Tuesday, 28 April 2009

The green eyed monster

Yesterday, an old colleague emailed to tell me that she'd been successful in her first round of Clomid, and was now 14 weeks pregnant. To be fair to her, she did acknowledge that this would be be difficult news for me to hear. And it was, very difficult. Particularly as my first round of Clomid did absolutely nothing except give me hot flashes and make me feel wacky.

Yet again, I find myself in the ridiculous position of being jealous of anyone who gets pregnant. The other day, another friend (male) announced his wife was pregnant on Facebook. I removed him as a friend immediately. Several other distant friends are pregnant too and I'm seriously considering removing them too so I'm not subjected to endless pregnancy pics/baby shower pics/new baby pics/pics of baby's first smile, baby's first bath, etc etc, ad infinitum. Do I sound bitter? Well, I suppose I am. Here we are, a very happy couple who are desperate to become parents, and everything seems to be against us.

The only good news on the fertility horizon is that I seem to be having regular cycles now, albeit 45 day ones! Research suggests these may or may not be ovulatory, so I have no idea if we could get pregnant or not. I haven't taken Clomid again since my first attempt. My doctor in the UK prescribed me double the dose for the next attempt but what with the move etc I just didn't feel I could cope with the extra hormones. This month was a possibility, but my husband will be away on a trip on the key days, so there's no point! That's another slight issue - my husband's new long-haul lifestyle means him being home at the right time is far from guaranteed.

Still, we'll persist, and hope for a miracle. On the job front I have an offer of some freelance work, which is great. I'm also facing a dilemma as a full-time job has come up that I'd be really suited to. I just don't think I want it! I want to be able to travel with my husband, be around for guests when they visit, etc, and generally not be so stressed out every day. Still, if I don't apply I'll feel like I've let myself and my husband down, as it's a great job. What should I do? Answers on a postcard, please...

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Things I love about being a Middle East expat

I'm constantly amazed at how much I enjoy living out here. Regular readers of this blog will know I had many doubts about coming here. In fact, I moved here essentially because we had no choice; either that, or my husband would have remained in the UK job-less, and we all know how hard it is for a pilot to get another job once they've been grounded for a long period of time. No, I HAD to come, and so I didn't really think about what it would be like here. I was perfectly prepared to hate it. I just wanted to be with my husband, and it didn't matter where that was!

Certainly the first week was tricky - I was very homesick and the culture shock was pretty harsh - but I've been here 5 weeks now and day by day, this place is growing on me. So I thought I'd put a little list together of things I like about it!

1) The sunshine. Wow, it's gorgeous, and aside for a few isolated days of rain you can rely on it to shine every day! What a change from the UK.
2) Financial stability. We've gone from relying completely on my salary in the UK, cutting out coupons for Tesco and worrying about my little car's MPG, to a position where I don't even have to work if I don't want to, we eat out all the time and we drive a ridiculously large car that only costs the equivalent of £10 to fill. Blimey, eh. I keep having to pinch myself.
3) My husband's happiness. Words can't describe how relieved I am that he's finally in the skies again, and flying a brilliant aircraft he'd always wanted to fly, to boot! His transformation in the last few months has been fantastic to watch.
4) Cameraderie. Before we came here I was quite worried about what living on a compound full of other pilots and their families would be like. I had an image of the Stepford Wives! But in fact, it's been great. If I ever feel lonely I can just walk out the door and head to the pool, and there's always someone there to talk to who understands exactly where I'm coming from.
5) Staff travel. My husband's airline has great staff travel. Unlike his UK airline, they actually have an ID90 system out here (which we can use on most airlines), and my husband's airline's network is so large that you can fly pretty much wherever you want in the world for minimum expense! What a huge privelege.
6) New friends. I miss my friends at home hugely, but I've discovered that the expat community is incredibly friendly. You're all in it together, and I've met a couple of women in the shops etc who've just handed me their number!
7) Radio 4 on the beach/by the pool/in the desert. There's just nothing like listening to The Archers podcast when you're by the pool! Listening to farmyard animals in Borsetshire whilst you're basking in the sun is a very funny, and lovely combination.
8) Visitors! Lots of friends and family are planning to visit us, and that's very exciting. My mum's coming out next month, and I'm already planning where to go and what to do!

That's enough for now I think. I'll add more when I think of them! If any other expats are reading this, I'd be interested to know your views.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Pilots DO have happy marriages

This morning my husband drew my attention to this thread on the Professional Pilot's Rumour Network, Pprune, entitled "When did you realise your marriage was over". When he first told me about it, I rather cheekily replied: "Is the answer - when I first started sleeping with cabin crew?" To which my husband replied: "Sometimes the woman leaves too, you know..." So, feeling suitable chastened, I started to read.

What I found was a true lesson in not tarring everyone with the same brush. I have always rather dogmatically pointed out on this blog that all pilots are individuals, not some strange amorphous mass named "my pilot", and that therefore they all make individual choices, to cheat or not to cheat, to flirt or not to flirt. I sometimes feel like a lone voice in the wilderness, being shouted down by others who believe that there are such things as "pilot personalities", and amongst these traits are the tendancy to be selfish, flirtatious, a little cold, unable to resist temptation when placed in their path. I disagree wholeheartedly, and I found the thread very enlightening.

