Today I had a discussion with my mother; something that we’ve talked about before, would talk about in the future and, probably, would never be able to decide on what would be the best. We were talking about us settling down, finding a place where we would finally grow roots and live happily ever after.
It’s not like I don’t want to ever settle down. Actually, lately I started thinking a lot about it in connection to the girls, their education, their friends. My mother thinks that they would be happier, if they have all their toys in the same place, all the surroundings stable and unchanged, being able to see their friends grow up together with them. I agree with her and it saddens me that they might feel deprived of certain things due to the life on the move. On another hand, I hope that this life could also give them something else.
I hope, they would grow to value experience above material things. With every move we made, I learnt how to let go of things. I cannot say I’ve always been good at that. You can get used to a favourite vase or chair, that’s for sure, but our relocations were not paid by anybody else, so when it came to ordering a container, it was our call on how to minimise the costs. One of the hardest things for me to let go of were books. Yes, I’m funny like that, I like reading, I like the smell of the pages and it makes me sad to leave them behind. But did you know that if you send a container with things, your own personal things, to Russia, you have to pay tax by weight? So yes, the books had to stay in Shanghai. For now I decided to stick to e-books. What I would never leave behind, some of the most valuable possessions, are photos. I put them into photo books, as I don’t trust them to be saved on a computer only. They actually document these experience, so they are really important to me.
I hope, my kids would realise that it is possible to be happy and content almost anywhere, it all depends on your attitude. You know how a person can be really depressed in a luxury area with a high paid job, but some of the happiest people actually live in a small tribe in the Amazon rainforest? I hope, they would search for the positive things around them, then that’s what they would find.
I hope, they would find out that they can make friends anywhere, thinking of language and culture differences as interesting bonuses rather than as obstructions. So far, I’ve met wonderful people all along our way. We might live miles apart now, but I know they are out there and I can reach them even if only by phone or email.
I once read a post by a lady coming from an expat family. She wrote that she chose the same life style for herself, when she grew up, but her sister actually decided to settle down and travel only for summer holidays, so it depends a lot on a personality. I guess, I’d just have to wait and see what my children would turn out to be. Whether they would have warm memories about their childhood or regret what they didn’t have. I just hope that in the end they would still learn to value memories over stuff.