courage does not always roar. sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow”.

mary anne radmacher


I always wonder whether she had experienced relocation firsthand. For me, her words sum up so many days of the first six months of relocation, especially the first time around. You spend such a lot of your time feeling utterly out of place; the proverbial fish out of water, that you begin to think that panic and desperation are a way of life.

The first relocation I underwent involved renting out our house, which we had just spent a not so small fortune and eight years of our life renovating. We were lucky – a prospective tenant arrived who was being relocated in exactly the same way that we were, only it was probably nearer to her tenth relocation. I liked her so much that I left the house exactly as we had lived in it: books, photographs, art, the whole nine yards. In return, she gave me the best relocation advice that I received.

“The first six months are the worst”.

Those of you who are still considering relocation must now be rolling your eyes in horror and resolving to stay put for the rest of your working life. But, she was right. The first six months were the steepest learning curve I have ever encountered; a blur of tedious tasks that seemed impossible, of wondering whether I was ever going to make any friends, of feeling lonely, isolated, and just plain scared. But you also discover your courage. The ability to get up and keep going when all you really want to do is go back to bed and never speak to another soul, the sheer force of will it takes to plaster a smile on your face and go and meet another roomful of strangers or try and get life’s basic necessities with barely a word of the language. It also taught me that people are kind, and that the world is not the crime ridden, corrupt place that is often portrayed in the media. Sure, there are those out there who delight in making you feel uncomfortable, but hey, we went to high school with plenty of those too. What I found when I finally ventured out of my hiding place was that there were plenty of people just like me, who were just doing their best, and feeling pretty stupid while doing it.

It reminded me of learning to surf.  There are those that are only concerned with how fabulous they look on the board and will abuse anyone who interferes with that. And while they are good at what they do, in their quest for perfection, they’ve taken all the fun out of it. There are those that are out there for the sheer joy of the ride, and treat every moment as a challenge. And there are those of us who are still paddling about in the shallows, being buffeted by the breakers and beaten by the board, but are still paddling furiously and knowing that we look ridiculous. But also knowing, that if we stay in long enough, we’ll be out there riding out the rough stuff, and having the time of our lives doing it.

So here’s a picture of Jamie, who the day after losing half her tooth in our second surfing lesson, just got back in, paddled out, and did this..

Congratulations, Jamie – Henry is lucky to have such a fabulous Mom.


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