It’s been a while, and a lot has happened in the life of this petroleum wife. It’s been 5 years since I’ve checked in. In those 5 years, I’ve had 2 babies, lost a loved one, moved all around the world and in summation: fully embodied my role as a petroleum wife. We’ve had adventure after adventure, lots of laughs, some tears, some illnesses and happiness. In 2014 we relocated (once again!) to Calgary from Houston with our 4 month old baby girl. We left Calgary at the end of 2015 to Jakarta, Indonesia. We had our second baby girl in Singapore in 2016. By the end of that summer, we headed back to Houston, only to be moved back in October to Jakarta! In January 2017 we landed in Houston and last year we moved 3 times around the greater Houston area, finally bought a house, totaled a car and reconnected with old friends and made some new ones. Now, we are preparing once again to head back to Asia (this time Taiwan) in the summer. It’s a whirlwind and exciting, but more to come on all of that later.
This week, as I looked through the notifications I had for this site, I came across two unread emails. Both of them were from fellow petroleum wives asking me for some advice on how to cope. I’m not sure I could’ve given much worthy advice 5 years ago. I was barely coping myself! This blog was born on a lonely night, out of desperately hoping to cope. I answered, despite the number of years that had gone by. I apologized and wished them well. And for what it was worth, I gave them what advice I could, acknowledging they probably no longer needed it.
One woman responded; thanking me for my email but informing me that they had divorced. I was frankly too late. In 5 years, as our family was growing, hers was crumbling apart. She is coparenting well with her spouse now. I’m not sure how to feel. I’m proud of women who can stand up for what they need. For what they can no longer tolerate. Her divorce took me back a second. Petroleum wife-ing isn’t always international adventures and exotic expat living. Countless lonely nights, missed moments, and one too many good bye parties take their toll eventually. Kudos to this woman, for recognizing that for her, it just wasn’t worth it. Kudos to me, for still recognizing it still is for us.
My husband and I just got back to Houston from a family visit in Montreal, Canada. I love that city. From the bilingual element and temperamental weather, to the decidedly young population living among beautiful old buildings. Montreal has a whole lot to offer.
We generally go twice a year to visit my in-laws, staying on average about one to two weeks at a time. In between the good ol’ family bonding, we usually squeeze in an awesome activity here and there. From learning how to snow board at the nearby resort of Mont Tremblant, train rides to Quebec City, and of course plenty of Cirque du Soleil performances: all barely scratching the surface!
This time around, our visit happened to coincide with one of the coldest winter weeks Montreal has seen in a very long time. With temperatures ranging from -30C to -10C (-22F to 14F) we were perfectly happy to spend most nights bundled up at home introducing my in-laws to the power and wonder of instant streaming on Netflix.
With my father-in-law approaching his mid-70s and my mother-in-law suffering from high cholesterol and diabetes, it wasn’t just the cold that kept us inside this time around. We went to stay with them expecting this trip to be a bit more low-key than usual. This time around, it was a vacation for the soul, of rest, and home cooked meals. And sometimes that’s just perfectly fine.
You see, my husband is really one of the good ones, the kind that doesn’t come around too often. He is the kind of son that grew up realizing his parents were his best friends. The kind who finds joy and content in helping them program different gadgets around the house and taking them to doctor appointments. The kind whose heart literally breaks when he has to leave his parents alone in a frosty city.
So if I can play a small part in making our week together more enjoyable, that’s what I’ll do. Because that’s love.
So to my husband: what’s yours is mine. Your joy is mine, your heartbreak is mine.
At least from 9 to 5 that is. Actually it’s more like 6am to 6pm, but who’s counting. My husband has finally gone back to work. After 18 days off straight and chock full of exciting things like moving back to the country, good bye dinner parties and hello Houston parties, and most of all, having the time to veg and surf through Netflix, we are finally back to our ‘normal.’ i.e. living together once again since normal of course being that there really is no normalcy at all!
While I’m totally enamored and in love with my bodacious husband, I have to admit I’m a bit relieved that he’s finally back at work. Leaving me with a few hours of alone time to finally get going with the real house work and catching up on different appointments. And, ahem, some badly needed eyebrow maintenance. Sounds mean, right? Hear me out.
Since we’re a couple that doesn’t usually get much alone time, either due to his crazy work schedule (or mine in the past), frequent travels, family visiting from out of town, or us visiting family, when we do have time alone we spend it cuddled up talking or watching documentaries for hours. It’s wonderfully romantic and it’s absolutely our most favorite thing to do.
Things just get a tad impractical when you’ve got 18 days worth of phone calls to return and a mountain of chores that just keeps growing. But who needs to be productive when you’re emotionally sated with hearts that glow? Things just got real mushy.
Now that I think about it, I think I’m going through withdrawal.