It's that time of the year. Expats all over the world are waiting in trepidation, waiting for a tap on shoulder, wondering if their time is up. If not here, where? Those who are content are trying to hide and stay under the radar. Those who are miserable are waving their hands in the air "pick me, pick me".
It's transfer time.
In the lead up to the summer break the domino effect makes its way through organizations all over the world. In a rush to make the change before the new school year, Bob gets moved from London to Russia, so Susan replaces him which leaves a gap in Nigeria, this is filled by Ayman who really didn't want to leave Singapore, but Vikram, who has just finished his latest round of antimalarial drugs in Angola, is ecstatic about the move.
If you'd like to get transfered but can't work out how to make the chain of events fall in your favour, fear not, I have learnt there are some things you can do to guarantee a move.
Firstly, go out and find a really good friend, a confidante who provides no awkward pauses, someone who makes you snort when you laugh.
After you've found her, the two of you will discover a fantastic facility ten minutes from your house, you won't have noticed it for the entire two years you've been living in your destination as it's unmarked and a bit of a hidden gem. It has three swimming pools, a wonderful gymnasium and a magical playground for the children, you can't believe your luck! You will pay the equivalent price of a small car for membership, but you'll convince yourself it will be worth it, it's not like you're due for a move.
Next up, you will acquire your dream job, it will have you skipping to the office. The hours are perfect, the people around you are brilliant and you've been promoted within months of being hired. Your new boss will gently enquire as to your longevity and you will assure him you're not going anywhere, I mean, your partner promised you this only last week. You're rock solid!
You'll realize at about this time that its been weeks since you've been lost, people actually come to you for directions, you've learnt enough language to survive in a crisis and after trying 15 doctors you've finally found someone who doesn't want to give you a pap smear for suspected tonsillitis. Your children will have all found friends and have been assigned great teachers, teachers that you requested. Finally, you've got rid of the team of pigeons that live in your bathroom exhaust fan and the lady with leprosy who sits outside the supermarket no longer spits on your feet as you enter, yesterday you think you saw her smile.
After all of this, the phone call will come. "We're moving". As all of the above rushes through your mind you'll hear that familiar sentence "can you call three packing companies for a quote? I need to go to wherethehellisthatistan for a briefing next week"
For those dreaming of a move, its a different scenario. They will sit by the phone waiting for the call. The pigeons in the bathroom exhaust, just will not go and the smell, oh the smell. You have been lost twice this morning, at one stage you were in the backstreets of somewhere that was just too scary to get of the car to ask for directions. Every night when your partner walks through the door you try and stop yourself from asking "Did you hear anything?" You've mentally been crossing off the weeks, your heart started to beat faster when you heard the Browns were off to Baku, when the DeRoche's relocated to Paris..."pick me, pick me".
You'll wonder if you need to put the deposit down for the preschool, try one more time to get the phone line fixed, do something about the shower rod that falls on you head every morning mid shampoo. Do you need to apologize to the crazy lady across the road who gave you the finger after you reversed in to her petunias? Or can you just let it go and leave it all behind.
For those who are waiting for the tap on on the shoulder, perhaps its time to remember what you signed up for and why. The adventure, the unknown, the break from the familiar. The fact that the pigeon poo will eventually make you laugh and you and the crazy lady will possibly realize you're in it together and become friends. Yes, it can be a pain, but as I say to the Little Travelers, "How exciting, your best friend is sitting somewhere now and doesn't even know you exist, they're about to get the best surprise ever, they're about to meet you!"