Natalia and her son in Tunis.
As I sat in the Embassy listening to the rocks and chants hitting the wall outside, I couldn’t help but feel as though my maternal instincts had failed me. Why didn’t I know to leave? Why did I stand on the second floor, flippantly observing the gathering crowds, and assume it would just be your standard protest? Shouldn’t I have had some sixth sense, some feeling in my gut that things were going to go from bad to worse?
I knew that the baby was far from danger, picked up by family friends from his daycare miles from the Embassy. The staff had in fact been quite at a loss to understand why I couldn’t pick him up at 2pm. “Protests you say?”
The events of September 14th at the U.S Embassy in Tunis took many people by surprise. Not least of which the Tunisians who were even more taken aback when the order was given to evacuate all non-essential Embassy personnel and all families. (more…)
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 right
s 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.
On Monday we will be in Singapore, where June Yong talks about the culture of starting children’s tuition from as young as three. Does this really set up the child for future success, or is it merely fulfilling a need for status in the parents at the expense of the child?
On Tuesday, we head to Indonesia and, staying with the education theme, Lady E. discusses the fact that for many of us, the idea of routines flies out of the window during the summer holidays. She offers some very practical tips on how we can help our kids make the transition from holidays to school.
On Wednesday, we’re off to Nigeria, where Meredith talks about the culture shock she experienced when she moved there from the United States. She saw that the children were being raised in ways that she initially disapproved of, until she realized that there was a reason for most of the things she saw.
On Thursday, we will be back in the United States with Ohio mom Amy Hillis. Her youngest child has just outgrown pull-ups, and while this is a big success, it is a bittersweet moment for Amy. For the first time in many years, she doesn’t have a baby to care for. Come read as she tells us what this means for her.
Preparing for an international move can be a daunting task to say the least. Natalia is on her way to Tunis! Let’s hear how her preparations are going!
On Saturday, check out the Saturday Sidebar with Eva Fannon, where the World Moms give their thoughts on an important topic, and chime in with your answers to this week’s question!
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This World Moms Blog Travel Itinerary is written by Kirsten Doyle @ Running For Autism