We thank Terry Anne Wilson for this article. A seasoned expat, Terry is an Author, Speaker, Traveller and blogger at https://terryannewilson.com and https://notesonaboardingpass.com
In May of last year, a friend and I decided to write to each other, each Monday morning for six months. The result is our published book, Monday Morning Emails. Co-author, Jo Parfitt and myself, penned our ‘letters’ on the move – from France, Canada, England, Wales, from her home in the Netherlands and from mine, at the time, in India. We had made a commitment to write; wherever we happened to be and through whatever we were personally experiencing. That was the essence – we both knew the therapeutic power of writing.
Initially, we imagined our book would mostly focus on the empty nest stage. Between the two of us, we have raised five sons in twelve different countries while supporting our husbands’ careers. We’ve circled the globe – from the US to Oman, Malaysia to Qatar, The Netherlands to India. The topic of how we viewed our futures after those parenting years was part of our initial conversation.
Yet we discovered that as the months progressed, our writing turned to myriad subjects including loss of identify for our children, as well as for us. We meandered to rootlessness, anxiety and depression, ageing parents, health and wellness, traumatic childhood experiences, and creating homes for our families against an ever-changing backdrop. There was also much joy to write of, both past and present.
Jo and I acknowledged from the outset that our honest and emotional exchange needed to enlighten, to offer solace, and to remind families that they are not alone in navigating the challenges of an overseas life.
I recall a poignant comment from my youngest son who I write of in the book.
“Mom, I don’t mind if you write my story. If it can help someone not go through what I did, or help parents, then I’m happy to share it.”
Andrew’s story is one often experienced among young adults who had never lived in their passport country, yet choose ‘home’ for university. As our son struggled to define his identity and personal narrative, it took a failed year of university, a stint in the Canadian military, then menial work before eventually returning to study. His is just one story… a cautionary tale of preparing your children for ‘re-entry.’
Monday Morning Emails not only offers life experiences from us as authors, but we also called upon eight experts. These psychologists, educational consultants, mentors and veteran expats, offered their wisdom and analysis.
“This book could be used for any expat mom’s club or study guide. It is unique in topic and openness and never about blame, which is why it has such power.”
Ruth Van Reken, author of Letters and co-author of
Third Culture Kids: Growing up Among Worlds
“Your writing is reflective and thoughtful and moved me. I treasured being allowed inside such an intimate conversation between two moms.”
Ellen Mahoney, www.seachangementoring.com
Since the publication of Monday Morning Emails, not only have Jo and I shared our insights on writing, we have continued to muse. Each Monday finds one of us at https://mondaymorningemails.com.
Monday Morning Emails is published by https://www.summertimepublishing.com, available there and also at Amazon and bookdepository.com