Three years ago today...

>> Monday, 7 January 2013

... the Potski family arrived in Moscow.

Not for a long weekend.  Not for a week.  Not for 'a look-see'.  But to live.  At the time, we thought we might only be here for a few months, so brought very little with us.  (Well, when I say 'very little', I mean 4 enormous hold-baggage suitcases and around 54* items of hand luggage.  A lot for a holiday, certainly - but not when you're planning on making your home somewhere).

Not long after we arrived, it became clear that a few months wouldn't do it.  There was too much to see, to do, and experience to even consider climbing back on the plane only 6 months later, so we decided we would stay a total of 18 months and threw ourselves into making lives here in Russia.  We succeeded - to the extent that when our 18 month window was drawing to a close, we decided it wouldn't be nearly enough.  Another year, then.  That would take us to 2 1/2 years; surely a respectable amount of time to spend anywhere that you don't plan on being your long-term home?

Guess what?  2 1/2 years is a respectable amount of time to spend somewhere.  But so, we decided, was 3 1/2 years.  So last May we paid the Boys' school fees for another year.  That would would take us up to summer 2013 - enough for any family who knows that at some point they will return to the UK schooling system.

And now it's January 2013.  Decision time - do we stay yet another year? - is hurtling towards us at breakneck speed - again.  Has anything changed?  Well, no and yes.  We are still enjoying living here, and in many ways life in Moscow is significantly easier now than it was back in January 2010, both on a general and a personal basis.  3 years on, I know how things work, I understand some of the language (although making myself understood in return still escapes me), and I have made friends I can count on - and who I hope count on me - on in times of need. I have developed business contacts, I've discovered skills I didn't know I had, and to top it all off, Husband is enjoying his work and the Boys are happy and settled.

But on the other hand, we moved here to spend time together as a family and since August Husband has been travelling more often than he's been at home; for the last 4 months I've been solo-parenting Monday-Friday.  Not an easy thing to do week in, week out when you're 1500 miles from your family support network.  Also, time is marching on; if my sons are to return to UK schools the sooner they do that, the better.  And finally, there are the not-so-small matters of missing our families and important events in their lives, and of me working outside the home.  Yes, I could work here, but it would involve compromises I'm not ready to make just yet. And it's an undeniable fact that whilst it would still be a juggling act, returning to formal employment in the UK unencumbered by the need for working visas etc would be a lot simpler than it would be here.

So the decision to stay or go is less straightforward this year - for me, at least - than it was for the previous three...

* '54' may be a slight exaggeration...


Expat mum 7 January 2013 at 18:36  

Sounds like it's a little clearer to me....

Domestic Goddesque 7 January 2013 at 18:46  

Has it really been that long? #wheredoesthetimego

MsCaroline 7 January 2013 at 22:14  

All my sympathies to you. Our contract is up in June and we have begun to wrestle with our decision as to whether or not we will renew for another 2 years. Having just been to the immigration office in Seoul in December, I will say, though, that the idea of being able to work without dealing with work permits and visas sounds very attractive...

Mrs. Munchkin 8 January 2013 at 06:34  

Well, since you put this out there.....I gotta bite! But I will be gentle....I want you here, with me. I don't want you to go...not yet. Absolutely, I know I can depend on you for anything. Can you depend in me? Yes! I will be your family support. We can co be the parent and I will CO-operate with some wine when you need it :-) I'm not ready to say good bye when it seems we just said, there you have it! I have reduced myself to begging, although not on my knees....yet. Of course, this goes without saying I will support your decision to move should you choose. But, no pressure....none at all! XO

Very Bored in Catalunya 8 January 2013 at 09:20  

It almost sounds as though you have made your mind up. I think it's probably easier to leave if you only ever intended it to be temporary in the first place.

Clare Taylor 8 January 2013 at 09:21  

EPM, I may have oversimplified. Not clear at all (and between you, me, and t'internet, I suspect we'll still be here next September...)

DG - I have NO idea.

MsC, will be very interested to see what you decide...

MrsM, definitely no pressure then!

Knackered Mother 8 January 2013 at 21:47  

Goodness, how time flies...big decision. Always sleep on a big decision. Or at least mull it over with wine :)

Iota 9 January 2013 at 14:34  

Will the family time thing be any better in the UK? Will Husband still be travelling?

I get the thing re moving into the English education system. I have spent many an hour angsting over that myself. But with the wisdom of hindsight (ah, hindsight, such a wonderful thing), I would say that there's not really a "best time". As evidence, I would quote my experience. Everyone one said 15 was a difficult age to make the transition, but 15-yo has thrived here. He paddled in the shallows for a few weeks, then jumped in at the deep end. He loves it, is really happy and fulfilled. It's a much more pressured environment than his American school, but he has risen to the challenge in spades, and was telling me the other day how you get so much more out of study if you put more effort in. The move came at just the right moment, I think. Even the fact that he had to go down an academic year seems to have been ok (his birthday is May 31, so he's only a little old for his new year, but even so, it seemed a big deal in advance). 12-yo, on the other hand, seems fine on the outside, is doing well academically, making friends, etc etc, but has talked to me about how hard he finds the more pressured environment, and is struggling with the move. You'd predict that 12 would be an easier age than 15, but generalities don't seem to apply.

Iota 9 January 2013 at 14:35  

Why was your word verification "feckitt"? It's beginning to feel a little personal.

nappy valley girl 10 January 2013 at 09:46  

We've struggled with exactly the same problems, although it's been made a bit easier by expiring visas and the fact that The Doctor cannot actually see patients in the US. But you're right, it's a big decision. The boys are really settled in New York, and I think there will be a huge culture shock for them in particular when we return.

Post a Comment

Go on - you know you want to...

  © Blogger template Simple n' Sweet by 2009

Customised by Grayson Technology

Back to TOP