A Monday Minute – Life Is Like A Game Of Skittles…

Or ten pin bowling. And in this game, it’s us who are the skittles (although at the moment I’m feeling more bowling ball shaped, but that’s another issue entirely…).

When you move, you end up in a place with lots of other people you have never met before. It may take a while, but these people become ‘your’ people. There are your fellow skittles, all in a nice little group. And everything, for a little while, stays the same.

If you’re lucky, the first ball that comes hurtling towards you will be one of those that bounces into the gutter, leaving your friends and you intact, all in the same place. If you get a year like that it’s like winning the expat friendship lottery. But this rarely happens (unless you are playing against me). Usually at least one skittle is knocked out in the first round. And then all the remaining skittles brace themselves for the next hit. Will it be a full strike? Will you be scooped off and plonked down again with a whole new set of skittles? Or will you be the last skittle standing?

Not knowing whether you are going to move or not does feel like a big bloody bowling ball is hurtling towards you and you have no idea which way things are going to go. And when it does strike? Well, you feel as if you’ve been knocked sideways.

I feel like I’ve had the golden ticket here in that I have made some great friends and most of us who arrived at the same time are still here. But I have known for a full year that this will be our last year here. So I am like a skittle that is already down, waiting to move…but there has been a long pause between bowls. Perhaps the bowler has gone for a beer or a toilet break. (Yes I am going to stretch this analogy as far as I can and yes I am aware that it is probably going to stop making sense some time very soon!). So I feel like I’ve known the score for ages, while the majority of my friends are still in ‘wait and see’ mode.

And it’s generally this time of year that things start to change. It’s definitely a cycle – especially if you have school age kids. After summer, everyone is in that (relatively) carefree mood, which usually lasts up until the winter holidays. And then the ‘will we move – won’t we move’ starts up again. The period between January and April is more tentative in mood, people not sure what’s going on. The bowling balls are about to start coming thick and fast…

When you find out you are moving, it’s so easy to check out. To think about the next place, to focus on packing, to close yourself off a little because, you know, leaving is hard and saying goodbye hurts. But I think hell no to that. I’m going to stick with my skittles as long as I can. And I’m going to upgrade my game for the next few months. ¬†This is not just going to be bowling, this is going to be disco bowling. I may be down, but I am definitely not out yet…

I’ll leave you with this. Definitely NOT disco bowling, but can you believe it’s 20 years since the Big Lebowski came out? I couldn’t write a blog which referenced bowling without a quote from this film (which I may have to rewatch whilst simultaneously weeping over how fast the last two decades have flown by). So, this is in answer to those of you who thought I’d stretched the bowling analogy too far…

 

 

 

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