Saturday, February 11, 2006

Don't make me! I don't wanna!

I had one of those afternoons yesterday where everything I saw tugged at me and made me sad and nostalgic. Even the cracks in the pavement called to me accusingly, knowing I wasn't going to sit myself down with them and wait for moss to grow.

The trigger was a meeting with my supervisor in which she asked the forbidden question. "How much longer does your husband have now on his contract?"

At the moment it's officially only until December. He's been assured he can extend the job until the middle of next year, but we can't be certain the visa people will be equally happy with that arrangement.

It's the longest contract he's had so far, so at the start it seemed like an unbelievable stretch of time here lay ahead of us. For the first time ever we allowed ourselves to buy furniture, sign 24 month contracts for the lease, for phone and internet. We buy books and sometimes nice things for the house without worrying about how we'll ship them to another country. But now the end is all too easy to see.

The main problem is how blank the time after the end of the contract is. People maybe assume that we will be "going home" at the end of our time here. But I don't really know where home is any more.

It's been nearly seven years since I last lived in New Zealand. Nine years for Geekman. And he's not a NZer according to his citizenship, anyway. If he was deported from Australia he'd be sent to Sweden, a place where he barely speaks the language, knows no one except his aunts, uncles and cousins, and has not lived in since he was six years old.

The last place we lived was Denmark. I feel as at home there as anywhere and I'd love to go back. But they only have one university with departments in both Geekman's field and mine, so our chances of getting work there are nearly as bad as they are in NZ (where not a single university has a group working in Geekman's area of physics).

Realistically, our chances of both getting work within commuting distance of each other are probably best in Germany. At least we both speak the language fluently and are comfortable with the culture and university system. I'm not sure I really want to live there again, but we can't afford to be fussy. The States would be another option, except that I've heard the visa/residency thing there is well-nigh impossible...

For now, it's something we try not to think about too much. I'm sick of moving. I'm 25 years old and have lived in 19 different houses; 11 different cities; four different countries. I've had enough for now.

Do you think if I chain myself to the railings outside my house, the machinations of fate will give in and let us stay?

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shrinkykitten said...

This is all so overwhelming! I'm sorry things seem so constrained.

If it helps, I'll marry both of you so you can come to the states! :)

My aunt and uncle used to live in Australia. He's australian, she hated it (which intrigues me as she was very happy in New Guinea, Cameroon, Upper Volta, etc.). She always felt as though education was not at all a priority there (maybe it's a regional thing?). Is that a big issue there?

I think you should still post about your haircut!

New Kid on the Hallway said...

Wow, and I thought that my own marital employment situation was complicated (it is, but at least it really only entails one country, possibly two). In any case, best of luck to you in working this out!

StyleyGeek said...

Thanks for the kind words, guys. Shrinkykitten, that's the first internet proposal I've ever had! It's good to know I have options :)

Australia takes a lot of getting used to. There are still plenty of things I don't like about it (see my Australia Day post for more details). But I've really grown to appreciate the good things about it too. I've even come to see the beauty in the scraggly trees and burned grass that makes up most of the landscape around here. Your aunt's problem may well have been a regional thing, though, as you say. I'd hate to live in the country here or in one of the smaller rural towns. Even the big touristy towns up North are a bit hard to deal with except in small doses. Full of yobbo surfies.

And New Kid, reading your blog, I've continually been amazed at how you cope with living apart from LDH. Geekman and I did the long-distance thing for two years (admittedly with around 10,000 miles between us rather than your situation). But we both hated every minute of it, and have sworn we will never, ever do it again, no matter what it takes. Which again, makes things rather difficult.