A girlfriend organized a get together in Doha after the New Year. It was one of those fantastic events where you walk in and immediately spot four or five faces that you haven't seen in ages. It was my first week back after 12 weeks in Australia, a morning of catching up on news. After I had told and retold the story of my urethra and its recent adventures, I made a move for the couch to talk to an English girlfriend who'd been home for Christmas. She began to explain the area her parents lived in.
"Have you ever lived in England?"
I went to answer "not yet" but instead answered with a despondent "no". I've travelled to the UK a few times but never for longer than a few weeks. I had always thought that we would end up living in London as a family, it came up on the radar a few times but never eventuated.
When G had worked with the Big Blue, we had travelled in a way that can only be described as hard core. Our first move involved a 4 week process between would you go and off you go. From then on the moves became faster and more frantic each time. We were out of Jakarta in a matter of weeks. In Kuala Lumpur we found out days before the 2nd traveller's birth that we were moving to Libya. Three weeks later we were surrounded by suitcases in a hotel room in Malta, waiting for news on our Libyan visas.
When you live like this, you live with endless possibilities. Where will they send us next? Which rumour will come true? Will it be London or will it be Lagos? It all seemed so exciting to a girl who'd grown up living in the same house of a small country town.
We were in Houston in the time of the Global Financial Crisis. We watched while others around us either lost their jobs or were forced to take assignments in locations that didn't work for their families. We watched families with teenage children get told it was Angola or no job at all. After six moves in ten years we were craving the concept of stability for a few years. We dreamed of living in a world where we weren't receiving an unexpected tap on the shoulder that it was time to go. We made the decision together to come to Qatar, and it has given us everything we'd hoped for. We have set holidays that take us to Australia, the children are at a great school, and we have the ability to say "next year you can..." because we know that we'll be here next year. We have exactly what we wanted.
So why do I find myself yearning for a surprise move?
I was out walking with a girlfriend this week and explaining my chat with my English friend. I said it had made me realize that with the children the age they are, and G and I trying to set them up with ties to Australia, there were certain locations that were now out of reach. Locations that didn't make sense.
"Yes, that ship has sailed" she said.
And that was it. In that moment I knew why it had upset me so much. I had to accept that that ship had indeed sailed. At this moment in time, there would be no last minute assignments to the States or the UK. There were friends that we would never live in the same town as again. We had reached the age where our children's education heavily factored into our career moves. Final years of schooling in London or the US, opened up a can of worms for an Australian family trying to lead everyone back to Australian shores.
In all of the years that I've said "while the children are little we're fine with moving around" I hadn't thought about how this moment would feel. Old, responsible, and stagnant are the first words that come to mind. After a moment of thought though, grounded, content and secure also help. And anyway, I did say there were some locations that didn't make sense.
There are some other locations that look fabulous! ;-)
Do you get itchy feet?