Living with intent, social engagement, learning, growing, giving
I have accepted an expatriate assignment to move my family (husband, 8 year oid daughter and 6 year old son) from Canberra, Australia to Trondheim, Norway. We have never lived outside of Australia so this is a big move for us. I think it’s a bigger move for my husband who is leaving hiss job and doesn’t have work arranged in Norway and our children who don’t even really understand the concept of Norway being such a long distance from Australia and different hemispheres etc. For me it’s easier because I am moving for work, keeping essentially the same role and we have a tremendous level of support from my company associated with the move.
On Friday we moved out of our house in Canberra. It has been over 8 years since we moved house and the first time that we’ve moved as a family. It takes a lot of work and planning! The past 6 weeks since I returned home have been a whirlwind of constant activity as we packed up our lives, discarded many many possessions and prepared to move to Norway. We saw as many of our friends and family as we could, worked hard at work and harder at home preparing our house for lease and developed decision fatigue from the constant demands of sorting through what to discard, what to store and what to bring.
My husband’s parents helped us tremendously doing myriad chores to prepare our house for lease and caring for our children during the school holidays. My parents and my brothers and my nephew both visited and helped us and my husband’s sister brought her wedding forward in time so that we could attend before we leave the country. We visited my 90 year old grandmother and yet I feel bad that I did not manage to see some of the people that I care so much about. We will miss our families enormously.
It feels great to have successfully met our deadlines and left our house in a better state than when we bought it 8 1/2 years ago. We’ve loved living here, having our 2 babies here and sinking deep roots and now we are reminiscing on good times while looking toward the unknown future with thrill, nauseated apprehension, and expectation. I will dearly miss my friends in Canberra who are like a family to us, my colleagues in Canberra who are a big family, and our extended biological families.
This week I gave a videoconference talk to a year 11 chemistry class that is being taught by my close friend in country NSW. She asked me to talk about my career that has followed my chemistry degree that I gained in 1998. I went through the research projects that I have completed and the path that I have followed to end up in the fantastic role that I currently have. It was an interesting time to give such a talk when I was already in a mood to reflect and evaluate my life. I received very positive feedback, especially from two very engaged and impressive young women in the class.
This year our children started a new school and they have made a tremendously good job of settling in and making firm friendships. The teacher of 6 year our son was not particularly nurturing, positive or pleasant and found our son challenging to deal with because his concentration wanders when he’s not being engaged. When I went to his parent-teacher interview she spent the whole time telling me that he needs to learn how to focus. She did not have anything positive to say nor did she offer any tips for what he should be learning out of school while in Norway.
Conversely, our daughter’s teacher is an amazing, dynamic, energetic and utterly engaged and engaging man. He worked hard to help our daughter to improve her handwriting and he encouraged her in her learning while making it fun. Three weeks ago my husband and I developed and taught a lecture and prac class on introductory geology to our daughter’s class and her teacher was thrilled. Today he met us at the doorway to the classroom after a long week at work with an armful of books for her to work her way through in Norway, warm handshakes for us both, and words of encouragement based on the year that he spent in Iceland. He had encouraged the class today to create farewell cards for our daughter during their break and then surprised her with them at end of school time. She couldn’t have been more thrilled and we couldn’t be more happy with him as a teacher.
Canberra, you have been very good to us and we will miss you. Onwards and upwards as Buzz Lightyear would say.