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.