Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ex-Pat Mom

I've started asking some of my favorite bloggers to be guest writers--here is our first participant! I hope that you will follow their blogs too and be encouraged by their words. Without further ado, introducing Camille Ho! I'll let Cami do the talking since she's a fantastic, real-life, engaging writer. Afterwards, check her blog!

The life and times of an ex-pat mom.

Hello everyone!

My name is Cami, and I’m a friend of Julie’s from Moody (although we got a little bit closer after we both moved across the ocean to different continents…isn’t life ironic?). I’m wife to an amazing Chinese guy who rocks his British accent and momma to a crazy-beautiful-extremely independent almost 15-month old who is the sunshine of my days. We are currently living about an hour south-east of London, in England, where my husband was born.

I’ve been blogging for nearly ten years now, although I’ve only gotten “serious” about it over the last six months or so. I was so excited when Julie asked me to guest post on her blog, even though it took me forever to get back to her about it. I’m just going to blame it on my son…he’s young enough that he won’t know yet. Ha.

Anyway, when I was thinking about what I should write about, I started to come up with all of the things that Julie and I have in common—which is kind of a lot, actually. We both went to Moody, both got married during (or right after), both have babies that were born within days of each other and looked eerily similar at birth (no really, they looked like they could have been twins!)…and then I realized that we’re both figuring out this mom thing outside of America, away from our friends and family and I knew that is what I wanted to talk about.

Because this mom-thing is no joke.

And then when you throw in the added fact that you’re living in a foreign country with strange people surrounding you, and cars that drive on the wrong side of the road, and all you want to do is eat some decent Mexican food, but you can’t find it anywhere…it can start to wear on you after awhile. (At least I’ve got the advantage of speaking the native language—I don’t know how you do it, Julie! I’d go crazy not being able to understand what everyone was saying!)

I think, for me, the hardest thing is being away from people that really and truly know who I am—my family, my best friends. The people that you have a history with, the ones that have seen you through the good, bad, and ugly, as well as a move across the world, and are still there for a skype call at 1am when you need them. Sometimes all I want to do is sit with someone without giving the abridged version of my story and how I got here, without modifying my personality to make it a little more palatable and just drink some coffee and laugh really loudly (like I have a tendency to do). I want to cry about how my son didn’t nap for the second day in a row, and then kicked me in the face all night long without worrying about someone taking me the wrong way. I want to order “French fries” instead of “chips, buy “baking soda” instead of “bicarbonate soda”, and pay 99 cents for a giant Diet Coke at McDonalds, instead of £1.89 for what would be considered a medium in America.

And yet, there have been moments of extreme sweetness and joy that I know my little family would have missed out on if we hadn’t been here.
-Our third wedding anniversary waddling around London at 36 weeks pregnant, spending hours in the British Museum and eating ice cream, holding hands and dreaming of our future.
-Days spent huddled in our tiny apartment staring in awe at our newborn son while the rain poured down outside.
-Laughing at an English joke that I finally understood, and realizing that my worldview had expanded just a bit.

Living in another country is hard, and it can be so lonely and so isolating. But at the same time, I know that I’m raising my son to see the world in a different way than I saw it and I am happy about this. He will be someone that understands that there is more than one way to do things, and that there are other types of people that share this planet with him, and I hope that this makes him into a better person than he would have been without it.

I know we won’t be in England forever, but I am trying to cherish the time we do have here (even when I want to pull my hair out and put a flight back to America on the credit card just so I can GET OUT). It has been a privilege and a blessing to be an “ex-pat” for awhile, and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

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