Monthly Archives: November 2012

Home for a Week

For anyone who’s ever been on an expat assignment, I think you’ll know where I’m coming from when I say a short home leave can sometimes quite literally be a trip from hell. Last week, my husband had a workshop to attend in Houston and I was fortunate enough to be able to go with him (perks of traveling so much = air miles, miles and more miles.)

From baby showers, dinner parties, doctor visits, and car inspections… it was a whirlwind of a hectic week. In many ways, my duties as a petroleum wife kicked right into full throttle. Bills were organized, sifted through old mail, reinstated the internet service, car insurance renewed, arranged continued payments to the lawn mower, finally took care of the basket full of laundry that had been sitting there since July. Yes, July. What can I say, our move to Calgary also came about quite suddenly.

Touched base with the few friends still willing to show us some kindness through patience with our crazy schedules. Let’s not forget the obligatory phone calls to be made and housewarming and baby gifts to be given. As I’m sure many of my fellow expatriates will know, the life and friends you left behind don’t usually stop at a standstill waiting for your return. But it was definitely nice to catch up on all the news we had missed.

The day we left, I scrambled to get my act together for our 4:30am pick up. Passports in hand, and snacks in the other, alarm on, doors locked. Crap. Did I turn on the dishwasher? Too late now. The driver’s waiting, and the plane waits for no one.

For the next three weeks it’s back to my executive high rise, living the life of a part-time wife as my husband goes back on rotation. The upside? No cooking and minimal cleaning (who are we kidding), and making the most of my last few weeks of adventure!

But I’ll still be thinking about the scary mildew monster feeding off of my dishwasher back home.

Mildew Monster Dishwasher

Not a pretty picture.

Last Minute Suzy

I love last minute changes

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to explain to friends and family our crazy last minute schedules. Especially for those who haven’t been exposed to the workings of our oil and gas expat community.  Often times, with last minute business trips popping up, it becomes more complicated than not to plan for dinner parties and lunch dates, let alone family vacations. I believe I’ll perpetually be known as last-minute Suzy, and at this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if I lost a few friends because of it.

In the past year alone, we’ve had to seriously consider moving to the United Arab Emirates, Papua New Guinea, and Japan. They all fell through except for Calgary, Houston’s oil and gas equivalent in Canada.  I know that’s a lot of speculation right there. Some oil and gas expat assignments are straightforward and clearcut, you’re given a 2 year contract and that’s it. But my husband’s situation has always leaned towards the ‘exception’ to the rules for the last couple of years now.  I guess that’s what happens when someone is ambitiously successful, and when projects just don’t seem to want to let him go. I don’t want to let him go either, but I remain his ever-supporting partner in crime.

Yesterday evening, November 21st, we just found out that our stay in Calgary would be extended for another month, and possibly until January. We had been scheduled to repatriate on November 30th. While some might find it outrageous that we received word of our extension just 9 days before the end of the month, it has actually become somewhat of a norm for us.

Yes, this of course brings about several different complications.  The landlords of our apartment have been harping for a decision from us for weeks on whether we’d like to extend our rent for another month. It seems that 9 days was too short notice for them (go figure!) so we’re on the hunt once again. My fingers are crossed, prayers have been said and semi-threatening emails have been sent, all in hopes of being able to at least stay in the same building.

I’ll also need to beseech my dear friends and neighbors to continue to look after our house, occasionally start our cars, and check our mail for a few more weeks.

Cancel doctor appointments and dinner parties. Check. Write out and mail more checks for my neighbor to give to my lawn mower. Check.

Find something to keep me occupied in freezing-cold Calgary for 3 more weeks after my French Class ends. Help.


Frequent traveling and relocation has really made Facebook my one, true friend, but my so-called “friend’s list” is generally a group of welcoming strangers I’ve had brief, yet meaningful encounters with.  Unfortunately, many of these encounters aren’t usually the recurring type on account of actually living in different countries and all. With so many acquaintances across the globe, spanning ten’s of countries and more than a couple continents, I now hesitate to reveal too much of my personal goings-on at such a public watering hole.


But it’s such an easy tool to keep in touch with those really good friends and scattered family members who occasionally ask themselves, “Where in the world is Mrs. PetroleumWife this month?” So I’ve come to try to find a balance. Not revealing too much, but maybe posting up to date profile pictures here and there (which I’ve come to find out are pretty handy on blind coffee dates – more on that later.)


That being said, Facebook has been a vital tool in helping me ‘assimilate’ among Calgary’s finest. I found so many different events and groups I was interested in participating in. Honestly, friendly strangers just makes the cold winter days here a little less lonely.

New friends?  Yes, please. At the very least, I promise to stay acquaintances.

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