your other readers, but I too have known a life where for twenty five years I couldn’t “have it all” because my wife was disabled and needed looking after. She died. And now I would so gladly have it all back again.

    I think that when the “poor-me’s” strike, the answer is to count one’s blessings. From your past blogs, I know that you do so. And your marvellous blogs now help me to do so, too!

  17. Mud Says:

    Beautifully written as always.

    We can’t have it all, we just need to try to pick the right bits and a strong marriage (and Hat!) as to be pretty far up the priority list.

    I can feel your loneliness and frustration – but you are incredible for sticking it out.

    Thinking of you.
    x

  18. Mom de Plume Says:

    Wow RM, you really bring out something profound in all of us. I want to say all the things the others have said… but they’ve said it, and it’s all true. I think definitely you should study. I am doing a degree through UNISA (www.unisa.ac.za) and the work that needs to be completed and the forum interaction with other students gives me definition to my days that I know I would go crazy with without. You and Hat could study side by side! Perhaps journalism, or English since they tie in with your writing… or something completely different… (also every October/November you would have to spend in the city to write your exams!) You have great strength of character to have made the right choice, even though it was not an easy one. Your husband is a very lucky man!

  19. Roberta Says:

    It took me a day or two to respond to this. Such profound thoughts you have!

    This morning, it came to me. Once, when I was going through a particularly difficult time with two small children – one overworked husband – and no life of my own, I wined incesently to my mother-in-law.

    Her advice? “Life happens in stages. There is a reason for everything! Sit back and enjoy it because this is TEMPORARY!”

    Perhaps her words will help you as they did me.

  20. Dumdad Says:

    Great post.

    I think we can have a lot but never “it all”.

    The grass is, of course, not greener on the other side of the fence, just a different shade.

    I’m an British expat and I miss pubs and friends and many things English. I considered working in the UK and elsewhere, returning home every month or so. But what would be the point of having a wife and family?

    We all of us have to look deep into our hearts and decide what we want.

    Crikey, I’m beginning to get serious and that won’t do! I should end this comment with a joke or a song but I can never remember jokes and my moment of vocal glory ended when my voice broke and my services were no longer required in the school choir.

  21. Janelle Says:

    hey anthea.really honest post. really. thanks. its brilliant writing. real. authentic. love always xx j

  22. Expat Mum Says:

    You don’t have to be in the middle of nowhere to think this. I joke that if I’m reincarnated I’m coming back as my husband!

  23. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Rob – we can have it all. But not all at the same time. we can miss the bits we don’t have for now and look forward to them later. I suppose that’s what drives us? Drive me, that’s for sure.

    oh kitschen i did laugh! right. here’s a mini lesson on lippie care in outPOST (!). First of all, one of those long skinny ones, not a fat job, and you only wind up the weeniest bit. i use one by clarins. keep it out of the sun. obviously. and yes, fridge is a good place when esp hot. like it is for imperative eye gel or else my eyes would look like they were checking in overweight for a long haul flight such as the bags that insist on hanging arond them. right. so wind up a wee bit, just milimeters and swipe. it’s taken time to perfect the art; i have broken off alot of hot sweaty lippies in my time. which has made me swear and try to poke broken bits back down the tube, never the same though. as to the chablis. hurry up, it’s nice and cold. like the lippie … x

    thank you Choppy. i wish i were as graceful as that. but i’m not. i do complain. i rant and shout and cry. i have tried doing that underwater, crying, as i swim but you can’t cry underwater. though you can swear. loudly. as loudly as you want. that helps.

    thank you rosiero: the for foreseeable. alas. but you are right. it’s on my To Do list for 2009 … get out more … x

    thank you lulu. i did ask them, the kids, i did ask them: i can live close to you at school so you don’t have to board or i can go live with dad in the bush, what do you think?” They thought they’d rather have us both in the one home. maybe for us. but i hope for them too. perhaps it was less complicated that way around.

