Thursday, April 19, 2007

What Do You Do...

...I'm a TaiTai

My friend Jody (yes her again) mentioned in one of her posts about our tai tai luncheon and explained that the Tai Tai were also referred as “Trailing Spouse.” It reminded me of some of the conversations I’ve had at one point or another in each country I have lived in so far.

I really don’t like the term “trailing” since it sounds like a big old ball and chain that our husband would have to drag around the world behind them when I see our role in a different light, more like a rock or foundation, to counter-balance the “ball and chain” image. Because let’s face it: an office is an office (ok maybe the new co-workers don’t quite look or for that matter speak the way you are used to) but you are usually sent to all those exotic places because: a) they need you there and b) you are good at what you do (I even heard the term “expert” used from time to time) or at least that’s how the company sell you to the local staff. So as I was saying while the husbands are all comfortably adjusting in their new environment (i.e. the new office and office policy) we, the so-called “Trailing Spouse” have to deal with all the other environmental issues: the new school (kids HAVE to go to school – there is no transition period), the new house, the new grocery shopping (people don’t stop eating because they are in a new country), the new language on a day-to-day basis (again basic supply and food is needed from day 1). So guess who cries is upset in front of the 2nd package of salt she bought, thinking it was sugar (Yes they are right next to each other here) or the powder sugar instead of flour? Well certainly not the husband who might be upset because he didn’t get the office he thought he would get! The so-called “trailing spouse” will have to get a whole new set of friends if she wants to survive, and when this happens, well let’s say that she’s happy to be the Trailing Spouse because she gets to do all those things while the husband is stuck doing this

And in the same kind of spirit, I especially hate it when people ask: So what brought you here in “insert any city in the world” and you answer: “I came with my husband who's working here” and they turn around and stop talking to you because 1) they assume that you must have dropped out of school in the 6th grade, 2) you know nothing about the world current affairs and 3) you lost all of your working neurons when you quit your last job to follow your husband. No matter what you had achieved before your life as a trailing wife, be a FBI agent, NASA specialist highly recognized in your field, Neurosurgeon or even a Nobel Prize winner they will never know because they stop listening when you hinted to them that you were the Trailing Spouse. The only slight advantage I might have in their eyes is that I have 2 children so I’m on a step higher than the trailing spouse without children. But not as high as the ones with 3 or more kids!!!!
One of our first Tai Tai day or Let's Do Lunch as we call it, back in January:

Sharon (trying to hide), Celine, Jodi, Sarah, Anastacia, Paige & Kim