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#156 The Spouse aka The Dependent

June 25, 2012

Submitted by kaz_taj

Non-EAW Spouse. Photo:

The Spouse, male or female (at least English has the advantage of providing gender-neutral euphemisms), is the Great Paradox of our time.

While proud of his or her independence and ability to survive in the direst circumstances, most EAWs would never contemplate leaving Peoria or Milton Keynes without a Spouse holding their hand.  That ratio reaches an almost perfect 1:1 when the EAW works for a donor agency.

While clearly “following” the EAW in his or her move to Bashkortostan, the Spouse is responsible for planning the move-hiring movers-packing things, buying air tickets, selling the car, selling the house, finding a buyer for an empty beer bottle collection (that definitely does NOT belong to the Spouse), dealing with distraught parents/in-laws/best friends, buying the right kind of water purification system, finding an insurance company who will believe that Bashkortostan is in fact a Canadian province and will thus be willing to sell the EAW life insurance, etc.

In most cases, the EAW will be recognized as the one fluent in the language, customs, and general ways of the host country.  The EAW will even casually offer useful advice to the Spouse regarding the pronunciation of the word sh’tarkstrop and what a guest should do when offered a bowl of mystery meat.

EAW Spouse

EAW Spouse. Photo:

That advice, of course, is proffered when the EAW is around rather than off facipulating a train-the-trainer workshop with women farmers or sitting up at the table of honor during the launch of an innovative livelihoods approach initiative in Golong-Galah.  And it’s always when the EAW is off “doing good” elsewhere that the pipes burst in the kitchen, the freezer breaks, the guards disappear with the storage room key, the termites decide to take over the world, and the visas expire.  And so our Spouse, our ill-equipped, unilingual Spouse who left a promising law career back home to “follow” someone else’s dream, has to step up and find a plumber in the middle of the night in Deepinthaheartah.

Upon his or her return, exhausted, from Golong-Galah (“I spent a whole week in a hotel where they only spoke English with the thickest accent…”) the EAW will spend a minute feeling sorry for what befell the Spouse, congratulate her or him on averting the start of WWIII, and then wonder aloud whether it was really necessary to spend all that money on a new freezer since he or she knows a guy for that kind of problem.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Agnes permalink
    June 25, 2012 6:31 am

    Brilliant idea to fill this gap. In fact, it would be worth an entire blog. My spouse in something-or-another-stan was actually generously granted a card by the Ministry of Interior which, under status, read “Husband of Economist”. How cool is that!

  2. June 25, 2012 8:57 am

    don’t get me started! this might have to be followed up by a blog post… lol

  3. Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick permalink
    June 25, 2012 10:29 am


  4. Karzo permalink
    June 25, 2012 11:02 am

    in some countries husbands are refused spousal visas…. mine therefore became a volunteer. Another blogworthy subject: “Having spouse as office volunteer”

  5. June 27, 2012 11:03 am

    Wow, this one hits a little -perhaps too – close to home. Well done.

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