Although of course by a law of averages there were men on there who had cheated (like the guy who said his marriage had ended the minute his wife decided to read his email!) there were also tales of pilots coming home to find their wife had already moved out and taken the kids, and also, strikingly, many testaments to long and happy marriages. This comment from a pilot from the Netherlands really stood out:

Our marriage has never been over. Maybe because we are very different, because we never get bored of each other, because we share entirely different interests, the one is always trying to convince the other of how good his/her matters are. One is a believer, the other is an atheist, with radically different political convictions, as well.We have even developed our own language (only the cats can understand).We genuinely still love each other, like it was in the beginning it is now.

I think the very fact that so many pilots have taken the time to write about their successful marriages should warm the hearts of anyone in a relationship with a pilot. I might also add that on our compound here in the Gulf I see so many long, successful partnerships. It's been a brilliant way of realising that stereotypes are for the breaking.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Happy Easter

This is the first Easter I've spent outside the UK, I think. It still feels very special, despite the fact we can't be with our families or our normal church congregation at home.

We went to church on Friday as my husband had his line-check last night and has been sleeping this morning. It went very well, and I'm very proud of him. He's now a fully fledged long-haul FO! Hours wise he's one of the least experienced First Officers the airline has hired - there are high hours Captains from UK airlines starting as FOs here - so it's quite frankly a gift from God that he got this job. Thank you, God!

Now we just have to see how we settle into the lifestyle. Having spoken to the other wives here on his fleet, it seems to be about three trips a month at the moment. I'm hoping to go on some of them with him, as the destinations are fantastic! So all very exciting. I'm also investigating getting a job out here. As much as I enjoy the rest, I can't carry on like this forever. Oddly enough for the first time in our relationship, we don't NEED my salary. It's a nice feeling, but not one that I'm going to let persuade me into becoming a stay at home expat wife!

On the subject of Easter and new life - we've been taking a rest from trying to have a baby for now. Clomid made me so wacky I'm sort of scared to go back on it, particularly combined with moving out here and all that that entails. But I think we'll get back to it soon-ish. In the mean-time, we're just enjoying some us time. I'm trying not to think about it much (but failing, of course!) There are lots of families with kids out here and it makes it kind of hard to avoid!

Still, with a little prayer to God on this most special of days - we'll see what this year brings.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Pilot's wife blogging

It's amazing how the small community of pilot's wife/partner bloggers has grown. When I first googled "I'm a pilot's wife" a few years ago, only one blog came up - Someday's excellent Oh the Life of Pilot's Wife. Now there are so many I don't have room for them all on my blog list!

On that note, I find internet etiquette interesting. Some bloggers get very offended if, despite leaving comments on my blog, I don't link to their blog, too. This doesn't really bother me in reverse; there are several blogs I link to who don't link to me back. Still, everyone is different. My list keeps changing, and I try to get it to reflect my own blog reading habits as much as possible.

Equally, everyone's approach to blogging is different. I started this blog primarily to share a part of my life that my friends and family don't really understand. I wanted to reach out to other women in my position. But over time, it's taken in more aspects of my life which I hadn't planned - my husband's airline's collapse, my infertility, our move abroad. It feels good to write about these things, but having said that, there are lots of parts of my life that never make it onto the blog - quite deliberately so. I've never felt comfortable sharing absolutely all my thoughts with my readers, anonymous blog or no. I admire those who do feel comfortable doing it. I know for many, blogs (particularly anonymous ones) are a perfect way of venting, a friend to talk to when you're down who listens patiently. (Actually, I also find the latter to be true!) I read several blogs which fall into this category, and they are a refreshing read.

There are also many pilot's wife bloggers for whom being married to a pilot is not at the forefront of their blog, and I really respect that, too. After all, we are much more than the man we are married to! It's lovely to read about their children, their animals, their jobs and their homes, especially from my home in the desert many miles away from where they live.

I know there's a school of thought that blogs like mine are too focused on our husband's job, and a suggestion perhaps that by doing so we're forgetting ourselves. I refute this - just because I choose to write about this aspect of my life, it doesn't make me a one dimensional person. I do think, however, that our lifestyle is one that not many people understand - but many want to know about. And that's why I write my blog. And judging by how many people read it every day, I must be doing something right!

I'd like to end by drawing your eye to my Blog List on the left hand side. There are some great blogs on there. Worth checking out for many other angles on the crazy lives we all lead!

Friday, 3 April 2009


It's been an odd few days. My poor husband's line training is pretty much entirely made up of night flights, so consequently we've both been living in a sort of twilight world.

If I was at home in the UK this wouldn't be the case - I'd be at work, or out of the house visiting friends or doing chores - but here, without (as yet) my local driving licence, I'm restricted to our flat and the compound for my entertainment. And the problem is that, in common with all accommodation here, our floors are tiled and every noise in the flat is magnified by the echo, so I'm having to tiptoe around the flat to avoid waking my husband. Hence the computer is my access to the outside world as I sit, with headphones on, playing the Sims/writing my blog/sending emails, hoping that my husband's managing to sleep through the noise of the kids playing outside. Oh, and it's raining today. In the Middle East! Amazing as it sounds, it's actually overcast and rainy outside. Still, no doubt the sun will come out tomorrow (as the song goes) - it usually does here!!

Having said that I'm stuck in the flat, last night that actually wasn't the case. I met a very nice woman last week in the toilets at church (as you do!) and she invited me to a dinner party last night at her apartment across town. I got a taxi there and back, and it was well worth it. She invited ten very friendly, very interesting, very welcoming expats, and it was so much fun. The sort of people who move here are generally the adventurous type, so you can pretty much guarantee that conversation will never be dull. Sitting at a table eating a lovely meal, drinking lovely wine, and being entertained by lovely people certainly made me realise how exciting and rewarding the expat experience can be.

More of that, please....



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