We have a wonderful view from our apartment. Our windows face Marina Bay and the Singapore skyline is simply stunning. Different nights bring different lights, a different view.
H likes to leave the curtains open at night so she can drift off to sleep watching the lights sparkling on the water. They soothe her, comfort her. And it’s this view she’s drawn to now, night after night as tears streak her cheeks.
“I’ll miss it,” she sobs, stabbing a finger at the view, her metaphor for everything she’s too upset to talk about.
So we sit at the window, watching the lights dancing on the water, waiting until she’s calm enough to talk.
This time she asks, “What if I don’t like it there?” What can I say? I know all the right answers, but do I really mean them? I’m just as nervous as she is. A huge part of me just loves being an expat. I enjoy meeting people from different cultures, different countries and I wonder, will I miss that as much I crave the stability of a normal life? Will she miss that too?
That’s why we’re looking at caravans! I’m guessing we’ll all feel a bit restless for a while so when the feet get a little itchy, we can take off and explore.
So I tell her – it’s perfectly normal to feel sad, scared, anxious – and also a tiny bit excited. The range of emotions she’ll go through are enormous, and while there’s not much about the move she can change, the one thing she can control is how she views it. I know it’s not easy, I tell her, but on the down days, try and think of something about Melbourne that’ll cheer you up – cooking marshmallows on a camp fire, getting up late to go to school – and still being on time, a visit to Nanny and Pa’s.
We’ll all be feeling a bit lost as the move gets closer. So I hope she remembers that when she feels like that, to remember the lights and find a different view.