Welcome to May 2015’s #TrailingSpouseStories! This month, we’re talking about “Bloom Where You’re Planted.” How have we bloomed in our very itinerant way of life? Here is my take on the matter.
First having seen the topic for discussion, chosen for Trailing Spouse Stories in May, I wasn’t quite sure what to say – I mean, I left home at 17, I’m pretty sure I would’ve bloomed whether I stayed at home or relocated, that’s what teenagers do, don’t they? We grow up, find our way, learnt to stand on our own two feet. But the question is, what kind of bloom would I have been, if I did indeed stay at home? With my family and friends, in the place that I’ve known well and not just geographically – I’ve known it’s ways, traditions, what was expected of me and what I could expect from others.
My parents are very traditional. I wasn’t allowed to go out late, go to any kind of parties expect for those hosted by people my parents personally knew; if I went out with my friends, I had to agree with them on all the places we were going to visit and make sure I was home very early. I was a greenhouse plant, no doubt. If I stayed home, I would attend a university, while still living with my parents. They would’ve had very strict rules on dating and would probably make sure I don’t hang out with anyone they didn’t like (for example, a friend of mine was completely grounded at the age of twenty, as her parents didn’t want her to date some guy; she left home and married him the same year – so much for parental control). I would continue by entering family business, where I would be further controlled by my father, who I can say is not the easiest of bosses. I think, I might have exploded at some point along the way and started fighting for independence, but somehow I’m not sure I would’ve had enough guts to do it in any time soon.
Leaving home at 17 was definitely a game changer. Yes, I was still dependant on my parents, but I also had to learn quick to make my own choices. I agree, some of them were not the best choices at first, but we all make our mistakes and at least I made mine, without being sheltered from them, at a young age, without waiting for another 10 years or so and then having a teenage/middle age crisis. Adding another dimension to this ‘mistake making process’ was the fact that it all happened in a foreign country. When I went back on holidays to my home town, with every passing year, I noticed all those subtle differences on the way my friends and I looked things. Yes, we all grew up, but we somehow grew up in our own ways.
Every following move that came within the following 15 years shaped me further, every country and culture leaving its imprint. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a piece of cake to readjust every time, but it does get easier as you learn how to be more adaptable and embrace the change. I got so used to it, sometimes I wonder whether I would enjoy permanently living somewhere. In what way did I bloom? Hard to say. But what I know for sure is that I’m not a greenhouse plant anymore. More like a weed, maybe? And I kind of like it.
Clara of Expat Partner Survival talks about what it was like living somewhere so humid that growth was everywhere. An ongoing battle with mould, ants and sweat. She also talks about how life in “paradise” isn’t what it seems in Blooming Hell – Life on a Hothouse Island.
Jenny Reyes of MyMommyology say that the whole #TrailingSpouse experience is like planting seeds and hoping they’ll grow in #TrailingSpouseStories: Growing A Garden (Or So We Hope).
Yuliya Khilko of TinyExpats says that whichever way you bloom, you’re not likely to remain a greenhouse plant in Not a Greenhouse Plant.