Last night I had dinner with my husband and my mother-in-law. (I do not have any family myself- his family is my family.) My mother in law is the last one we told about our plans to live internationally again, not because we don’t respect her, but because she would be the most hurt by the decision. In the last year and a half that we have lived in the same city as my husband’s family (a rarity for us) we have gotten much closer to his family members. WWe have game nights, BBQs, brunches, we go places… y’know, normal family stuff. That has been a rare treat for us and the one thing that made us hesitate about finalizing our decision to move thousands of miles away again. Last night we had our ‘burritos and Star Trek’ night with the mom-in-law and we dropped the bomb, letting her know we will be moving back to Panama by August at the latest. She took it surprisingly well. After all, back in the Panama days, she came down and lived there for a year and loved it. She will miss us. We will miss her. The thing is (and I explained this to her) we are not happy where we are. Our life is ‘down there’ where our house, our friends, our hobbies are- the place we put down some tickle of roots. It was a relief to finally have everyone in the family aware of the plan.
However, it was not so easy the first time, years ago – 2003 to be exact, when we moved international for the first time. Telling family and friends was an adventure in strange looks. Most of them took it well, but with expected and perfectly reasonable words of caution. Others told us we were making a huge mistake and at least one said we were mentally unstable, which could be true. But overall, family supported us in our plans. The truly weird part was when we mentioned our plans to acquaintances- not friends, but rather the people we just kind of see around. In gamer terms, I like to call them NPC’s = Non Player Characters. The reactions we got from those people were nothing short of mind numbingly weird.
“Panama? But that Noriega guy has all Americans killed and dumped in mass graves!” I had to explain to her that this is not what happened, and that this was not 1988 and that Manuel Noriega was at the time in prison in FLORIDA. And then she refused to believe me.
“Panama? Isn’t that place just straw huts and swamps?” WTF? No.
“Don’t they kidnap people down there? I saw this Meg Ryan movie…” Just… no.
We got a lot of purely ignorant comments like this, and we wisely chose to ignore them. The only opinions which matter to me are the ones of people I love and of people with actual expert knowledge. Others tend to be naysayers for the sake of naysaying. I am happy that my family supports our decision. I feel better now that they are all informed.