Tuesday, March 06, 2007

How to survive being an expatriate's wife, lesson 1

The first few weeks that I was here, I was invited to another Malaysian's house. Her house was beautiful, her furniture and decorations were nice, all knick knacks looked expensive and exotic and well arranged. I came back into my almost bare, standard-furniture-provided-by-the-landlord-and-undecorated house and felt a bit dejected and intimidated.
I felt like I could never invite people over. My house doesnt have pretty things to look at, I don't even have enough plates to serve food! What will they think of me? They would think I don't know how to keep house. They must think I am darat.

It took me a while and alot of whining and back and forth talking with/to my husband, but I have finally learnt my lesson.
To survive being an expatriate's wife, you have to be very confident in yourself and what you have. If you're not, it will be very easy for you to get hurt and depressed.

Most expatriate's wives do not work, therefore their life revolves around their husband, their kids, their home and themselves. Most conversations will also revolve around this subjects. What my husband bought me, how much I spent on my last holiday, what I feed my kids, how I decorated my home, where to get the best bargains.
If you're a person with even the slightest low self esteem, you might misconstrue some conversations and feel like you're being put down.
My husband don't buy me gifts, therefore he doesnt love me as much.
My house is small and bare, therefore I am low class and am not a creative person.
My house is a mess, therefore I am an incompetent housekeeper, or I dont love my family as much as I thought.
I feed my kids junk and I am not a good cook, therefore I am a bad mom.
I don't go shopping, therefore I am boring and poor.

Oh there are many many ways that you can feel intimidated when you're chatting with an expatriate's wife, if you let it.

What I have learned is that you need to look at what you do have and be content and happy with it. You'll never keep up with the Joneses, so why bother. Be the best that *you* can be, and be happy for yourself.
If you can't afford to buy 'things' (or if you have a husband who wont buy things *cough*like me*cough*), take up a hobby and make things yourself. It might not be as pretty, but at least you can look at it and be proud of yourself.

It was a wonder why it took me so long to learn this, when it is the very thing that I have been trying to teach my kids...
tee hee!

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