One of the things we have to get used to as expats is the fact that even during the rare periods of stability, there is always underlying uncertainty. No one ever knows when a new friend will be made by virtue of an expat family moving into the building, or when a good friend may suddenly announce her departure because of a sudden restructuring. Contracts mean very little in terms of length of stay, as they can always be extended, or a layoff or promotion may be just around the corner - as I have seen with at least 5 friends in the past year and a half.
We have now been here for 18 months and as Sonny mentioned in his post back in June, we have considered many possibilities about where we will go once our current two-year contract is up. It turns out that we still don’t know for sure. When you live on the company’s dime, you live by the company’s
whimsy time line – a small price to pay for the fabulous perks of living here. Still, we understand how this could be mildly annoying for many of our friends back home who have inquired about our more short-term plans in the hopes of getting together or planning for the holidays; and how nerve wracking it is for our families and especially our parents who are anxious to see Asha and get life back to “normal” (which would, for us, mean the “Everybody Loves Raymond” atmosphere of life in NJ). It has taken every bone of my type-A, anal-retentive, control freak body to not worry about what was going to happen at what time, to simply live life as though we are staying here until next summer, at least, and just soak up as much of Mexico as I possibly could.
It has been five months since I found I am pregnant. It has been 4.5 months since we told The Powers That Be (TPTB) at the company – even before our own parents – that we were pregnant and due the first week of February. We discussed with them that since I am due exactly one month before our contract expires, we either need to move by mid November, or need to stay until the end of April next year because of my and the baby’s travel restrictions.
And it has now been exactly one week since I have started freaking out. The “Ignorance is bliss” phase – where I was just enjoying either prospect of moving back to New Jersey or extending our contract in Mexico – ended in an abrupt moment at 3 am last week. Somehow until then it did not phase me that within the span of 2 months I was going to have to wrap up my life in here, including my obligations with the Newcomers Club, finish visiting all of the places I have wanted to see in Mexico, become conversant in Spanish (a personal goal to attain before leaving), make a trip to NJ to buy a house, actually find a house we like and can afford, close on the house, schedule movers, sell our cars and say goodbye to all my friends. All of this while being 6-7 months pregnant, trying to maintain some semblance of stability for Asha, and having Sonny traveling 15 days (that we know of) out of the next 60.
This is all assuming that we move back to New Jersey.
If we stay, I suppose life is a bit easier in that all I have to do is find a new apartment in Mexico City, schedule movers, actually move, make a trip to New Jersey to purchase new baby essentials and coordinate all our old baby items for shipment here, and finish visiting all of the places I have wanted to see in Mexico (because going on long road trips ain’t happening after my 7th month or with a newborn).
There is also the remote possibility that we could move someplace else across the globe. And while I hope that these are not the last of our expat days, right now, for the sake of sanity, I cannot even entertain the option of a third, unknown destination. New Jersey and Mexico City have been the only two serious contenders from a job perspective over the last few months, so I am mentally banking on one of those two working out. But as Forrest Gump said, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.”