  24. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    i think i am Retired Mem – appreciated. Mostly. There are days, though, obviously, when he might quite like it if i lived on the other side of the world! It’s not the unfairness that bothers me. Its my redudancy. So i need to address that. Hence new jam …

    Thanks Potty. Yes. The Right Thing To Do. It’s harder for me here because I can’t work like he can. But i couldn’t have conceived of sending him here on his own. That wouldn’t have been the right thing to do. Now stop wittering and hurry up and open that bottle! xx

    i know exactly what you mean nappy. I have a friend who refused to join her husband in dubai (hardly outpost!) preferring instead to stay close to where their children were at school. Their kids could have been moved. She could have joined her husband on a tremendous adventure. He could, since he’s on his own in a city full of singles, fall in love with somebody else. I think she ought to have thought about that.

  25. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Bush Mummy: thank you. That’s exactly what I’m going to do. Got myself booked onto a course for 2009. Scarey. An old bat returning to school briefly after more than 20 years. But exciting too. i hope it will give me something I can really get stuck into here. Something Hat and I can enjoy together too. will keep you posted … x

    Guineapigmum: funny, isn’t it, how what seems so obvious now didn’t a few weeks ago? Use the time to learn something new. Of course. I need a bit of a kickstart but I’m looking foward to it. At first it will mean engaging with others but then i’ll be on my own. But i hope it’ll be sufficiently absorbing to feel the absence of others less acutely. x

  26. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Gillian, i have, Life of Pi, and i loved it to bits. I’ve got lippie in my lifeboat, in the fridge with the chablis. and i’ve got Hat and i’ve got Husband. And when i’m being graceful and good and brave they are mostly very, very nice to me. So I’m lucky. I just don’t feel lucky ever day, that’s all! x

    oh paradise, am so with you there. We made this decision together too. but sometimes i think he forgets that it was a harder decision for me to make. we made it driving home from our second interview. it was still predawn dark and he said, ”shall we do it then?”. and i thought hard and took a deep breath and said, i remember it so well, ”ok. but i’m going to need alot of support”. sometimes i think he thought i meant just in the beginning. i didn’t. i meant for the duration …

  27. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    hello Hadriana. not very well actually, my writing. and yes, you’re right: that’s what i’d love to be doing. all the time. full time. and everybody said when i moved here, ”oh be marvellous for your writing”, but the thing is, in the absence of much change or movement, one grows a little dry and inspiration abandons you. and you become self absorbed which does not make for good writing. i’m trying. just not doing very well and i suppose that adds to frustration – before i moved here ideas and words flowed so easily.

    thank you QldDeb. It’s easy to forget those things – the precious time i have with Hat – in the eye of a ”god i feel sorry for myself” storm. instead too much time to think (which makes us go mad) and reduces me to angst and self doubt: am i really doing the right thing for her? and then you write words like that and i feel very much better, and more confidence in our decision. thank you x

  28. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    doglover, I’m really sorry about your wife. You’re right though: counting ones blessings is a good approach. Not always easy to do when you’re feeling bloody about life. but important. My mum taught me that: when my dad died, she told us, ”count your blessings”. that was hard. but they were there, the blessings: we had each other, he had felt no pain.

    thank you Mud xx I sound stronger on the page than i feel.

    thank you Mom d P. My course is beginning to sound like more and more of a good idea, mostly thanks to the support this blog generates, endorses it as valuable and not a housewifely indulgence. if that makes sense?

  29. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    “Life happens in stages. There is a reason for everything! Sit back and enjoy it because this is TEMPORARY!” Perfect, Roberta, perfect. I shall try, really try, to take that on board. Thank you x

    Oh please give us a song, Dumdad, please! And you’re right: it’s not just women who can’t have it all. Thanks for reading x

    JanellaBella xx your weekend looks beautiful.

    Expat Mum, that’d be novel wouldn’t it? what would be the best bits, do you suppose (being able to pee standing up on long car drives thru the bush for me rather than having to find a bush to squat behind!)

  30. francesca Says:

    Absolutely fantastic post. should be required reading before marriage.

  31. R. Sherman Says:

    Marvelous post, dear. It distills the meaning of marriage beyond the vows or contracts or notaries and vicars. It reminds us that marriage is something which happens in the soul; something all the make-believe stories can never capture.

    Cheers.

  32. Expat Mum Says:

    Easy. That would be coming in, having dinner with your family (but not having to plan or cook it), putting them to bed when you don’t have phone calls to make, not having a clue when their dental appointments are….. . Don’t get me started.

  33. Mozi Esme's Mommy Says:

    Look at it as love at its finest… The ultimate romance… It would make a fabulous movie someday.

