17 December, 2015

It's a complicated life

Yesterday I witnessed and signed some papers for some friends. They're returning to their home country for an unspecified period of time from next June. They've sold their little "starter" house back home and bought something bigger in order to accommodate their older (and larger) family. The papers I signed were related to that.

Our post office.
They've done this remotely. Choosing a rental is difficult enough at a distance, I can't imagine what buying a house would be like. After I'd signed my name a few times they explained how even though this was a hard way to buy a house, waiting till they got home would have been harder. It would have meant, in the midst of adjusting to being in their passport culture again, moving into their little house, and trying to sell that while living there. Then trying to find a new place, perhaps having to rent in the meantime. Doing it now means they can move straight into their new place when they get back. Much less fuss.

It was a reminder that many things in life become more complicated by our lifestyle as expats. My friend apologised for inconveniencing me (he wasn't really) and thanked me several times. I countered with that it really wasn't a big deal, not like trying to do something like fill out a form in Japanese or go to an unknown Japanese hospital.

Small things become complicated, like: Which one is the low fat milk? Or, Where do I buy nutmeg? Thankfully some of those things get sorted out early. But other things that seem small, like visiting a new doctor or filling out a form, still aren't as easy as they might be in Australia.

Education is another example. There's no doubt that education is more complicated when you're living outside your home country. It's complicated enough when you live in rural or remote areas in Australia, but in another country all together, that's messy. We're thankful that we've had the benefit of a nearby affordable school (courtesy of David being a teacher there). 

Tertiary education is another level of complicated altogether when you don't live in the country where your child is expecting to go to university!

I wrote earlier this year about tentative plans for our eldest son after high school (prompted by many, many questions throughout our home assignment). That proposed plan is complicated and fraught with difficulties and potential difficulties. I'm thankful that just this week we've been talking about it again and come up with a couple of significant ways to make it less difficult. I'm feeling less concerned than I was, about how we and our son were going to manage that huge transition.

But there are some things that are simpler, just a few. One is what I'm about to do now: go and ask for our mail to be stopped for the next week. Even though I'm doing this in Japanese, I love the system here—it costs nothing and then they'll deliver it all to us when we get back! And I don't even need to pay for any petrol to get there, I'm going to ride my bike for free. I'll be back in only a few minutes too. Simple.

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