As anyone who has executed an international move knows, the process is as much excitement as pure terror.  In addition to the myriad concerns flying through your head about never seeing your cherished belongings again, there is the fear of the unknown.  Where will I buy milk?  Will I find a circle of friends?  Will I be able to learn the language?  What on earth have we signed ourselves up for?
As I make the final preparations and move onto my final five fingers to count the days until we move to Tunis, I have found a way to categorize, if not altogether deal with my fears.  I’m a compulsive organizer…what can I say!  If I can’t solve a problem, it is at least sitting in the right pile.
As a wife, I fear for the demands that this move will place on my husband’s time. This fear is mitigated by the fact that since we found out about this move, he has been as giddy as a school boy… more excited by his chosen profession than he has been in a long while.
As a mother, I fear for my 18 month old’s fragile understanding of his little world and how we are about to shatter it.  He won’t be waking up in the same room, his little friends will all change, and people will be speaking to him in strange tongues, just as he was getting the hang of this English nonsense.  But I take comfort in the fact that, although he may not remember this year, it will permanently lodge itself in his psyche, and that I will love discovering this new world through his eyes.
As an entrepreneur, I fear that I won’t be able to accomplish all that I have set out for myself in this upcoming year.  While this move is offering me numerous opportunities, I doubt my ability to seize them and to properly maintain my control over the business I have so carefully built over the past year.  But as with all things in business, the reward is in the risk….and if nothing else, I will blog my little heart out!
As a woman, I fear the changing political climate in Tunisia.  As the country struggles to find its footing after the Jasmine Revolution and the ouster of long-time dictator Ben Ali, a long repressed undercurrent of conservative Islamism is attempting to take hold.  What implication this holds for the women of Tunisia, no one can yet say.  The nation seems, to this outside observer, to be so fiercely proud of its moderate stance on women’s rights that a curtailing of their ability to work outside the home or a mandatory enforcement of the hijab seems unlikely.  But I am excited to be able to come to know these women and experience first hand how they will play a role in determining their country’s future.
As a traveler, and especially as a traveler with a small child in tow, I fear the baggage, and the train schedules, and the changing of diapers in public restrooms.  But I am also happy to infuse my tourist dollars into the many Tunisian communities desperately missing their visitors since they launched the Arab spring and to discover the vast historical, cultural and culinary treasures my new home has to offer.  I can’t wait to introduce you all to my new home as I get to know it thoroughly.
Have you endured the stresses an thrills of an international move? What coping measures have you used to get through it?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by our new writer and newly exported “Tunisian,” Natalia Rankine-Galloway of Culture Baby.
The image used in this post is credited to ReeccaLeeP. It holds a Flickr Creative Commons attribution license.

Natalia Rankine-Galloway (Morocco)

Natalia was born a stone's throw from the Queen's racetrack in Ascot, UK and has been trying to get a ticket to the races and a fabulous hat to go with it ever since. She was born to a Peruvian mother and an Irish father who kept her on her toes, moving her to Spain, Ireland and back to the UK before settling her in New York for the length of middle and high school. She is still uncertain of what she did to deserve that. She fled to Boston for college and then Washington, D.C. to marry her wonderful husband, who she met in her freshman year at college. As a military man, he was able to keep her in the migratory lifestyle to which she had become accustomed. Within 5 months of marriage, they were off to Japan where they stayed for a wonderful 2 and one half years before coming home to roost. Baby Xavier was born in New York in 2011 and has not slept since. A joy and an inspiration, it was Xavier who moved Natalia to entrepreneurship and the launch of CultureBaby. She has loved forging her own path and is excited for the next step for her family and CultureBaby. Natalia believes in the potential for peace that all children carry within them and the importance of raising them as global citizens. She loves language, history, art and culture as well as Vietnamese Pho, Argentinian Malbec, English winters, Spanish summers and Japanese department stores...and she still hopes one day to catch the number 9 race with Queen Liz. You can find her personal blog, The Culture Mum Chronicles.

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