Perhaps it is due to the change of seasons, or perhaps for reasons I don’t know, but one thing is for sure – things have changed again.

This one crept up on me; I was so proud of how well we were all doing here, how well we’d gotten used to our new lives in Gisborne.

But then all of a sudden, one after another, people started asking me the same question: “When are you leaving?”

It’s an innocent question. Often they’re making idol chitchat at a kid’s birthday party or outside the super market. But make no mistake; it is the kiss of death for a social life.

New moms who don’t know you, but overhear the conversation decide it’s not worth for your kids to become friends, women who might otherwise want to get to know you chose not to pursue the interest, and slowly you begin to become invisible again.

Still here, but not for long.

I have learned that during the course of this year there was a short period of time during which we belonged. I think in my case it was 3, maybe 4 months.

We weren’t in transition, people had stopped asking us what had brought us to Gizzy, and we weren’t new anymore. The process of the transition was complete, and it felt amazing.

But suddenly I have been launched back into the transition home. The logistics I can handle, it’s the sense of not really being in one place or the other that throws me off.

Our little family will tighten up again. We’ll spend more time together as birthday parties and play dates dry up and as the weather chills. We’ll hunker down with the good friends we have made, and won’t try to make many new ones.

We know how to be a unit, and we’re good together. Frankly, we are better together than ever. And for that I am so grateful. It was, after all, the single biggest reason I had for wanting to live abroad this year – to have the time with our kids, as a family.

I’ve decided to focus on making the most of the next few months. Constantly taking new classes to learn new skills (and hobbies), to keep my mind off the changes ahead. Bringing together as many kids as I can, on a regular basis, just to laugh and play together.

And I am reminding myself that I too used to be just like the people here who dismiss opportunities with you because you are leaving soon. It’s human nature and it’s normal.

And when I get home, I’ll try to be better about not doing that to those who are making Washington DC their home for only a year. I understand now. I understand the process of transition.


PS – Thank you all of you who have written us about last week’s tragedy in Christchurch. While I wanted to write about it, I’m just not quite ready to do so. We’ll give it a bit more time and address it down the road in another post.



Hi. I'm Frederique. You can call me Fred. I am the founder and CEO of Her Corner Inc., a global network of women business owners committed to growth in their businesses. When I'm not managing the business operations of Her Corner, you can find me either running accelerator programs for Her Corner members or at the Kogod School of Business at American University where I teach entrepreneurship, business management and organizational behavior. I am passionate about the topic of Entrepreneurship, and in particular the State of Entrepreneurship for Women.

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