I was writing in the living room last Sunday when Hannah, our youngest, came to show me a story and a drawing she made: Little Rumble and her hamster. One day,
Little Rumble did not find her hamster anymore.
Because ‘Rock’ liked music,
the girl sung in a soft sweet little voice:
“Oh my sweet little hamster,
Where are you now, where are you now?
Oh my sweet little hamster..”
And what did she see?
“Look”, she cried out, “There comes Rock!”.
And from that day,
Little Rumble called her hamster:
Little Rumble and her hamster.
She is nine.. They keep on surprising me, my girls. It made me think. Within seven weeks, my sabbatical is over. I don't know yet where I will be posted for my next assignment. We change duty stations every two to four years. My assignment in Dubai is over, so up for the next one.
It does not worry me where I will be posted. Timbuktu, Darfur, Bogota, Dushanbe... It does not matter. Don't get me wrong: work does matter a lot to me, but where is not important.
You know, often people write to me, saying they envy my way of life, the travelling, the adventure... It is not all gold that glitters though. One aspect is a continuing challenge. And it is not the hardship of a duty station, not the fact that every two to four years we have to start up a new life again at the other side of the world. No matter the fact that often 'life in the field' can pretty rough and often has an aspect of danger to it. What is important and a continuous challenge for many of us, though, is how our family copes with all of that.
So many people in 'our line of work' have problems finding and keeping a partner. And later on, building and keeping a family. Either the family stays at home (like mine does most of the time), or they travel along from duty station to duty station. For some of us, our partner has the same kind of job. Him working somewhere in South America and her somewhere in South-East Asia. The kids shuttling in between, or in a boarding school.
So many families, marriages, relationships break up over this 'remoteness'. That is the biggest challenge.
And my biggest happiness is to have found a way to balance my crazy lifestyle with that of having a family.