Friday, June 28, 2013

Marriage Isn't what it Seems

After 47 years, I’d have said my favorite parts of the day are the morning when I wake up and find my husband in bed with me, and in the evening when he comes home and we make dinner together.  My life has its rhythm because I enjoy him.

A few weeks ago, he got a call asking if he’d consider an interview with a head-hunter in Singapore.  I freaked.  

 I was willing to leave the US to go to Canada if his draft board went after him. I would be willing to leave the US now, if we had to. Or even if Romney had been elected, and was as bad a President as he looked like he’d be.

But to leave for a job?  We both have jobs.  We like our jobs.  Why leave?  He has a talent for languages.  I do not.  He would have a job there. I would not.  And since I fix people’s computers in their homes and businesses, I could not create such a job where I don’t speak the language. Even the computers there speak a foreign language.

I told him I wasn’t interested.  He wanted the job interview.  He spent over an hour on the phone and said this was just the head-hunter.  The next level would be talking with people at the institute that wanted to hire him.  

I said something I never thought I’d say to him.  “If you go, you go alone.”

This stunned me.  Had anybody asked me – what do you value most in life? I’d have answered “my husband’s company.  I love be-withing him.”  I had no idea there was anything I value more.
That I value being independent – able to talk to people around me – earn money – understand directions, and get help in words I understand – I never even thought about how much I value that.

I am not aging well. I cannot imagine trying to explain my health issues in Chinese, Malay or Tamil.  I get lost frequently, when I bike more than 3 or 4 miles from my home. Would I be able to use a smartphone and get google maps in English if I was in Singapore? I eat weird foods. Could I even get chocolate sweetened with stevia? Or seaweed dried seaweed for making sushi. Do they even sell brown rice there?

My mind was going crazy – what do I really value?  Who am I? Would I really become a prisoner of the English language?  I can master the Pimsleur basics for travel – but that’s not the same thing as real communication.  I know there’s an ex-pat community there from England – but I don’t want to be a member of a culture that lives in an enclave.

It shocked me that I would throw away my marriage, which I enjoy, rather than move to another country. Discovering new facets of my personality can be a shock.

Fortunately I won’t have to deal with it – at least this time.  My husband decided he liked being wanted, but he doesn’t want that job.

2 comments:

  1. I'm with you on the language thing. At least in most of Europe it's a common alphabet so you can look up words in the dictionary, but that goes out the window in Asia. It would be too hard, I am too old for that much of an adjustment. Not to mention shopping in foreign countries, it's fun at first until it's not.

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    1. Allison, I'm so glad not to have to make that choice. It still stuns me that I have moved 9 times in this marriage and I would move again -- but only to a place where they speak English. I never thought I'd choose anything over waking up with my husband in my bed.

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