I had written a lovely, cheerful post about how the doctor tricked me into thinking I was having triplets and how relieved I was to be having ‘just’ one.
I’m overjoyed to be having another child. This is not the story, though.
Back to the crap. After all, that’s the interesting bit. And more importantly, Expaters, this is the bit I reckon you can empathise with.
Expat life: it ain’t all sunshine and mojito
All in all your love your host country. You’ve made some great friends. You’re starting to feel more at home. But there are days, when oh boy, you say to yourself (or out loud?), ‘I hate this f*cking place’.
In my case, I actually never used Chile’s name in vain. Despite the rather poorly stocked supermarkets, the mind boggling traffic rules and the lack of sugar free oat milk (#FirstWorldProblems), I love my new latino home deeply.
But hear my story…
Wednesday: I’m excited to move into my new apartment, but I soon realise that everything is rather wonky. None of the issues that our realtor promised would be fixed have been. There are no plugs for the baths, showers spit water in every direction. Floor boards are loose, wires are exposed. Windows don’t open, windows don’t close. Light bulbs have disappeared, along with my initial excitement.
Friday: We had to give up our temporary apartment so we have to make it work. Three removal guys arrive to unpack 257 boxes. I’ve never been good at mathematics, but I should have realised that 257 boxes divided by three multiplied by seven hours work doesn’t add up. In short, at 7pm we’re left with over 100 boxes to unpack, and two tired, hungry children’s bellies to fill. Of course the plates, cutlery and cooking utensils as well as the sheets are in one of the last boxes.
Saturday: We crack on with the unpacking. The kids think Christmas has come early, even if the presents suck.
Sunday: I’m beyond exhausted. I trip over suitcases, boxes, bags and unidentifiable objects.
Sunday afternoon: I collapse. I bleed. I’m scared, but I really, really just need to sleep. I call out for my husband but he’s been called to the office. My three year old brings me water and I start to come round. I realise he’s also given me a pillow, a cover and a Paw Patrol teddy. I start to feel better and I’m too tired to go to the hospital. My one year old joins in and we all rest on the bathroom floor together, each with a Paw Patrol soft toy.
Monday: My all round superstar nanny cum cleaning lady cum cook gets to work on our disaster home. But she needs cleaning materials, of which we have none. My one year old is asking for bananas every two seconds ‘Nana! Nana! Mama! Mama! Nana! Nana!’ My three year old wants squash, but the cupboards are empty. My belly is aching a little, but it soon eases so I head to the shops, if only to make the Nana! Squash! siren stop. I realise my wallet is as empty as my cupboards and I can’t find a cash point so I to walk the kilometres to the nearest home-wares store and supermarket. It’s 31° Celsius.
A Whatsapp message pings from the husband ‘I need to go to Peru’. I reply along the lines of I’d rather you didn’t (with a few expletives mixed in). The truth is, with my cramps I’m very worried that I may need to go to hospital at some stage and I don’t think I can cope with the kids on my own.
Tuesday: Husband is called to Peru. Washing machine breaks. Men come to repair it. I trip over some boxes. Kids scream a lot.
Tuesday, 12pm: I go to see doctor. I explain how I’ve been feeling and how worried I am. I sob, wail and shake all over, mostly with relief when I hear the little one’s heartbeat. The doctor is furious for me acting so irresponsibly. My baby is lucky to be alive. I need to slow down. He’s furious. Then he relents, hugs me and makes it clear:
Tuesday night: Cramps are getting worse. I’m scared to be on my own. I ask the husband to come back home urgently. I eventually feel better and fall asleep on a bed without sheets (ten zillion pillow cases and no mattress covers…)
Tuesday, 11pm: My three year old starts to cry, complaining of an itchy bum. He’s got worms. I’ll spare you the details in case you’re eating. Let’s just say it’s not pretty. I hunt around for medication which might help in the meantime.
Wednesday, 1- 3am: My one year old is crying pretty much non stop. He’s had an allergic reaction in the day it seems and again, let’s just say it’s not pretty down below.
Wednesday, 5am: ‘Mummy! Mummy! There’s water all over the kitchen. I need my wellies, please!’ I rush through to kitchen, wade through the puddles and pull out the electric plugs which water is spurting out on to.
Wednesday morning: F*ck this, I’m off to a hotel. I book the first child friendly place I find. Somehow with kids screaming, falling over boxes, and arguing over clothes (‘No! I want the superhero T-shirt!’), it takes me all day to pack a suitcase for one night.
Wednesday evening: Kids are loving the adventure. ‘Mummy this is great. Puddles in the house! Hotel! Yeay!’
Thursday morning: Hotel is lovely, but I don’ feel rested. Perhaps my child’s midnight complaints of an itchy bum have something to do with it. I call husband to pick us up, who has come back earlier from Peru as I’m really not well. No answer. He’s been called back to the office. I feel desperate, so I call my lovely relocation lady. No answer. I decide I’ll get worming medication for the boys and take a taxi home myself.
Thursday, 11am: I really don’t feel well. Pharmacies don’t stock the medication. I’ll need to take my child to the hospital.
Thursday 11.45am: Kids are getting hungry, but my eyes are glazing over the menu in the first restaurant I get to. What the hell, the kids can have take away cookies for lunch. Kids are really loving the adventure now. Relocation lady calls and kindly agrees to pick us up straight away.
Thursday 12pm: I feel, I feel…. oof and I’m down on the floor. Next minute a lovely passerby has called paramedics, while keeping an eye on my kids. Relocation lady arrives and sweeps me off the floor. Literally.
What a week.
Moving house and moving on
I’m confused, upset, and above all very, very angry. Until I found out exactly what went went wrong, it’d be reckless for me to speculate whose fault it was and who was ultimately responsible.
Now, Expaters, I do hope your week has been better. I bet, however, that you’ve had weeks like mine, where everything seems to go wrong. You too have felt angry and desperate.
As for me, I’m taking away advice from my wise relocation lady and my doctor. Now is not the time to get angry, or to get even. It’s time to think of my baby, and myself. To get some rest. To come back later with a clearer head and decide what to do.
Watch this space.
Night, night Expaters.
OMG! I feel you. I’m a chilean mom currently living in Sao Paulo, and about to move back to Chile. I was looking for some tips and tricks of my own country but from expat point of view and luckily found your blog. It is amazing what you have done here. My kids are 3 and 2 years old. I completely understand your horrible week. I hope everything is going better now.
Thank you! It’s good to hear I’m not alone. Expat life is tough but it’s always reassuring to hear from fellow Expaters!
Why don’t you get in touch when you’re back in Chile? I was just speaking yesterday to a Chilean friend who lived in Brazil and found the ‘repat’ thing quite tough. She was so happy to be in touch with people from around the globe.
Hope your move back goes smoothly and thank you again x