My friend Sue always says that the universe gives you what you need (not necessarily what you want) when you need it. I’ve always believed this, even though I never articulated it as well as she does. A wise woman is Sue.
Today I got what I needed. I’ll get to what that was in a second, but first, why the universe thought I needed it…
Yesterday was one of those days. There was nothing particularly out of the ordinary. Nothing especially bad happened. In fact, its ordinariness was probably part of the problem. I’ve talked about my “I hate Belgium days” before. I don’t like to dwell on them (or anything else negative) here on the blog. The truth is most times these days don’t have much to do with Belgium at all (except for the bad drivers and the line jumpers), but rather expat life in general. I know all expats occasionally go through this and the host country takes the blame for all that is wrong in the world. In particular, yesterday was about everything I hate about being a trailing spouse.
I love my life. I love living in Europe. Even at the worst of times these statements remain true. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t things that get me down. The two biggest negatives in my life as it stands right now are my lack of physical freedom and my lack of financial freedom.
The physical freedom stems from my own decision not to drive in Belgium (and no I won’t be changing my mind on that). It also stems from living outside the city and the realm of Brussels public transportation. I’ve bitched about these things before so I’ll spare you the details. We hope to rectify this problem this spring by moving to the city and I’m truly optimistic that this will be a big positive in my life.
The second problem is more complicated and may, in fact, never be solved. Whenever I need money, I have to ask for it and I feel guilty spending it on myself because I wasn’t the one who earned it. Yes, I make money through photography but at this stage I am still paying off equipment and supplies. I hope to break even this year but it is an uphill battle.
Andrew will always make more money than me. That’s just the way the world works and frankly I’m ok with that. But not contributing at all to our financial well-being for the past three years has been really difficult. Believe me, I’ve heard all of the arguments (and given them to others in the same situation): because we’re married, his money is my money too, I contribute to the family in other ways (We don’t have kids, so it’s not like I’m contributing by raising a family), I’ve sacrificed things to be here to support Andrew… blah blah blah. All true, I agree, but I guess, unless you’ve been in the situation (and I know you guys are out there so advice is welcome) it’s a hard one to identify with.
Anyway, yesterday was one of those days when this all came to a head. A few different friends have asked me to do things lately that I just haven’t been able to afford to do. Andrew is
travelling for work again and I was feeling pretty isolated. Not to mention it’s my least favourite time of year. So I was sad, frustrated and frankly pissed at myself for being sad and frustrated in the first place. Andrew and Belgium bore the brunt of it, although neither is to blame.
This morning I woke up feeling drained – physically and emotionally. I needed to get some cleaning done so instead of jumping in the shower as I would normally do first thing, I hauled
out the vacuum. Still in my pyjamas, with bed-head and no coffee in my system, the doorbell rang. Normally I would never answer it in this state. But I knew…
My mom had sent a Christmas package in November. I had given up all hope of ever seeing it. The Belgian post is definitely on my “things I hate about Belgium” list. But when the doorbell rang, I knew the universe sent me what I needed. The package doesn’t solve any of my problems but it does remind me that no matter how bad it gets, there are more important things in my life – people who love me. It was the pick-me-up I needed, exactly when I needed it.
So what was in that wonderful box? Weeeelllll, I don’t know everything (although I have some suspicions) because it was for Andrew too and he’s not back until tomorrow, but to be honest, anything that didn’t have his name on it got opened. There was popcorn(!) and KD (!!!), some jams made by my mom (mmmmm), a couple of ornaments for our tree that will have to wait until next year (we didn’t put a tree up this year anyway), some awesome socks and slippers (which were exactly what I needed as my current pair are disintegrating on my feet as I sit here), a very cute cat mug, dried cranberries and Burt’s Bees made an appearance too.
So thank you to my Mom and to the Universe. You both knew what I needed, when I needed it. (You’ve been in cahoots all along haven’t you?)