Sunday, June 19, 2011

Installment One

I have to begin somewhere, so why not today when I have been 53-years-old for just over twenty-four hours? Yesterday wasn’t the greatest birthday I have ever celebrated but it wasn’t the worst either. My lovely daughter took me out to a fancy restaurant because she didn’t want me to be alone.

She’s worried about her old mother in this new life which no longer includes her father since he recently ditched me, in Beijing of all places. Naturally, it was for a woman half his age and younger than our daughter.

There is a reason clichés were invented. Bumper stickers too, like “Shit Happens”. They can be incredibly useful for summing up one’s life.

Maybe I could write bumper stickers instead of a taking a job as a barista at the Starbucks in the market. God knows I have served enough coffee in my life. I keep threatening to become a professional milk whipper because I’m now completely broke and it would seem, unemployable because of my age and a blank CV.

My daughter isn’t the only one fretting about what I am going to do now with the rest of my life (yes, it is the perfect title for this blog if I do say so myself). My son Brian isn’t exactly thrilled about his mother’s new and extremely reduced circumstances.

Barely out of college, the poor guy has his whole working life ahead of him (once he figures out what he wants to work at) but already he’s been offering his mother the money he has been saving up for a car. What a good son I raised. But I’ll crawl to the supermarket before I will let him give me his hard-earned money.

Brian is so angry with his father right now, but what else is new? He’s been mad at him his entire life because he was simply never there. He was always on a business trip or working late for whatever oil company was controlling our lives at the time, always too tired if he was home on a weekend to coach any of Brian’s school teams.

I suppose I’ll have to get to that story at some point in this cyber diary with its clever title chosen precisely because I haven’t got a fucking clue what to do with the rest of my sorry little life.

Jesus, am I even allowed swearing on a blog? Too damn bad if I’m not supposed to since I’ve already been at it. My son isn’t the only one with anger issues obviously or so says the shrink I lined up before I even arrived in Ottawa.

Wait, am I supposed to even say where I’m living? Is there an instruction manual anywhere other than Blogging for Dummies which I saw in the bookstore? And does there happen to be a version for menopausal idiots who can barely remember to finish a sentence?

Please leave a comment and a link, dear reader. All one of you and that does not include you, Deborah (that’s my daughter). You don’t count. It’s your fault for even talking me into this in the first place.


  1. Absolutely love it and can so relate to you ;-)
    Please continue, can't wait to read what this year has in store for you!
    Looking forward to the next entry!

  2. Love it, Joelly! Keep writing.

    Sadly, your story should hit a nerve with the many expat women left to pick up the pieces after a divorce abroad. x

  3. Joelly,
    When in Blogania, do as the bloggers do....hunt around and you'll find the way...

  4. Dear Joelly

    Have you thought of starting a book club? Or hiring a coach? Or having a pity party? Oh, sorry, you don't know anyone to invite, do you? Have you heard of the website? I think maybe you should send a question to their Expat Confessions column? Oh, and don't worry about your blank CV, I'll bet you have lots of experience. The youngsters these days have tons of qualifications (and huge great loans to prove it) but no experience. Good luck anyway, Joelly, I'm rooting for you.


  5. Ladies, (or I am assuming you are ladies) thanks so much for posting when I thought only my daughter would!! Great advice from everyone!

    I thought I'd start by posting twice a week so check back tomorrow. Still trying to figure out how to blog!!

  6. Yes, Joelly, this is a sucky time to be forcibly repatriated. My heart goes out to you. It appears we're in the same boat. From the response to your blog, that vessel is more like a cruise ship.

    Give yourself time to work out the anger. Exercise a new swear word every day! Celebrate the day you feel like showering again. Keep your freezer stocked with Ben and Jerry. Start listening to The Killers and The Strokes. Loud.

    DON'T WATCH OPRAH! She'll just ruin all the fun.

    Keep blogging. We're here for you, sister!

  7. Wow, I'm still shocked more than one woman read this! I guess there are a lot of us wondering: what fresh hell is this? Oh, it's called repatriation.

  8. I am glad I caught the first episode today and cannot wait to read more about your life, Joelly! It is so nice to read someone else writing about this topic and to see there can be words to describe such an experience!

  9. Joelly, your life is the life of so many international women, but your ability to articulate it and make us laugh out loud while you do so....that, my dear, makes you completely, totally, unique. Keep it coming!!

  10. Good luck in your adventure. I'll be back to check in on you.

  11. Hmmm... Did I write this? Thanks for sharing your thoughts! There should be a support group for newly-single-mom-former-expat-trailing-spouses like us. :)

  12. I love this--I'm hooked already. Will pass the word around!!

  13. Joelly sounds like a strong woman !! I am rooting for you, new beginnings are the best ! I am an ex-pat living in a country NOT on the best places to live, I moved here bc I married a local, I left my career and my whole life in the USA and have been struggling ever since, and NO for those who think I married well (like most ex pats with foreigners), I was not that fortunate, I married for love. Unfortunately after more than a decade in a marriage with someone with no initiative, goals or aspirations, who requires a second mom. I have decided on a new beginning with a divorce and heading back to US to live my american dream with my child !! cannot wait to start my new beginning !

  14. I love the concept for this blog.

  15. I have really mixed feelings about a fictional blog. Same feelings I had when a pastor in my church in Shanghai would frequently use internet stories to illustrate his points - there are so many TRUE stories out the there that it seems manipulative to make one up. But then I've read books that use email format and I dont have a problem with them. I guess I worry about blurring the lines between truth and fiction in today's media saturated world.
    I personally know 8 expat women who's husbands left them while on assignment in China so if it helps people cope then it's probably a good thing.

  16. How true... Birthdays can trigger off anxious thoughts.

    Blogging is a good way to state the emotions that one is feeling. There are no rules about what to blog about and how to say things.

    Thank you for sharing these insights. Belated Happy Birthday!