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.


  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.

    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.