Rumble: The Things that Are Important to Us

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.

Once upon a time,
there was a little girl.
She was called Little Rumble.
She had a hamster who had the name ‘Rock’,
because the hamster liked rock music.
It was not a normal hamster,
as it spoke Dutch too!

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:

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.

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pumuckl 18 March, 2007 12:13  

I don't know when you posted this... similar to you, I am being re-assigned, though I will go from my current duty station to the next place. as you write, it is not the leaving, it is not the starting - "there is a magic in each dwelling" and without farewell there is no "wiedersehen" - it is the family and friends part that makes this kind of life at times a bit lonely. you are happy to have your family with you. when I was younger, I thought I don't need a relationship - that having my parents and friends was fine. it is, and it is not. oh well. taking myself not too seriously helps over those moments!

but great/funny/nice to find my emotions in another ones post. makes you feel normal and fine, in a way. thanks!

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