Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wrapping Up Our Lives - Part Two

It was 20 months ago – almost to the day – when we started this blog to account for our first expat experience. And it was 20 months ago that the movers were packing up my house as I sat in my den blogging and pondering what it meant to wrap up our lives in NJ and move away from everything I know and love.

Well, I guess the old saying is true - the more things change, the more they stay the same – because here we are again, nearly two years later doing almost the exact same thing. My movers are packing up my apartment as I sit here pondering what it means to return home after one of the most worthwhile experiences of my life in another country and culture, away from family and friends and everything I love.

After months of uncertainty, we are finally on our way home to the U.S.

And while I am excited to be home for Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays, as well as the birth of the baby, I cannot ignore the moments of sadness that nearly overwhelm me at times. Pregnancy hormones aside, I am truly going to miss my life here, because I really did have a life here. This experience wasn’t just some long vacation or time-pass until we went home again. I was determined to make the most of my stay here and to feel at home, and that is just what I did.

Me - who hates change, finds it difficult to meet people and make friends, has a million food restrictions and isn’t always a glass-half-full kind of gal. I was able to create a good life here for myself – to make great friends, try new foods, experience and appreciate new customs and cultures, learn the roads, become President of a 300 member expat club and even (sometimes) handle the frustrations that come with Mexican life. It is not so easy to leave all that behind.

Not to mention the fact that we will never – and I mean never – live this well again. Even if we go expat again, I highly doubt that my apartment will be this big, that I will have a live-in maid who does everything from clean to cook to be a nanny, that I will be able to afford personal trainers and in-home masseuses, that I will be able to walk everywhere and live in a city atmosphere but still have the luxury of a car for when I am running late or need to go someplace far, that I will have a driver who does handy work around the house, goes to pay our bills, buys the groceries, runs all our errands, etc., etc. etc. Such is life in Latin America, and I doubt it can be duplicated anywhere else – perhaps not even Asia.

So why exactly are we leaving all this behind? Clearly, it is not the smartest lifestyle decision, and it is probably among the dumber financial decisions we could make.

But this is why we need to be home for now: Because when my Thanksgiving plans fell through at the last minute I emailed Sonny’s cousin to tell him – not ask him – that we would be coming to their house, increasing the guest count from 22 to 24. And within 45 seconds I got an email back, saying “do you really have to ask – just show up.”

Because my mom is rearranging her entire house for a room for Asha and giving Sonny and me the master bedroom until we find our own place. Because my in-laws are counting down the days until Asha gets home so they can drive her to and from school every day in order to help me out. Because Asha needs to know her cousins, and have steady friends and ride her bike outside. Because the baby needs to feel the same love and attention from her grandparents that Asha did from the day she was born, and to go to story time at the library and playgroup once a week, and be raised by a mother who cannot get away with letting the maid give her a bottle. Because our brothers miss us and our parents are healthy and we never know what the future holds.

5 comments:

Lisa said...

I've been reading your blog since my own expat experience began in August of 2007. Although we were in the north fo Mexico (Saltillo, Coahuila, not too far from Monterrey), I can relate to the joys, challenges, wonders, and frustrations of jumping into life in a new country.

We returned home to Minneapolis in April 2008, after just 8 months in Mexico with our two kids, ages 15 and 9. It was indeed a memorable experience, and a time of intense personal growth for all four of us. However, we did truly miss our friends, family, and all the comforts of being on your home turf.

I just want to say that I have laughed along with you and enjoyed the pictures of Asha. Please have a good journey home, and bask in the joy of all you have to look forward to in the upcoming months.

Best wishes,
Lisa

Lisa said...

I've been reading your blog since my own expat experience began in August of 2007. Although we were in the north fo Mexico (Saltillo, Coahuila, not too far from Monterrey), I can relate to the joys, challenges, wonders, and frustrations of jumping into life in a new country.

We returned home to Minneapolis in April 2008, after just 8 months in Mexico with our two kids, ages 15 and 9. It was indeed a memorable experience, and a time of intense personal growth for all four of us. However, we did truly miss our friends, family, and all the comforts of being on your home turf.

I just want to say that I have laughed along with you and enjoyed the pictures of Asha. Please have a good journey home, and bask in the joy of all you have to look forward to in the upcoming months.

Best wishes,
Lisa

Guera said...

Good luck with the move, Rupal. It does take a bit of adjustment getting back to the "real world" (I still haven't gotten used to having to clean my own house!).
The value of having family around for you and the kids is priceless, though. It's definitely worth it.

Brian said...

Greetings!

I've really enjoyed reading your blog, and was hoping you might be able to lend some perspective on something.

I will be joining the Foreign Service on Jan. 5, and am writing to inquire about life in Mexico City. I'm very much interested in possibly preffing the city high on my bid-list (assuming it is on the list), and am trying to get a feel for the security situation there, especially as it pertains to women. In your opinion, could my wife, a white 25 year old, who does not speak much Spanish, move about freely during the day without serious concern for her safety?

Thanks so much for any thoughts or advice you could lend. If you wouldn't mind, please respond to my gmail address: manning08@gmail.com

Sincerely,
Brian Manning
manning08@gmail.com

Steve Roll said...

Over the past few months I've really enjoyed reading your blog. Not only for the wonderful pictures, but also for the interesting insights about living in Mexico City.

Today, I've launched my own blog about traveling in Latin America. It's called Travelojos. Here is the link: http://travelojos.com/

Needless to say, I've added your blog to my blog roll. I was wondering if you might reciprocate.

Cheers,

Steve Roll