I got a call from a really good friend of ours to tell me that he & his family are moving to London for 2-3 years. Evidently his recent visit over here with us inspired him to take on an adventure of his own.
This got me thinking about our life and what we’re up to. One of the things I’m afraid of by being here in LA as the kids get older is their desire to stay–as we get older and want to go home they get older and want to stay. Heaven forbid they’ll want to buy a house here and settle down. Especially with access to Hollywood they could be “stuck” here if they choose to be in the Entertainment Industry for example. I know, how lucky they are to be here and have access to contacts they would never dream of living in Australia (much like we never did!). Also choosing to work in the industry as an option makes them extremely lucky.
But there’s that element of “control” to take the family back as one cohesive unit so we stay together. My kids and I missed not having my family around as they chose to go back to Wales and I chose to stay in Australia (and Shanghai & LA as it turns out). I want to be close to my family and babysit my grandchildren (… just had to pause as I said something like that out loud so soon in my life) when the time comes.
Back to my friend. He has grown up in the same Australian city: gone to school, married, worked and started a family there. He recently also bought a beach house so his roots were firmly entrenched where he was.
Success–and an adventurous spirit–can move you to a different part of the globe regardless of whether you’ve moved as family through various expat assignments or stayed in the one spot your entire life. Perhaps I need to focus on what’s best for us all in the moment rather than plan ahead to something that may or may not happen.
And should it be that my kids get the opportunity to move and travel for work then I should actually be the one person who is happiest for them because I know how rich their life will be as a result. Of all people I should recognise how lucky they are to be gifted the opportunity–and how lucky they are to share that experience with their kids.
xx It Started in LA xx
(Who knows where it will end but what a ride.)
As you know I grew up with the expat experience, and my parents continued to move after we left PNG. Along the way they left children behind in various places or we made moves of our own. The four ‘children’ have not all lived in the same country as each other for about 22years (and not in the same town/city since I started boarding school all those years ago) and H and I have never been in the same town as our parents, and not in the same country as them for about 16 years. (And H and I live on opposite sides of the country!)
However my mum and dad are a big part of my life and my children’s life in a very real way because they have chosen to be. Mum has been either in the delivery suite or at home with toddlers for the births of all my children. She has helped me move house, been here for first days of school, and visited enough that she knows all the teachers and many of the parents on the playground at school. So leaving your kids behind as you move doesn’t have to preclude all of those things. It just means that you need to be able to afford to travel!
It’s pretty hard to stay still after you’ve tasted expat life! Thanks for sharing, despite “living together” for two years I can’t recall meeting her. That feels so bad. She sounds wonderful and I hope to do the same for my two one day when (god forbid) we live in different sides of the world. Better keep accumulating frequent flyer points!
Don’t feel bad that you don’t remember whether you met mum – the chances are that you didn’t! We used to fly to Australia on our own, check into hotels and then school on our own. At the ages of 11 and 12. (Which amazes me now when I look at my own children!)
And yes – frequent flyer points are our friend!