Another Pomegranate Noir Story

June begins the summer exodus.  People fly to other continents to escape the summer heat.  The school year over, military and expatriate families bid farewell as they move onto their next work assignment.  May is the month for good-bye parties.

It started with my friend author Melissa van Maasdyk.  She and her husband Glenn are off to Canada for a new life adventure.

Uncertain what exactly they will be doing, at their good-bye dinner we toasted to “future travels,” “a new beginning in Canada, Uruguay or Panama” and “until we meet again.”  To the very end, Melissa lingered with me and her friend Reem, standing in the parking lot, saying good-bye until Glenn gently reminded her they had to catch their plane.

Another blow was the sad news that after successfully launching the Bahrain Writer’s Circle and editing My Beautiful Bahrain, Robin Barratt’s wife got a new job outside of Bahrain.  Soon he will leave to start fresh somewhere else.

His Navy father’s three year stint complete, our baseball team’s star pitcher’s family is moving to some new secret location.

One of the baseball coaches, a teacher and our martial arts trainer, is taking his family back to Washington state to teach at a new school there.

By June 9th my yoga training will be complete.  My teacher, her philosophic husband and a fellow yogini are headed back to their respective countries.

As Bahrain’s future remains uncertain, two ladies from my sculpting class are headed back to Europe.  Several fathers of the children’s school mates and one of sculpture class buddies have been transferred to Dubai where the grass is definitely greener.

And after eight years in the Junior school, Ace and Mark are graduating and following their sister to the Senior school.  No more chauffeuring for me, they will take a bus to school.

Another tearful, hopeful time.


The Magic of Jo Malone

Before leaving for dinner last night, I sprayed on Jo Malone’s Pomegranate Noir cologne.

Instantly I found myself transported to my friend Deborah’s guest bathroom one warm morning.  Next to the sink, she had set out Pomegranate Noir hand cream and cologne for her guests.  I softened my hands and sprayed my hair.  When I rejoined my three friends on the veranda, my essence enveloped everyone.

Deborah teased me, “I forget how much I love that scent.”

We laughed as we sat around her table under the fan, sipping Russian Caravan tea, telling about our most recent trips to Syria, Ireland and Oman and recounting stories of our mothers, fathers and children.

Living overseas is like a pomegranate.

You move to this entirely different land with its own smooth skin.   At first the round red orb is like a completely different planet, one you have never seen before.  Then after a bit of study and adjustment, you figure out how to peel the skin.  When you open the fruit inside you discover lots of different cultures, both expat and local.  Generally the people are quite interesting and before you know it, you find you have all these amazing friends from around the globe.  Each is packed with tiny, sweet stories about the lives they have led.  The richness of your time together stains your hands.  Just as pomegranate juice is known to keep us young, the memories of your expat years stay with you forever.

Then there’s the noir.

The Pomegranate Noir lingered on my pillow, waking me.  And in the blackness of the night, I began to think about my friend Deborah who returned to Australia last summer.   My rational brain knows being an expat means my friends will eventually go home or depart to new assignment in a new country.  We can stay in touch.  Someday I will visit her.

But still – my heart misses my amazing friend and I weep as I remember sitting together in her garden surrounded by palm trees and bougainvillea.

The Pomegranate Noir of expat life.


Tales by Chapter

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