Saturday, 27 April 2013

Time on my hands

One of the best things about following your husband to a faraway country for his job is that while you find your feet and find a role for yourself, you have time on your hands to explore, research, write and read.  Yesterday I spent a blissful day moving from my bed to the sofa, reading Becoming Mrs Kumar on my Kindle.  This is a book that was launched yesterday and written by an old friend of mine from London advertising agency days - Heather Saville Gupta.  Heather was my boss for a while and an excellent drinking and partying partner-in-crime with an eclectic and fun group of friends.  When she turned 30 she abandoned the security of a well-paid senior role in a multi-national advertising agency and went travelling for a year, ending up in Bangkok where she picked up her advertising career again.  After a couple of years she transferred to Mumbai where she is now settled having met her husband and had two children.  Becoming Mrs Kumar is loosely based on Heather's experience of finding her feet in an alien country, getting her head around the customs and traditions, and ultimately the quest to find Mr Right.  For anyone who loves a good  chick lit read - I highly recommend the book.

Obviously for me, the subject of relocating to another country and coping with finding your way in a new place is particularly pertinent right now.  I could relate to Heather's descriptions of the constant assault on your senses as unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells both bombard and fascinate you on a daily basis.  The desire to fit in and to respect and understand the local culture and not to be simply swept up into the comfortable and cloistered expat lifestyle.  The irritation combined with pity at meeting expats who gave the impression of having been dragged kicking and screaming to the country and had nothing but negative things to say, yet had made no effort to embrace the many positives of their exhilarating surroundings.  And the new experiences and opportunities that are presented to you as a result of moving out of the comfort and security of your homeland.

Unlike the character in Heather's book, I have arrived in Hong Kong following my Mr Right - which labels me as a 'trailing spouse' - a title that does not sit comfortably with me.  I have always prided myself on being an independent woman.  I have never relied on a man to support me and I have never been attracted to a man for the size of his wallet, his job title or his social standing.  Therefore, to arrive somewhere with 'dependant' clearly stamped in my passport and to be seen by many as the little wife who has trailed along behind her successful husband is aggravating.  It is also becoming apparent that the job market in Hong Kong - while buoyant if you can communicate in both English and Cantonese - is more limited to the expat English only speaker.  While I am sure that an opportunity will present itself in time, it is unlikely to be in the next few weeks, so as time passes and my savings dwindle, there may become a time when the title in my passport will finally ring true.  However, I am not going to worry about that eventuality just yet, and I will continue to explore, research, write and read and enjoy this time in my life when I have no work stress and some money in my bank account!


  1. What you have penned down here, so much resonates with my current state, feeling much better now!

    1. Thanks so much for your comment Sharmila - it is good to know that I am not alone in feeling like this and that my blog is being read!


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