Mad World

IMG_2014
Photo taken at Falling back to Earth (GOMA, Brisbane)

A couple of weekends ago, whilst driving to Bunnings (an Australian hardware superstore) on an emergency plumbing  mission, my iPod randomly started playing, Mad World* and I found myself on the side of the road gulping through heaving tears of overwhelmed exhaustion.

Enough!

The outburst, obviously necessary, lasted a short while and I soon pulled myself together enough to finish my journey and mission.  We now have a working washing machine, not to mention transformers for all our ‘asian plugs’, a high pressure hose, paint, glue and a compost bin for the back yard…my personal version of retail therapy!

Yes, finally, we have moved from our temporary accommodation into a place to call our own, at least for a little while.   Despite our best efforts and a close call, we didn’t find a home to buy. Then our ‘stuff’ arrived from Lao prompting the need for a quick decision so, for now, we are shacking up in a cheap and cheerful rental house with lots of bedrooms, creaky pipes and sloping floors and a possum living in the ceiling (though some nights I think perhaps it is an elephant or family of hippos hosting an all night rave up there).  

As it happens the place has a lovely energy about it, despite being old and full of ‘personality’.  We are on a quiet street with lots of lovely neighbours.  The kids now have scooters (even little Chilli) and spend hours cruising up and down the footpaths, to the park, shops, school… with me traipsing along behind carrying all the bags/ hats/ groceries… I am calling it ‘exercise’ rather than slavery!

It is five months since we found out our family was moving back to Australia.  Since then I have spent every waking moment, ‘in transition’, managing the practicalities as well as trying my best to guide my daughters through the emotional upheaval.  It has been tough and often very lonely. I have wondered more than once if this was the right thing to do (not that we really had a choice in the matter).

Well, I am done with all that now.  This is our new life. It is a very different life to the one we knew in Lao (Footpaths for goodness sake) but it is still interesting and privileged and full of opportunities for adventure.

It is time for me to get back to living… dreaming, growing and finding my fabulous!

I am going to start today with something completely frivolous and self indulgent… a long overdue visit to the hairdresser!

__________

Thanks for reading. Happy Fabulous.

Mad World by Tears for Fears

Advertisements

So that’s that then!

IMG_1919
191 pieces of ‘stuff’

It is done. Our life as we knew it is over. Two weeks ago we flew out of Wattay International Airport for what may be the last time.

The sound of packing tape retching across cardboard punctuated at least a week of my last month in Laos. Despite my best efforts to cull, our ridiculous amount of belongings have been wrapped and sealed into a 40 foot container that, at this moment, is floating somewhere out there in the Ocean.

While our ‘stuff’ makes its way towards us, we scramble to find a domicile to house it, and our family of five. Rent or buy, it is distinctly unlikely that we will actually be able to fit most of our belongings into our new abode, I foresee another cull on the horizon!

Leaving Vientiane was actually a lot more traumatic than I expected. The town itself had long since lost my affections. I was ready for the next adventure, but leaving the people who had we had come to know and love was awful.

We left in style – a big boozy party, several small boozy dinner’s, a few special boozy lunches…are you detecting a theme! There were laughs and tears and expressions of love and friendship. Nonetheless, these were goodbyes. I hate goodbyes. It was miserable.

I have moved, uplifted, changed and started fresh more times than I can remember. Moving and change seem to have always been a part of my life, particularly since I hooked up with G seventeen years ago. Yet this transition has been, and continues to be, the hardest I have ever faced.

Much of it has to do with the girls. They are in mourning for the only life they have ever known. They are desperately missing the only friends they have ever known. As young women, relationships and social networks are EVERYTHING to them. Taking that away has made me feel very guilty.

Watching our magnificent, brave girls farewell their school friends on the the last day was horrid. I made a complete tit of myself at each of the three farewell parties and spent much of the day unable to speak for fear of wailing. They had, still have, such beautiful friends, many of whom are the children of our own dear friends. The outpouring of love was overwhelming and humbling. I am so proud of daughters.

Leaving Bau, our nanny, almost tipped me over the edge.  We love her.  Chilli LOVES her.  Bau LOVES Chilli. When I paid her and bid her a safe ride home for the last time we both wept openly.  She was my friend and my sanity.  She was Chilli’s other mother. Every single day since we left, Chilli asks about Bau at least 10 times. Yesterday she climbed onto my lap, took my head in her tiny hands, looked me in the eyes and said, “I have missed Bau for really long time. We go home now, OK?”. I wish I could, sweet Chilli. For your sake, I wish I could!

She, and I, also miss Nam and Lung and Kek and Uoi, all of whom worked for us and all of whom hold a place in our collective hearts.

I can hear you all scoffing, “Whatever Lady, I bet you miss them. I would find it hard to say goodbye to my nanny and housekeeper and ironing lady and gardener, that must really suck… Bitch!”

Yes, YES, YES, yes, doing my own laundry is not pleasant but that isn’t really the problem. I miss them because they were good people and all our families were, for a time, a big part of each other lives.

G and I had friends too. People who enriched our lives. People who we will miss terribly. But it is easier with those other adult expatriates.  We all understand. We all have Facebook and email and Skype and the chance to maintain our friendships over distance. Those friendships, forged in Vientiane will continue to grow no matter where we all end up in this world.

Yet tears are still shed and I miss having those wonderful supportive people in my daily life!

At the moment it is hard. I have the kids in tow constantly, G is coming to terms with the demands of a new job, there is lots of paperwork, lots of major decisions to make at once (schools, car, house etc) and we are all suffering from a touch of reverse culture shock (shoes in the house, I don’t think so!) 

But after all is said and done, we are here in Brisvegas with a chance to start a new chapter.  We have so much to be thankful for and so much to look forward to. I am not sure how, but my gut tells me this is all part of my journey to FABULOUS!

_______________

Thanks for reading.

If you want to like my Facebook Page that would just be fabulous.