Diplomatic Baggage - The Adventures of a Trailing Spouse by Brigid Keenan
December 1, 2014
A friend in Kazakhstan recommended this book to me as I started my career as a expat spouse (whilst working the "rabbit caught in headlights" look on the runway of Almaty airport). I love a good read and this book was thoroughly entertaining but at the time it scared me rather than excited me about expat Wife life (particularly the giant jumping spiders)! Six years in and just one giant non jumping spider incident later and I can now see that Brigid's account demonstrates the crazy, exciting and wonderful roller-coaster ride of life as an expat spouse.
One thing that struck me however, was how the seasoned spouses of the World coped without one essential item - the internet. I can't imagine my life now without Skype, facetime, email, online shopping with global delivery and internet banking (thank you HSBC Global View)!
It also seems certain difficulties the spouse faces such as career frustration, loneliness and in raising an expat family don't seem to have changed much over the years. I believe it is something that is beginning to be widely reported on and researched (particularly by international relocation specialists) but baby steps are being taken by employers to assist on these issues. Financial support will always be the most important thing an employer can offer to a spouse (in my view) but settling in quickly and easily requires more than just money.
Just one example of brilliance is that when we arrived in Vancouver, a wonderful lady called Joyce met us at our apartment to welcome us to Vancouver (on a Sunday). Joyce was our "move manager" and had found the temporary furnished apartment; she also took us to get phones and then to the local Supermarket for essential items on the day we arrived. She set up apartment viewings and accompanied me on every single visit; she even drove around Vancouver showing me places such as Costco and Stanley Park! Joyce recommended everything from a nail salon to internet providers. I know it sounds silly but Joyce felt like a friend at the time and I couldn't appreciate my Husband's employer any more during those first few months of our move - it was fantastic.
Brigid's Expat Spouse career finished in 2003 and I hope that someone now is writing their account of life as an Expat Spouse in the 2000s. I wonder how things will change for us over the next few decades?
Give the Diplomatic Baggage a read and let me know your thoughts....has anyone read any other relevant books?
You matter!Your comments matter! Don't let the World miss out on your point of view. Comment below or join the discussion on our forum