At the end of the emotional parenthesis – living in Expat Limbo

What happens when there is no end in sight.
Where do you see yourself in five years?

My father-in-law always asks us the same question when we see him. It’s part of the ritual. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? It’s not the first question. Usually. And it doesn’t necessarily come at the beginning of a visit. It may even take a few days to come up. But then, unsuspecting, when you’re in a brief moment of reverie after the kids have left the table and you linger in the quiet space – BAM. There it is. Soooo, where do you guys see yourself in five years? Guh. I don’t know? I don’t even know where I see myself next year. Continue reading “At the end of the emotional parenthesis – living in Expat Limbo”

My Circus, My Monkeys

From the minute we moved to Denmark in the depths of dark December, we were tempted with the dangling carrot of a beautiful Danish sommer. Just wait til summer, everyone said, it’s beautiful here. What no one told me and we are surely smack in the middle of discovering, is that despite the beauty beauty, everyone and their mother evacuates Denmark during summer. Or at least Copenhagen. Seriously. Where is everybody?

There are open parking spots in front of our building at all hours. Too bad I don’t have a car. Shops are closed with signs stating “Lukket uge 29, 30, 31.” Closed weeks 29 through 31. (I still have to look up dates on the Google for the numbered European week designations.) Everyone it seems, is on holiday. The Danes are on holiday, away at their summer hus near the water. It feels quiet around here. Everyone’s out, including my childrens’ new friends. Even our expat friends got the memo. Skip town during summer break.

And without friends around to engage kids on break, what it means for us is A LOT of familial togetherness. Great! How lucky for you! Um yeah. It is. Great. But as it turns out – we could each of us use a little break from all the togetherness. So while I will go ahead and post pretty pictures (because that is what fills my bucket) I wanted to share a wee bit of the reality behind them. The griping. The complaining. The picking on each other.The down right bitching. From afar it may seem grand and glorious and amazing this adventure we’re on. And it is. Or it should be. Or maybe it will be in retrospect. But right now, there are many things it is not.

It is not easy necessarily. Not easy to find things to engage disparately aged children. What your 9 year wants to do is seemingly abhorrent to a teenager. (What isn’t abhorrent to a teenager right now?) And vice versa. Without the ease of neighborhood friends at their beck and call, mom becomes the entertainer and ring leader. What interests me does not always interest them. And sometimes I feel like the whip-cracker rather than the clown. Do you know what I mean?

Feelings of guilt creep in – is the benefit of this experience worth the feelings of isolation in your children, especially the teenager? I know that other expatriated families have gone through similar scenarios, but it doesn’t always assuage the doubts. In my gut, I would make the decision to move again. And don’t worry. We will be fine. But I just wanted to balance the expectations of what this pretty expat life looks like with the reality. It isn’t always roses. But this is my circus and these are my monkeys. I love them. And this opportunity to try this Danish life. Even with all its thorns. Enjoy the pics (I enjoy taking them!) Cheers from Denmark – Erin

Love from Denmark
Love from Denmark