You see, it’s time for that kind of post.
Not the kind where you tell everyone you’re moving on to another expatriate experience, although there were a couple of times over the past two years where we came awfully close to doing so.
This is ‘the tipping post’.
Husband, Son, Daughter and I are repatriating back to the US.
Yeah, it still takes me by surprise, too.
I know there will be questions - heck, even I have lots of questions – and I’ll try to answer them in a series of posts in the days ahead.
And for the record, believe me, I understand the delicious sense of irony in someone who has been blogging less than usual in recent months preparing to write a tipping post and suddenly coming up with a long list of posts to help fill in the blanks.
But for now, I’ll leave you with this:
The reasons why are several, but none more pressing than my father’s terminal cancer. As we found ourselves discussing the decision to repatriate, tossing it around gently as if it were a sea shell, holding it up to the light and examining every crevice and smooth surface, the sense of urgency has certainly been heightened by his condition. It isn’t good, and won’t get better. We need to be there for him, for my mother. We are in a race against time to get there, a race I am determined to win.
In expat terms that means we’ve completely thrown the repatriation handbook out the window. What I always envisioned would be a nice, leisurely, yearlong period of deliberate planning and careful preparation is gone. Just like that. Poof.
It’s been replaced by long days of lists and tasks and decisions, and late nights of worry and what-ifs and semi-panic as we try to do in a few weeks what rightfully takes a few months.
The book? Finally done, beautifully edited by Saint Jane Dean, the fabulous layout design completed by Lisa Hall of Lemonberry, and sent off to print yesterday by esteemed expat publisher, Jo Parfitt of Summertime Publishing.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, I can tell you it takes a village to get a book ready for publication, and it takes an extraordinarily dedicated ’A team’ to support someone – an author – in getting it finished so they can leave abruptly. They’ve gone far above and well beyond, with firmness, focus and grace. They have made me an author, and believe me, there is no greater gift you can give a writer.
As for the blog, of course it will continue. Was there really any thought I’d have less to say in future days? So much to share on preparing to leave, transitioning, landing, building a new life.
I’m well aware repatriation is often as difficult as other moves across culture – if not more so, in certain respects – precisely because people don’t necessarily expect it to be. But we’re cognizant of how much we’ve changed, and been changed by our experiences abroad, and we know others ‘back home’ have changed as well. We’re not going back to a previous life, we’re moving forward into a new one.
Career? Yes, there will be some tweaks there as well. For one, I’ve finished the labor of love which has consumed my spare time and attention – as life developments would allow – over the past two years. I’m giving considerable thought to my next writing project(s), and while I haven’t locked in on all of them yet, I can tell you they will be squarely in the fiction camp. There are also some other interesting things on the horizon which I’m not yet at liberty to discuss, but will share when I can.
Expat life? That, too, remains an open book. Husband’s and my work will remain firmly in the international arena, and we fully expect to head overseas for travel, extended stays and even relocation in the years ahead. We’re building a home base from which to explore and go forth, something Ruth Van Reken wisely once counseled me would be of enormous value and benefit. (The full story’s in the book.)
So there you go. The ‘R word’ has entered my family’s lexicon. We’re up to our eyeballs in it, and will be for some time to come. Hope you come along for the ride.