  34. rosiero Says:

    You need cheering up. I have yet another award for you. You deserve it.

  35. val Says:

    I have just tagged you for a meme!

  36. ANN Says:

    Mmmm!! Complex issues and so well communicated. It seems to me that you cope extremely well and life is about being comfortable with who you are, not where you are or what you have. Your husband is a lucky man.

  37. Tessa Says:

    Yes. A husband. I do understand. Mine life, however, is the other way round. I’ve been uprooted from Africa now and the flower doesn’t seem to bloom anymore even though it is nutured and loved and cared for in every possible way. See, I met an Englishman way back when I was twenty and we married and he stayed in Africa for me. Mostly. Thirtysomething years later he felt strongly that he wanted to spend time in the gentle mellowness of his homeland, so we live in England now. He is happy and settled and busy. I spend most of the time in a fog of desperation, but I do paint and write and cook and fiddle-faddle about and try hard to stop myself drowning in that ocean of homesickness. You are far braver than I am and I’m in awe. Fantastic blog! I’m leading the cheers for you!

  38. Tessa Says:

    ‘Mine life’! Heh, it sounds so Bardish – good typo!

  39. trailing grouse Says:

    Hello, hello! I’ve not been around for a while, but a friend just sent me a link to this post because I was on the verge of moaning, and it’s her birthday. Crappy friend I am! Anyway, I wish we were taught that we should strive for everything, but not to expect to get it ‘all’. There’s really something to be said for being happy with what you have. It’s so hard though sometimes. I’m not sure why, but the grass always seems so lush just over there, just on the other side.

    It’s a wonderful post – so evocative and eloquent.

  40. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    thank you Francesca – and for reading.

    that’s very poetic Mr Sherman, lovely words; thank you.

    Yes Expat: but what about the peeing standing up?!

    ooooooooooh Mozi. I don’t know about that! Sometimes i think it sounds better on the page. Thanks though.

    rosiero: thank you, that’s very kind. It’s a very pretty award too. Funky colours. Hat would like that.

    Thank you too, Val. I shall have to put my thinking cap on …

  41. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    thank you. i don’t think he feels lucky every day! x

    hello Tessa. Thanks for dropping by. I had not considered my position from your perspective. there’s lots of things i’d miss were i uprooted to england. the space, the light, the enormous engulfing views, the cheerfulness of african greetings … fog of desperation. that’s a good phrase. i liked your paintings btw. wish i could paint. think that’s very clever to be able to do that. and yes … mine life … very bardish. perfect typo.

  42. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    hello trailing lovely to see you again. grass is always, always greener. and i agree: wish we werent expected to have it all. it’d make the feeling like a faint failure so much easier x

  43. doglover Says:

    Reluctant M – thanks for the sympathy, but that wasn’t what I was angling for. What I was trying to say, was that after she had died I realised that I HAD had it all!

  44. Pig in the Kitchen Says:

    A therapist once told me that ‘traditional’ marriages where the woman stays at home are often the ones that work best.

    I hate the thought of being ‘traditional’ (subtext ‘unliberated’), but we all have to assume our choices in life, and in my case 4 kids means I would have to have an incredible salary to cover the childcare! It is so hard being isolated from friends and away from your children, it is bound to throw up hard questions. But being parents who are still together is a huge gift to your children.

    Pigx

  45. Yazar Says:

    Terrific post. Having followed my DH to his homeland I can relate to your post in many many ways.
    Good writing
    Cathy

  46. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Thank you Cathy – what a fascinating life you must lead. i checked your blog out. thank you for dropping by.

  47. ali la loca Says:

    Yes. I agree, I understand.

    I wish I’d had this to read when we lived in our version of the Outback; I fear my attitude wasn’t nearly as good as yours.

    I’m married, and I DO. Wherever we go, I will follow. It is what I know is best for me.

  48. Working Mum Says:

    Thanks for visiting my Carnival post.

    Yours was very thought provoking and touching.

    I will be back to find out more in the future.
    WM x

  49. David Leventhal Says:

    Really solid post.

    I’m new to your blog found it b/c I’m considering taking a job with an NGO in Dar es Salaam & trying to research the heck out of it. Good reminder for me to recognize the enormous impact this move will have on my wife & four small kids – Texas to Tanzania is a long way. My wife & our youngest will be in Tanzania next week checking it out.

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