When the moving van drove away with the container full of all our belongings, there was a huge lump in my throat. He took my hand in his, handed me my coat and suggested we go for a walk. As we stepped outside, it started to snow, pretty little droplets pelting us goodbye. The walk around our neighborhood was oddly comforting – our favorite coffee shop, our grocery store, and our tranquil neighborhood lake prompted a sudden rush of memories.
It was the end but it was also the beginning.
A new adventure beckoned yet my old life clung on to me like my favorite cashmere sweater that fit so well. A new life was growing inside of me, yet I clung on to the old me. I was having a hard time letting go. It felt like giving up a piece of myself – this life which I had built from scratch and come to love.
“How can we expect to grow roots, when we keep ripping them out?” I turned to him and asked.
He replied: “Perhaps one day it will make for a pretty varied and resilient garden.”
We both smiled in the snow.
Fast forward almost 5 years, and he was right. Our expat journey together since has led us to the Scandinavian north, to life on the equator on a tropical island, and to our current oasis in the Arabian desert. Alongside the international moves have been the international pregnancies, coinciding perfectly.
And yes, we finally have that garden. Which needs water 4 times a day and a gardener 3 times a week to survive in the Dubai heat. We water it, we nurture it and we need to have a lot of patience.
It’s a garden which thrives against the odds; just like us.
It has varied roots; just like us.
It reminds me daily what our expat journey is all about. Put in a new environment, sometimes you blossom and you fail. Sometimes you wither and struggle to grow. Somehow you discover you are actually really good at planting your roots and starting over, again and again.
Deep down, you realize, that this is one pretty awesome garden.