I’m new to this.
I’m 39 years old and yet this is the first time I’ve ever blogged.
You may call me a “late blogger”, but I prefer the term “lazy”. I’ve been wanting to do this for what seems like forever, but I kept coming up with excuses for why I couldn’t, rather than understanding the reasons for why I should.
So where do I begin? I guess the obvious starting point is my name. I’m Sharyn. Yes, that’s right, it’s Sharyn with a “y”. My mum liked names with the letter “y”. Hence why I’m Sharyn and my sister is Jasmyn (with a “y”). It’s just some funny little quirky thing she has, and it seems to have rubbed off on me. I have 4 children, 2 boys and 2 girls. My boys have nice traditional names, James and Patrick. However, and this is where my mum’s “y” thingy has rubbed off, my girls are called Charlyse and Saraya. We made up their names. At least, we THOUGHT we made up their names. We’d never seen them written down anywhere else, at least not until after we’d named them. But not to worry, at least I know their names will never be in the Top 100 Most Popular Names lists.
My children are Australian, and yet none of them were born here or had even lived here until 9 months ago. You see, we had the fantastic experience of being Expats for 9 years. We did 4 years in Tokyo, 4 years in Singapore, and 18 months in London. James was born in Tokyo, my girls were born in Singapore, and Paddy is our little Pom. Actually, Paddy really is a Pom, as well as Australian. I guess that doubles his chances of countries he can play rugby for, but in all seriousness he will be good enough for Australia. No pressure on the kid, I just know he will be.
It’s tough coming back to reality after living the expat life. Really hard. For starters, we had a live-in maid in Singapore and London. She made life so much easier for all of us, and was brilliant with my children (and anyone else’s kids). Having her live with us meant I could also get some much-needed time to myself, time I used to spend sitting in a coffee shop with other friends having “time out”, doing what we call “tai tai”. Beauty spa after breakfast, champagne for lunch, dinner on the 31st floor of an international hotel. Okay, I didn’t live THAT sort of expat lifestyle, but I knew many who did.
We also had an awesome social life. The thing with Singapore expats is that they are all in the same boat. They all move to a country where they have no family, and usually no friends. So they grab every chance of friendship that comes their way. Many of these friendships often fade into oblivion. Expat friendships can be both transient and materialistic, but occasionally you do meet a person who you click with and they end up life long friends. I have a few of those, girls I will be friends with forever. We may not talk as much as we used to, but when we do it’s like picking up a conversation from yesterday. That’s special.
I miss those days, for every possible selfish reason I can think of. But it was not real life. This is real life. Here in Australia. With no maid and no expat friends. Real life is busy and stressful and demanding and surprisingly lonely, with almost no time for myself. And yet I am strangely happier than I was as an expat. Do I need my head read? All I know is that life IS hard, life is busy, and life can be lonely, even when surrounded by friends and family. But for me, being back in Australia, the country I love most in this world, and having my beautiful family with me (who, granted, drive me completely bonkers much of the time), I know I am going to be happiest here. I’m not quite there yet, but I will be. You’ll see.