Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad


with 8 comments

Last week I was talking to another “foreign born spouse” as people like to call us, about how things are different for us.  When we move to a new country, our husbands go to work the next day, and essentially return to America.  They have all the structure, routine, and familiarity immediately in place.  Not so for us, who are immediately trying to find ourselves (again) in a foreign land.  We are the ones getting lost as we drive around trying to find new schools, and so on.

Now, likely all those married into the foreign service are nodding their heads at this point.  But things are different if you’re not US-born.  We get lost in a different way.  When homesickness creeps in, you know that it won’t be long until there is a Thanksgiving, or Independence Day celebration.  You know that when it is time for home leave, you’ll actually go home.

It is over three and a half years since I was in England.  My son has never been to the mother country.  I have nephews and a niece I’ve never even met in person.

The same day we had this conversation, we went into one of those fancy shops that make you forget which continent you’re one because everything is imported.  Lo and behold, there was an entire table of decorations and accessories for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee that had been imported from Blighty.

My husband often laughs at the way I’ve become so much more English since becoming American too.  He was particularly perplexed when I suggested demanded that we host a Jubilee celebration in honour of Her Majesty!

I’m the same person who, when living in England, was so disinterested in all things to do with the monarchy that I don’t even remember The Golden Jubilee taking place.

But then, am I the same person?  It isn’t just about being an expat now.  Since being married, my identity has changed so much.  First I was a wife, then a mother, then American, then a special needs mother.

Soon I’ll be a working mother too, and I’ll proudly serve my American community here, but at times I wonder if I’m losing every part of who I used to be, as I become identified only in relation to somebody else.  I’m Spectrummy Daddy’s wife when I go to the Consulate.  I’m Pudding’s or Cubby’s mum at their schools.  I’d say there are many people here who don’t even know my name, let alone who I am.

Later that evening, I tried to explain things to Spectrummy Daddy.  I turned to Cubby (my kids are also dual nationals) and asked him if her was American or English.

‘Merican.  I’m not English, I’m a ‘merican.

Spectrummy Daddy tried to rememdy things by asking him if he liked soccer, I mean,  football.

I like soccer!

Sigh.  With no further delay, I set to sending out invites, making the decorations, and creating a menu as British as could be for our very own Jubilee celebration.  Pudding only became involved when she saw what amounts of cream and sugar my people use.  But every royal kitchen needs an official taster, right?

The party was a great success, and it sated my inner Brit until we get to go to England in September.  We toasted Her Royal Highness, we read out loud the Duke of Edinburgh’s gaffes, we drank Pimm’s and ate coronation chicken, cucumber sandwiches, scones and trifle.

But all this was for me.

The kids ate, then disappeared.  Cubby was upstairs playing with his  American/Chinese-Australian friends, while Pudding played outdoors holding hands with our American/Australian neighbour.  Our community is nothing if not like a 1980s Benetton commercial.

Proving once again that my kids have figured out lessons I keep having to live through.  It isn’t about where you hail from, or what your passport says, or where you call home.  It is about being true to yourself and enjoying every moment life has to offer you, no matter where you happen to be.

I’m going to start right now- by enjoying a cup of tea and a biscuit.  I’m sure Her Majesty would approve.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

June 4, 2012 at 10:44 am

8 Responses

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  1. http://twicsy.com/i/4XxYmb

    yes, i love that we have all become a benetton commercial. that’s us, the diverse foreign service, all trying to remember who we are and who we were.

    Mel May

    June 4, 2012 at 10:57 am

  2. well done. Looks like a lovely spread you enjoyed for the party! My kids constantly remind me that it’s about being human-not American!


    June 4, 2012 at 1:17 pm

  3. Good for you! I have had some identity issues myself, just from leaving my hometown and all my family to live in another area. That, and having kids and getting married and quitting my job to take care of my kids. I think you’re right that we need to do things for ourselves to maintain our identities as someone separate from others. Sounds like a fabulous party!


    June 4, 2012 at 3:01 pm

  4. I think we all wonder for our identities in some way… I marvel that I have continually shed names over the past 10 years… First, I lost my family name when I married my husband. Then, I lost my first name when I became, simply, “mama.” I have no more names to give but I am still me.

    I’m glad you got a little time for you and that you did it with style. And I think the Queen would be proud 🙂


    June 4, 2012 at 3:37 pm

  5. Well done! And I’m with Pudding…that much cream and sugar is right up my alley. I’m glad you did this. Connection is everything, even thousands of miles away.


    June 4, 2012 at 3:41 pm

  6. Oh my! Celebrating 60 years on the throne! Can you imagine? I’m glad you are really celebrating you and your roots, but I did have to laugh at the Benetton commercial reference! I enlarged the photo and got very, very hungry. That food looks incredible! You made all that? And I love the little flags and photos of the Queen. What a warm and sweet post. September will be here before you know it! 🙂


    June 4, 2012 at 8:08 pm

  7. Pudding and Cubby receive from you and Daddy, the best of both worlds. Not only do they get to enjoy, learn and grow in all of the wonderful posts where you have and will serve, they also benefit from knowing about both of your homes and your history – those things have made you two who and what you are and in turn made them who and what they are!… Amazing!
    By all means, embrace and celebrate the American Independence Day Holiday on July 4th – but be sure to reserve some fireworks so you can remember, remember the 5th of November too!
    Lots of love! xxxxxxx

    Liz Cormack

    June 5, 2012 at 2:25 am

  8. It´s so very true… especially when people ask me “do you miss home?”. I left Brazil some 11 years ago, and since then, have been traveling with husband. Now, we´re back in Brazil, but, a different part of the country, that I used to know very little about., but, suprise! I´m expected to understand (and explain in a very ´friendly language´!) what those events mean/represent… and sometimes… I just don´t have the answer… or, at least, I may not have the answer the others are looking for… very, very interesting what we´ve become… I really like the analogy with the benneton commercial/ad… I remember been a kid/pre-teen when they first came out, and all the fuzz created about them! thanks for sharing… and before I forget, greetings from (currently!) Brazil…


    June 11, 2012 at 7:38 pm

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