We are 6 weeks out from our repatriation to Australia. It’s not going home, it’s leaving home.
As Callum said to me, “I don’t want to leave my home!” It’s rough on him – he’s 7 and it’s been almost 4 years since our last home assignment, so he doesn’t remember much about Australia.
On the other hand, almost-11 year old Elliot said, “I’m good at transition, I’m well practiced, it’s not new, but I still don’t like it, and this is an extra big one.” He, heartbreakingly, has an arsenal of skills, for times like these, for himself and to help his brother.
The thing the boys have had the hardest time getting their heads around is the permanence of this move, of not having a foreseeable plan to return to Tanzania. After all, our past transitions have always been about a short time in Australia before coming home to Tanzania. When we first starting talking about this transition, they were confused by the idea of staying in Australia, because Tanzania is their anchor. This is a transition unlike any other that we’ve done; permanence and stability is weird for my boys.
Unlike many cross-cultural families, our repatriation is planned. We are not being forced to suddenly leave by visas or tragedy or conflict or ill-health. Our children have always known that ‘when Elliot is about 10 and Callum is about 7, our time in Tanzania will be up.’ Our hearts are still breaking, but we have also been able to prepare. Over the next few posts I’ll share some of what we’re doing as a family as we face this transition.
To start, here’s our calendar, counting down the last two months, with significant moments written in. The boys’ faces are doing half happy and half sad, because on that day, that’s how they said they felt.
We started two months out, because, if a transition is expected, we’ve learned that it actually starts about 2 months before the big change occurs, as well as taking the same amount of time afterwards.
Their shirts say ‘Go bananas’ and ‘Stay chill’, and that about sums up how things feel in transition.
Categories: Cross-cultural parenting Written by Tamie
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.
This is a massive transition for your whole family. We have followed your lead by understanding the crazies that come both 2mths before a move and after a move. Its really helped us. Looking forward to reading how you guys go in the upcoming blog posts. One of the reasons I started blogging was you guys. Its been wonderful serving alongside you guys in, even if we are in different continents. Looking forward to catching up later this year, hopefully.