“When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.” Clifton Fadiman
When I realised I hadn’t spoken to another living soul except Miss Eight for two days, I got a jolt. What is going on? Sure enough, it has been a busy couple of months. Actually, I have been head down, bum up since September 2009, so a few weeks of less social interaction and time for a little inner reflection were in order.
It is easy to kid myself that I have a full and busy calendar when you spend time online. I chat to other bloggers, read and write comments, read the dailies, update my FaceBook, answer my emails – hell I am constantly talking in my head, there is just no sound for the outside world.
Normally, as an expat, I hit the ground running. Join the local groups, meet the mums at school, find my place among the other wives at Mr Dear Husband’s place of employment. But this time, it has been different. Germans keep their work and private lives separate. Never the two shall meet. There could be ‘other’ wives in the same boat… but I will never hear about it.
German mum’s don’t walk their kids to school… there is not a great deal of “let’s go for coffee” call. And to add fuel to the fire, because this is a small town, everybody knows everybody, and has done since kindergarten, leaving little room for ‘Lulus-come-lately’.
There is none of that: ‘Expat Wife + Bottle (or two) of Wine = Instant New Best Mate’.
As it stands, I also don’t need the usual level of support that happens in other countries. I speak the language, so no ‘Quick! Must sign up for Turkish/Hindi/Arabic course so I can tell off the Taxi drivers’. I can read the language, so shopping is not an issue. Many a friendship has been made over asking questions. “Where do I find ‘A Victorian Costume/Halloween Decorations/Christmas Decorations/Pork products/A new hose for my washing machine". All can be Googled.de
Mr Dear Husband returns from Upper Mongolia (or perhaps the moon) tonight. Might be time to talk to him about making the Madagascar office his permanent hang-out. So much for ‘finally settling down’.
This post could have had a completely different title:
Once a gypsy, always a gypsy.
“When my wife has nothing to do, it is like coming home, walking through the door and finding a pistol pointed at my head.” Mr Dear Husband