There comes a time in every expat’s life when you start to question your decision about leaving ‘home’ (however abstract that is of a concept). Perhaps not at first when you still love everything new and are ready for adventure after arriving in a new host country. But then after a while, you slowly start to compare new to the comforts of old (why are people here so nice/rude/rushed/different from what I am used to? Where are my baby carrots that I need for my weekly dose of hummus which I also can’t seem to find?!).
Of course, not every expat has those life pondering questions at every post but once you add children to the mix, my expat friends and I start questioning our decisions to uproot and move more often than our friends and family who stayed behind might believe.
Raising global nomads has, of course, its many, many upsides and introduces them to simply wonderful opportunities while exposing them to different ideologies first hand. They get to experience it all – the joys and frustrations of navigating foreign land and unfamiliar customs, trying new foods, and finding their little niche to call home.
On the flip side – our global children have to experience it all. Whether they like it or not. Without much say in the matter, we (well, usually a higher power, let’s be honest) decides where and when we move again and then they are left to their own devices to figure out a new life, to try to fit in again, and to make new friends again. Of course they are not completely on their own as we firmly stand behind them helping them as much as we can every step of the way. But, in all honesty, it’s not that easy.
Our kids are old enough now to know they live far from “home” (wherever that is in their little minds) and, more importantly, they know that good friends are not easy to come by. Sure they have made friends at school, have a great group of kids in the neighbourhood with whom they play, but real friends, they know, are so hard to come by.
And yes, they laugh and play with their friends here in Mongolia but you know what I had been missing so dearly for the past year since we’ve lived here?
You know, those deep, “real” laughs that come from deep in the belly – those that make you just want to join in on the giggling fun because the excitement is so real.
Oh, those big belly laughs.
I missed those among kids who clearly adore each other and who need only a second after not seeing each other for a year to reconnect and share those big belly laughs.
Fortunately, the kids (and us!) found their belly laughs in Paris this year, at the end of our European vacation, when they were reunited with their best of friends Olo and Zaki (and we reunited with their parents – who are so awesome that they not only book a babysitter for one of the nights but also manage to get some of the hottest reservations in Paris for an unforgettable dining experience! Yes, they rock!).
Oh what a fun time it was.
What did we do? Well, we focused on the important things in Paris like parks and food (who needs to go up the Eiffeltower when you can use that time to sail boats in the Luxembourg Garden or eat at amazing little bistros?).
Our visit overlapped with the very important EuroCup game of Portugal vs. Poland. Of course, we rooted with Kasia for her home country. There was much excitement in the air.
It’s a good thing we made up for the defeat by heading to the nearby Jardin d’Acclimation for lots of fun time for everyone. Seriously, can the kids smile any wider?
But not before scheduling another reunion to continue those big belly laughs. I can’t wait to hear them the next time in a place still to be determined.