Saturday, 14 March 2009

I should be so lucky....

Quite a few years ago, when I was relatively newly married and without a child, I had a sleepover at my girlfriend’s flat in Ealing.

This girlfriend of mine is also from Baku. We got married and relocated to the UK in the same year.

Our husbands happened to both be away for work, so we decided I should stay at her place that night.

We had a lovely time, chatting about our lives here, and difficulties of adjusting to the UK life. One could ask- Like what?? You relocated from a 3rd world country to one of the most civilized cities in the world. What the hell can you possibly complain about? Oh, where do I start.

People back home still seem to think that once you married a foreigner, you are sorted. Whenever I go back, and talk to my old neighbours or school friends, I can see it flickering their eyes: Jealousy. Curiosity. Questions. And answering those questions reminds me how lucky I am. I have a nice husband, a cute blond child, a house and a garden. With once green grass, that my imported from Azerbaijan Rottweiler wees all over.

To be honest, my garden is not that big. It is only when I had a visiting friend who had never been to the UK before, ask me- Is it all yours? All the way to that fence? Just yours? – that I realized how big it must seem to an average Azeri, most of whom live in the city flats with no gardens.

But such is human nature, that we always complain.

So I stayed at my girlfriend’s flat in Ealing. We had a fun night chatting in Russian. But then the morning came. We had to get up early to make it to our work in time, and it was still dark. And of course, it was raining. Oh, it was miserable.

We got up, showered, and walked to the tube station. We had to wait for our train which, of course was running late. We stood there, our eyes glued to the screen and then, as soon as they announced what platform the train was coming to, we had just a few minutes to run across the bridge and squeeze into it. Catching our breath, our hair all messed up in the rain, and already exhausted at 7am, we looked at each other. And I said:

-There you go. Married foreigners!

And we started laughing. We laughed so hard, my cheeks hurt. And there was no need to explain-we understood each other perfectly then. Two girls, both from the same town, having married almost at the same time, and having to adjust to this new life. We knew exactly what was so funny. I thought of all those people back home. My neighbours, my childhood friends…people who have no idea what it is like to relocate from somewhere like Baku to London.

And a long time ago, I myself, had no idea. I always looked at my British girlfriend who I worked with back home, and thought to myself… Oh, if I could just have her life. If I could just get into my own car and drive along-no matter where. To have what she had seemed like a dream. Nowadays, I have a lot more than she had back then. And what do I do? I moan. and I complain. I complain about the rain and the weather, the underground and the everyday routine of loading and unloading the dishwasher….Shouldn’t I just be happy I have a dishwasher? And electricity that does not get turned off by the authorities whenever they feel like it? And being able to say- “Just tap water is fine” in restaurants? Because it is safe enough to drink?

But such is human nature. That morning on the train, having made our way through the sea of commuters, and sitting there for as long as it would take to cross the whole Azerbaijan, we laughed at our own little secret joke.

Oh, and here is my sketch of what I think marrying a foreigner looks like to an average Azeri girl. Sun is shining, a happy carefree couple is smiling…and birds are singing. Quite a fairy tale, right?

And they lived happily ever after.


  1. Hi, thanks for popping in to my blog (see? I am reciprocating! -just read your post on that very fact). Love hearing British ways as seen by a non-Brit - keep it coming! :) WM x

  2. So true! There is no fairy tale life anywhere, and for those on the other side it seems that we have carefree life being married to westerners. You can not really judge until you are in one's shoes. But I believe there is reason life puts us at different times at different places, and that is where we're needed most and can learn most and use our potential to the fullest.

  3. What I never understood is why people back home admire foreigners so much. This is some weird inferiority complex...