What Does Your Husband Do?: The Secret Identity of the Expat Wife

Of all the questions a modern woman expects to be asked when meeting someone for the first time, “So, what does your husband do?” is not one that would’ve been on my radar. In fact, it would have grievously offended my pre-expat-wife self.

What do you mean, what does my husband do? How is that relevant to who I am as an individual? How does his career, his role, his position – define me? 

And yet, after expat-wifing for 5 years now, it’s a question that no longer causes me to bat an eyelid. In fact, after being asked my name, my kids’ ages, where we live, my often-spoken, almost pre-rehearsed line about his position at X company dances at the tip of my tongue, waiting for its inevitable release.

I am a dependant. I am someone else’s Plus One. I am so-and-so’s wife or so-and-so’s mother. The homemaker, the baby-caretaker, the healthy-toddler-muffin-baker.

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Debunking common myths about flying with a small child

Ah, travel. How my perspective of you has changed over the last few years.

There were those exciting trips to unknown and faraway places as a student; then there were the long-haul flights to visit my parents once a year; then there was that year or so during my job before Tuna was born where I started spending more time in planes than in any other mode of transport.

I have a confession to make. At that particular stage, I was 100%, through-and-through, one of those awful irritable passengers that saw a family travelling with anyone under the age of 12 as a threat to my in-flight serenity. Heaven forbid your child (a) sits behind me and kicks my seat mercilessly and/or seems to constantly have his/her tiny little hands rummaging through the back pocket; (b) makes a single noise that disturbs my in-flight entertainment zen, or worse, screams and is inconsolable (“are you going to do something?! Kids don’t cry for no reason, you know!“); or (c) generally does not behave. Like an adult, that is. Because that’s what cranky passengers like ex-me seem to expect. Continue reading