Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad


with 20 comments

“You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own.
And you know what you know.
And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go.”

Oh, the Places You’ll Go! (1990) Dr. Seuss.  Random House; Reprint Edition.

I don’t write much about being a diplowife, spouse of a Foreign Service Officer, or trailing spouse (vomit) as I’m sometimes referred to, but as we are going through the bidding process, this part of my life is very much on my mind.  We are still in a holding pattern, but it looks like we’ll be going to one of three posts, all of which are on new continents for me.  Eek.  Life will be different, but then, life has been different for a while, it will just be in a new place.

Last week I  submitted my Wordless Wednesday photo for the weekly State Dept Round Up . It is sort of a blog-hop for diplobloggers- go check it out.  I kind of cheated on the theme of where we are now, because I’m lazy developmentally we’re in a new place and I’m excited by it.

The Round Up this week was quite the experience for me.  Some of the places I’d never been to, but were interesting to look at.  Other places I had.  I taught English in Paris for a year during university, and I can’t look at photos without feeling the pang for my soul-place.  It just gives me sweet, sentimental memories though, and renew my vow to spend my 40th birthday there, having just as good a time as my 30th.  Just looking at the Eiffel Tower made me happy.  I’m English by birth, American by marriage, became a mother in Luxembourg, but I’m Parisienne at heart.

One of the bloggers posted pics of another place we’d been.  It was the temporary quarters we’d stayed in when Spectrummy Daddy had language training in between our move from Europe to Bolivia.  We never got there, of course, because it was while I was staying there that we noticed Pudding’s differences.  Even though the apartments have been remodeled, it was so painfully familiar.  Looking at the pictures was like being hit with grief all over again.  That was where I mourned for my little girl’s future, feared for her interactions with this world, and was terrified that autism would make her distant from me.  Somehow those feelings are tied up in that physical place, and I’ve moved on both literally and figuratively.  The remarkable thing is that while these apartments are just a couple of miles away from our rental home, emotionally it is very far away.

This brings me to this week’s Round Up theme, which is about what I never knew before Foreign Service life.  I guess that what I never realized before is that when you live a nomadic life, you begin to feel very passionately about places.  I knew when I got married into this lifestyle that I’d miss my family and friends, but I had no idea that a place could hurt so much, or make me smile like an old friend.  I didn’t know I’d care more for England as an ex-pat than in all the time I lived there.  I think that this might be why many third culture kids frequently move into careers in conservation.  You can feel as much for the environment as you do people.  And a location can truly make an impression, for better or for worse.  Places can hurt or heal.

We’re ready to find out where we’ll move to next.

Oh, the places we will go!


Written by Spectrummy Mummy

October 25, 2010 at 6:41 am

20 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Wow, my mum lives 6 hours drive away and my sister is 2 but to have family on a whole other continent…..I cant even get my head around how hard that must be for you all!!

    It was beautiful to read how photos of Paris gave you wonderful memories but oh so sad to be reminded of those horrible early diagnosis days…..they are some of the hardest days that any spectrummy parent has to go through.

    For what it’s worth….I think you are an incredibly well grounded and amazing woman for dealing with so much so far away from anything you know….

    Fingers crossed for your next posting…


    October 25, 2010 at 7:14 am

    • Horrible days indeed, but it does get better, thank goodness. I’m already on another continent to my side of the family. I only get to see my parents once a year, and have a niece and nephew I’ve never met. It is hard, but Facebook and Skype makes it easier.

      Fingers, toes, and everything else crossed. Thanks, as always, for your support Fi. 🙂


      October 25, 2010 at 7:21 am

  2. I love this. Thank you for sharing your feelings.


    October 25, 2010 at 10:39 am

    • Thank you, Becky. I wondered if other FS officers and spouses felt like this about places, TCKs seem to, from what I’ve read. Oh, and do we all hate the term “Trailing Spouse”? It really does make me throw up a little in my mouth!


      October 25, 2010 at 10:57 am

      • Yeah if I am a “trailing spouse” I think I should get to do less work. You know, kick my feet up and trail along. Seeing as I run a lot of the show at home, I think I am more of a “get all the junk organized and keep everyone fed with weird food spouse.” Or a “figure out how to pay the bills from another country spouse.” Or maybe an “explain to the electricity guy why GSO hasn’t paid my bill and why he can’t turn off my power spouse.” My husband appreciates all I do though so I don’t care much what I get called so much. I’d never call myself a trailing spouse though, ever.

        I had a friend once who told me that once places became a part of you, you’d only be really happy when you were in a plane going one place to another. I agreed with that when I was single but now that I have a family, I am just happy when we are all in one place. I do feel so connected to so many places though. La Paz, Nanjing, Kaohsung, Cusco, Utah, DC, here on the border. I think they become a part of you in a way that never really leaves you. I still care what happens there and about the people in those places.

