I'm sorry I've been slacking on the blog front recently- It was a busy week with working and two big birthdays and a christening. Major difference from my long days of unemployment and the Frasier addiction haha.
I've been thinking alot about family dynamics for expats. I read some expat blogs and it appears that they still have great family relationships and they call home every week and there are frequent trips home and they feel life isn't complete without their family right by their side. There are also some expats that are very aloof about their family and it doesn't seem to bother them to be so far away. I think I fall somewhere in the middle of the two. I'm definitely not calling home every week, but I still miss my family and think of them often. But at the same time I'm not heart broken to be so far away. I think out of all of them I miss hanging out with my sister the most- but its been years since we lived in the same state much less hemisphere so unfortunately I'm even getting used to that!
Anyways I was thinking today about the fear I had telling my parents I was moving out of the country and how it really polarized my relationship with my parents. I think this involves a little back story.
First and foremost if you havn't found me through my sister's blog then I would check it out here. Her story is much too lengthy and complicated for me to even put into words. Needless to say she moved to Brazil to live with her husband and it was a hard and stressful thing for everyone in our family (her the most obviously).
Well ok side tracked a little bit- James and I started dating early 2009 after years of friendship. We went on an amazing trip through Europe and James spent the month of August with me in the states. After all that time together and countless hours talking and emailing and putting time and effort into our relationship we realized this distance thing wasn't working for us. We loved being together too much and having the Atlantic Ocean between us sucked.
One day we were sitting down chatting about options for us- which basically was what kind of visa could I get, how much it would cost, how long it would take etc. Then marriage was casually mentioned in the "that's free and fast" kind of way. As soon as that word was mentioned we both knew. We had both known for a while that our relationship was only headed in one direction. At that point though we both agreed that while marriage was an option, it needed some serious thought. This was about 3 days before James left to go back to Ireland and we had no clue when the next time we would be able to see each other. By the end of those three days, even though the topic was never mentioned again- it was decided. The next time we talked after James got home we started planning a time line of when we would get married and when I would potentially move over. It was exciting, scary, overwhelming and thrilling all at the same time. We finally picked a date and purchased his ticket to the states for us to get married. The big plunge. I even went down to the court house and got our forms for the license and picked out a Justice of the Peace.
One thing I hadn't done was tell my folks. For some reason we decided that maybe we shouldn't tell anyone. Now looking back on it I can honestly say I have no idea why we thought that was a good idea. Fear? Most likely, but I couldn't tell you. Well a few weeks (actually days) into this poorly planned idea I realized how shitty that was of me. How could I not tell my family I was getting married? no matter that it was the smallest ceremony in the history of weddings- it was me getting married. So I decided to "drop the bomb" the getting married moving to another country bomb. Not an easy conversation.
I was living in Virginia with my mom at the time so it made the most sense to tell her first. I just couldn't seem to find a good time to get her by herself to tell her my plans. One night she had to make a late night trip to the drugstore and even though it was strange of me to go I leapt at the chance. As we are sitting in the car (while she was driving- probably not the best time to tell your mom something like that haha) and I feel like I have to puke I had one of those now or never moments. I started- "So, uh...Mom."
Me- "So- Uh- yeah. I have something I wanted to tell you."
Me- "So Uh- you know that Guy I've been dating James?"
Me- "Well uh so yeah so I'm moving to Ireland"
Mom- Oh...OH alright.
Me-.....(trying not to puke)
Me- Well here's the other thing. So uh, Yeah so. Yeah. So Uh yeah. You know. Yeah.
Me- So Yeah so we are getting married. " (as all the blood drains out of my face)
Mom- (long pause- still driving, very admirable) Wow- Well congratulations!
(ok so in reality I know I shocked the SHIT out of my mom. And I did it while she was operating heavy machinery. not cool i know.)
In the end I don't remember the rest of the car ride to the drug store. I remember babbling incoherently and Mom just kind of nodding along. I remember being nervous and upset and scared. I remember getting out of the car and Mom walking over to me and giving me a huge hug and telling me that she loved me and how happy she was for me. I know how hard that must have been for her to do and how grateful I am for her saying those words in that moment. It was one of the hardest things I had to do and it was nowhere near as hard as telling my dad. Which is a whole other blog post.
My mom and I have had our ups and downs- oh we still do. We drive each other insane. But all in all she has been very supportive of my move. Which means a lot. Its never easy being far away. I know its not easy for her to have both of her children living so far away- and so far away from each other. But it makes it so much better knowing that I can still call her and email her and cry and complain or tell her interesting stories and know there is no judgement. There is no sad voice on the other end of the phone, computer, letter saying I wish you were here. I know she misses me, but I also know shes happy for me. And that makes a world of difference.
Tomorrow I will try and post the second part of this way too long story on my mind!