Welcome to September’s #TrailingSpouseStories. This month we share trailing spouse village – who is part of it, how we’ve built it or maybe who we’d like to be part of it.
There are days that I wished that the moment my feet landed on new soil, everything would be laid out for me. Who doesn’t want to live a smooth sailing, blunder-free, work like clockwork trailing spouse life? I do! Remember the film “The Stepford Wives”, where the wives were so perfect – beautiful, intelligent, skillful among other things -that every day went like clockwork. This is how I would dream everything would go, not that I’d have a perfect wife. Silly. But that I’d have a perfect support system, a dream team, a “village” to help me raise myself in an environment that is completely alien.
A girl can dream, right?
If I would build my perfect trailing spouse village, it would have all of the following people the very moment I step out of the airplane into my new expat location:
The Friend from home. Not just any friend, but the kind of friend who knows you, your history, your dreams and future plans. The kind of friend that makes it so easy for you to pick up where you left off. The kind of friend who can help you remember the past and hold your hand through the same journey.
The Wizened Expat. Years of experience abroad, 5 years at the very least, has given him or her battle scars to be proud of. He is not afraid to share these mistakes and, more importantly, lessons that a newbie like you could apply to your own expat life.
The Fellow Newbie. Living in the past and looking into the future, one should also live in the present to share the newness of expat experiences with someone going through the same journey, the same challenges, the same joys as you are.
GROWN UP STUFF:
The Accountant. We came from one tax-ful country, where in-house company accountants took care of our accounting needs to a tax free country. It took a while to get used to this tax thing again, especially that it works with a different system. So you do need a trustworthy accountant that would not overcharge you and would have your best interest at hand.
The Lawyer. Again, a trustworthy lawyer, that would not charge you an arm and a leg to help weed you through legalese, especially in foreign country.
The Insurance Agent. Ahhh, in the Land of Insurance, you will need one or several to deal with insurance for health, renter’s or home (if you plan to purchase one), automobile, pet and more. Trustworthy and will not overcharge you. Insurance costs range from the exhorbitant to the dirt cheap, so choose one that best suits your needs and budget.
The Car Mechanic. The Plumber. The Carpenter. The Electrician.The Cooling/Heating Expert. The Gardener. The Movers. All trustworthy, who would not overcharge you and take advantage of your fresh-off-the-boat naivete.
The Nurse and The Family Doctor. You will get sick; you are not Superwoman. Well, even Superwoman got sick from kryptonite. So a nurse and a family doctor, who will not overcharge you, explain your conditions to you and provide the best treatment plan.
The OBY GYN. Yes, you do need one to check up on your lady parts, whether you do not want to have kids, want to have a kid or already have kids.
The Veterinarian. If you have a pet like I do, you need one, who sincerely cares for animals, knows their shizz like hell and, again, won’t overcharge you. You see a pattern here?
The Babysitter. If you’ve got kids, you would need one. ‘Nuff said.
The Pet Sitter. If nobody would be home for your pet or you don’t have a yard where it can be left to do its business (weather permitting), then you need one too.
The Cleaning Person. If you’ve got a job and chores up to your chin, you’d need some help, one that would not steal from you. Reality check, okay?
The Hairstylist and Colorist. I don’t know about you, but with hair like mine. I absolutely need someone who can properly manage it with a great haircut. A girl needs someone who can give her hair life. Period.
The Massage Therapist. Errmmm, who doesn’t need one?
The Dermatologist. I was never the girl with the flawless skin, so I also need one to attend to my puberty like pimple scares. Yup, they are scary.
Snap out of it! We surely don’t live in a Stepford world. Darn it. Yeah, we’d all have to get out of the door, stumble sometimes, stand up again as building one’s trailing spouse village is not a straight line journey. We all could take sudden turns, detours and even accidents. Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, it sure wasn’t built by Caesar alone.
Did I miss anyone else in my ideal trailing spouse village?
Check out other #TrailingSpouseStories in this month’s blog crawl:
Clara of The Expat Partner’s Survival Guide who just moved to South Africa, shareshow she finds friends and how important it is to do so.
Tala of Tala Ocampo delves into research on how a best friend at “work” makes a job (being a trailing spouse not an exception) more engaging.