Friday 2 July 2021

BritMums Expat Round-up; Roll Up, Roll Up!

I've picked up a new role; hosting the BritMums Expat Blog Round-up.  I know, I'm British, and I now live back in the UK, but hear me out...

Clearly, I'm not an expat blogger any more.  We arrived back home six (SIX!) years ago and my days of battling with Moscow traffic, minus twenty degree temperatures, and intransigent security guards are long behind me.  And yet.

They changed me, those years, and I'm not sure that their impact will ever truly disappear.  I loved it, you see, in all of it's glorious extraordinary-ness, even as I panicked whilst being pulled over by the police officer with the white stick, or as I tried (and failed) to convince a passport officer to let us catch a flight when one son's visa was a day overdue and there had been a misunderstanding at the embassy.  At the time, of course, it was scary and frightening and I cursed my husband to high heaven for putting me in that situation, but I came through it all and was stronger for it.

Expat life in Russia, for me, resulted in lasting friendships and a deep and abiding fondness for a country that those who have never visited might struggle to understand.  I don't pretend to understand it either, and am certainly not an apologist for it, but it will always have a place in my heart. 

Throughout the six years we spent abroad I was supported by the expat blogging network.  No caps here - it wasn't official - but it was there all the same; women (mostly women) like me who had found themselves lifted out the life they had previously assumed was their normal, into a maelstrom of packing, unpacking, and transitory situations.  Many of them had been living this life for far longer than me, and some of them still are.  They wrote in their blogs about their trials and triumphs in a way that made me feel less alone, no matter how different our day-to-day lives were in actuality, and they helped me through it all.

My distance from all that now makes me feel a bit of a fraud, hosting a BritMums Expat Round-up, but when the opportunity came up it seemed like a natural fit.  Even though I'm not an expat any more, in many ways I still feel that disconnect with my surroundings, and I suspect that I always will.

If you are an expat blogger (or are even an ex-expat blogger, with something to say about your experiences abroad), and would like the opportunity to be included in the BritMums Expat Roundup, post a link in the box below before Saturday 10th July.  I'll put a post up here and on Insta etc when the RoundUp goes live. Comments are also welcome, not only here at The Potty Diaries but - I'm sure - on any participating blogs that you might read, as well.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Handbags at tea-time

 Husband and I are walking the dog when he tells me.

'You won't believe the ad that popped up next to my emails today.  A targeted ad.  It was outrageous.'

'Really?  What was it for?'

He's tall, my husband, but right now he stands - if possible - even taller.  I wonder why he's adopting that posture; elongating his neck, lifting his chin.  

'It was... an ad for a neck and facial exercise regime.  To help you get rid of jowls.'  He's affronted.  'Jowls?  I don't have jowls!'

He's right, he doesn't, which makes it ok to laugh.  'You're not serious?'

He pulls out his phone.  'Yes!  Look, I'll show it to you...'

I cut him off.  'God no, please don't.  I believe you, of course you got the ad.  I meant, are you seriously surprised?  We are in our fifties, after all.'

He's incredulous.  'Yes, but that doesn't mean they have to send me that shit.'

Now it's my turn to be affronted.  'OK.  This is yet another difference between men & women.  I get that crap in my feed every day.  EVERY SINGLE DAY.  I could show you a long list of ads that are offensive about the concept of what I, as a 50-something women, am expected to look like, care about, deal with - so many in fact, that I've stopped registering them,'

He seems surprised.  'Like what?.

'Oh god.  The list is endless.'  I think for a moment.  'So just before we came out, a repeat offender popped up.  Promoting an app for a keto diet.' I describe the infographic that shows a woman in different decades; teens, twenties, thirties, forties, fifties and sixties.  (Apparently there's no need to show the woman in her seventies because obviously she'll be in a home with a zimmer frame by then and not offending the world with her continued aging process. Or dead.).

'It's all fine until they picture what a woman in her fifties is supposed to look like.  Portly, flat-footed, slightly hunched, stocky-legged, wearing her hair in a ruddy bun, and-' by now my voice is so high with indignation that it's possible only the dog can hear me - 'with a fucking handbag looped over her arm like the queen.  Or a nana, about to hand you £5 as special treat on your 21st birthday.  At fifty.  I'm fifty four.  Do I look that?'

Both husband and the dog wisely stay silent.