        Good luck with the new posting!!!


        October 28, 2010 at 10:10 pm

  3. I really loved this post so much. It is very true how much a place can come to represent. While I have not moved as much as you, I certainly feel very strongly about my time living in the UK for 18 months (from when Perky was almost 2 years old to when he was 3 and a half years old). We lived in Yorkshire initially for 9 months, it was a really welcoming place, we made some very good friends and that really helped me, and I genuinely miss living there, it was gorgeous. I get a physical ache when I look at our photos of Paris. We visited for 2 nights only. But it made the biggest impression on me. I intend to be there for my 40th birthday, too!
    Thank you so much for your eloquence, and some insight to what life is like as a Diplomat’s secret weapon (I hope that is accurate :))
    I have my fingers crossed for your next move, too.


    October 25, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    • Oh, DQ, you say all the right things! I’m a Yorkshire lass born and bred. Pudding is so called because of my deep and abiding love for yorkshire puddings (which I made yesterday, but the kids are allergic, so they didn’t get any).
      I think I might be the secret weapon with a faulty trigger that accidentally harms the user. 😉


      October 25, 2010 at 5:07 pm

      • Which part of Yorkshire are you from? We lived in Oxspring, right next to Penistone, a little west of Barnsley! That accent is my favourite. Pinky developed 3 accents while he was in the UK, initially we were with Husbeend’s parents on the Wirral, near Liverpool, so Pinky got quite the Scouse sound, then he developed the South Yorkshire accent. Finally, we were in Norwich for just over 6 months and so he developed that accent, too. Luckily we have it on video for posterity. Both boys have a slightly northern English accent even now because their Dad does!
        Yorkshire puddings are possibly the best savoury treats ever. I didn’t have one until we moved to the UK. I actually have a recipe for gluten free ones which I have not been game enough to try yet. I will let you know if I ever do!


        October 25, 2010 at 9:36 pm

        • I’m from Sheffield. I went to university in Liverpool, but never picked up the scouse accent. I’ve been told that my accent is becoming more American, but really I just think I’m losing my Yorkshire the longer I’m away. Pudding sounded just like me, but she switches her accent for some words depending on who she is talking to. I think one day, when she has mastered English (!), she’ll be good at languages.
          I can’t imagine GF puddings are good, but given the allergies to milk and eggs too, they’d still not work for my pair.


          October 26, 2010 at 10:04 am

  4. Great post. I wrote something along the same lines a couple of years back. http://katianovetsaintlot.blogspot.com/2008/09/expat-musings.html
    And I know all about the angst of waiting to know where next. And then having to start all over again, somewhere new. I’m right there, right now. Best of luck to you and your family. Katia

    Katia Novet Saint-Lot

    October 26, 2010 at 7:43 am

    • I hate the waiting, for me it is the worst part. It should be over soon though, with some luck.

      Sectrummy Mummy

      October 26, 2010 at 1:41 pm

  5. Your post has been included in the weekly State Department Blog Round Up


    Thanks for your wonderful contribution!


    October 29, 2010 at 3:35 am

  6. A times the nomadic lifestyle seems so appealing. Then again, familiarity of a town you know for 20 years can be very comforting.

    Big Daddy

    January 3, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    • It isn’t for everyone. I think I must have some gypsy blood, because a year is long enough for me to live anywhere. When I did move back to my home town for a while, I soon started to suffocate. Definitely to each their own on this one.

      Spectrummy Mummy

      January 3, 2011 at 3:27 pm

  7. Your comment: “You can feel as much for the environment as you do people. And a location can truly make an impression, for better or for worse. Places can hurt or heal.”

    …is so true. I feel very much this way about our experience in China. Such a beautiful country with such a rich history, with environmental problems up the wazoo.

    Chris P-M

    January 3, 2011 at 2:40 pm

  8. I used to be a vagabond for many years so I know what you mean about places being so close to you heart and hurting or healing you. Visiting from Blog Gems.


    January 4, 2011 at 10:43 am

  9. I know from reading your blog that your move is coming up soon and the biding process is over. Best of luck with it 🙂 Thanks for joining in Blog Gems. Jen


    January 9, 2011 at 12:25 pm

  10. […] Thursday we drove by the apartments I talked about here.  I still remember sitting on the couch next to Pudding, trying to see if she would look at me […]

  11. […] Moreover, I felt that she would also react negatively to our temporary quarters.  For those of you keeping track, this is where we stayed two years ago, and I wrote about it here and there. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: