This recipe is part of a series covering the various cookbooks and recipe collections we have been given over the years. See here for an overview of all the cookbooks. Today, I’ll tell you the story behind the Pear & Blue Cheese Salad in our South African Farewell Cookbook.
Antenatal class 2007 and beyond
At the end of 2005 I quit a job I loved in Switzerland to marry a man I loved in Germany and move to South Africa – a country I learned to love. To say the transition from independent full-time employee to trailing spouse (and I don’t use the term lightly) was hard is an understatement. The days were incredibly long. Finding connection was difficult for me as most expat partners had children (and a different daily routine) and the locals were at work all day. The time we spent as a couple was wonderful and through work colleagues we connected with others and had some amazing adventures. But I was lonely.
This changed when I became pregnant with our firstborn and we joined Antenatal classes at the local clinic. Suddenly we were part of a group of couples all going through the same thing. We had something in common that connected us.
It doesn’t always work out this way but this group of women bonded and have stayed in touch with each other over the years. There is always a spike in group chat activity in September & October as we compare how big our babies have gotten (they’ll be teenagers this year!). Through more babies, separations, international moves and other highs and lows we stayed in touch and support each other virtually and face-to-face to this day.
When we knew we were returning to South Africa in 2011 these were the first people I told. Returning was made so much easier by having a few connections already. There is much to be said for investing time and energy in maintaining friendships around the word. Even as “weak” connections they provide a web that supports and holds us up wherever we go and you never know when you might see them again!
Having a baby is an extreme way to find connection – there are other options 🙂 If you struggle to find your tribe, this is something we can work on in coaching. Adapt & Succeed even has an entire module dedicated to connections and building community during your time abroad.
When we left for China in 2015 these ladies contributed to what is still one of my favorite recipe collections, made with so much love and attention to detail that it brings me joy every day just sitting on my shelf.