Iran to Australia: unexpectedly

What follows is a short story from Rosemary’s past. After talking with her, I have taken our discussion and turned it into a series of small stories highlighting the incredible life that she has led. Direct quotes from our discussion are highlighted in quotation marks. All else is a retelling written by yours truly.

When Rosemary and Bill first moved to Iran, Bill had a job in the centre of the city. He would go to work each morning and come back each evening. On days off they would visit some of their friends from church, or they would try and drive out and visit any of the many incredible sites in Iran. Life for Rosemary was a challenge, what with the kids and not speaking the language. But it was a challenge that she could bear with Bill.  

Then, in their final year, Bill’s job changed. Instead of working in an office in Tehran, leaving in the morning and returning in the evening, he was assigned to a post several hundred miles away. This meant that when he left in the morning he was away for five weeks at a time and when he arrived home he was only home for one.

Rosemary, who remained in Tehran looking after the children, found this incredibly challenging. The difficulties she already faced were suddenly amplified. She felt so alone, so isolated from everything. Where was her husband, her partner in this world?

At best that year was a challenge, at worst it was a nightmare. But as the summer months approached and their yearly trip back to England grew closer and closer, at least there was an end to this lifestyle.

Then one day she received a letter from Bill, who was still stationed somewhere far away. (Remember: there were no cell phones, no video chats. If they wanted to talk, they had to write a letter and await a reply.)

The company were asking him to continue on with his current posting. When he got back from England he would return to the same job and work the same schedule. Rosemary would be in Tehran and he would be somewhere else.

As she read this, something snapped inside Rosemary. She couldn’t do this. Not this. What about the children? Not to mention Rosemary was pregnant again. She couldn’t live like this.

“I wrote back a nasty letter and I said I didn’t think it was right. I didn’t think it was good, I didn’t think it was good for the boys and I didn’t think it was good for any of us. I’m afraid I’m not impressed with myself. I was immature and I was really struggling by this time so I can’t remember what I wrote but I know it wasn’t nice.”

Bill resigned and when it was time for the family to head back to England they weren’t planning on coming back.

Rosemary can’t exactly remember how this next part happened but somehow Bill got a job working for the Australian government. They were in England for little more than a month before journeying out to yet another mysterious place.

Only this time, they weren’t flying.

This time they were taking a cruise ship. The Suez Canal had just recently reopened and the journey time from England to Australia by boat had dropped significantly. The journey would take three weeks and they could relax and unwind, basking in the sun and breathing in the sea air.

Four long years in Iran were behind them, and what waited ahead was anybody’s guess. Australia, here they come.

Stay tuned for more stories from the life of Rosemary. Please note: these stories will not necessarily hold any chronological grounding. They are designed as snippets of understanding into the life of Rosemary and while some will hold chronology, others may not.