Two years

This month marks two years since I arrived in Brunei (it also marks eight months with The Engineer’s Baby and our five year wedding anniversary).  Milestones like this always make me a little pensive.  And today I am thinking about the things that have changed since we arrived.

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There is one particularly great change: the arrival of The Engineer’s Baby.  She continues to amaze me every day, and is absolutely the best thing that has happened to me here.

There are some other good changes:

  • I have learned about yoga, and discovered how much it helps me to balance and reconnect with myself.
  • I have understood the importance of creativity for me, particularly through writing, and have found ways to include that in my life.
  • I have met some wonderful people.
  • I have travelled to new countries, and have been exposed to new cultures, leading me to question some of my own cultural assumptions.
  • The Engineer’s beard has grown way more ridiculous and awesome.

But there have also been some not-so-good changes:

  • Being in a country where I cannot vote or have a say in the direction it takes has made me less politically active/interested.
  • The heat means we have not spent anywhere near as much time outside as we used to, and I miss it desperately.
  • It is difficult to get some of the healthy foods we are used to, and we have been lazy, meaning we eat far less consciously than we used to (and eat far more takeaways and junk).
  • Being pregnant with no job and no responsibilities allowed me to get into some not-so-good habits, particularly around using the internet.

Overall, it feels a little like I have been taking a break from our “real life”.  And I don’t think I’m alone in that.  The expat experience is different to immigrating to a new country.  The temporary nature of expat life is one of its defining features.  In some ways, the fixed term is freeing – we do less home maintenance, we have more opportunity to travel, friendships often develop more quickly.  But at the same time, it’s frustrating – people keep leaving, we miss some of that maintenance stuff, there are some things we would like but don’t want to buy for such a short time.

And at this two year marker, I’m torn.  Undecided whether we want to extend this life break in Brunei, or extend it somewhere else, or head back home to get back to real life.  What makes it even more complicated is that the decision ultimately hinges on The Engineer’s work.  We need to make the decision, but at the same time, it will be dictated by where he can get a job.  And for at least a couple of years, we’d like it to be a job that allows me to stay home with The Engineer’s Baby.

For now, I’m trying not to stress too much about the decision.  We know we want to stay another year here, and I want to enjoy that time.  I don’t want to waste this year worrying about what’s next.  I want to enjoy our quiet little life, travel a bit, and let the future unfold.  So I’m going to move on from this pensiveness, and get back into the present!

(I’m talking about living in the present moment over at The Engineer’s Baby too.  Apparently it’s a bit of a theme of my life!)


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