Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Four months in...

Well, we are four months in to the expat life.   We arrived in Abu Dhabi on the 18th of August and I am sat writing (well typing this) whilst my son naps and my daughter is sat beside me watching Elf.  We are one week away from our first Christmas away from home.

What is it really like? I hear you asking.  Is it all you thought it was cracked up to? When will you come home? ... ok so seeing as I have all of about 6 people read my blog you might not actually be asking these questions but I am going to answer them anyway!

It is utterly cheesy to describe life as an 'adventure' or a 'rollercoaster'  but in a nutshell that is exactly what the past few months have been like.  We are either extremely happy and pretty much loving life or just a little pissed off and ready to board a plane.  Leaving our schools at home was a great leap of faith in itself, nevermind packing up our lives, our children and moving across the world.  So I guess there were always going to be be dramatic highs and lows.

Don't get me wrong teaching is still teaching where ever you are but there are different challenges here and some we never expected to face.  We are learning how to overcome them so I firmly believe the next term will be even better for us but safe to say the first term has been a steep learning curve.  The staff here though are so supportive and look out for each other.  I think in a previous post I mentioned some of the amazing people we have met out here and I tell you they really do care about things working out for you, which is pretty brilliant.  Our acting head of primary has been particularly great - just so understanding of the fact we have two small children and we are out here alone.

In terms of the children, they have actually settled really well out here now.  Their school and nursery have played such a big part in that as they love it so much.  Don't get me wrong we still often struggle taking Lochlann in at drop off but that is probably entirely my fault because he is my baby boy and he would much rather stay at home with us than go anywhere else!  Drop offs still cause me heartache but that is one good thing about sharing a car.  Sam takes him in every morning whilst I sit in the car with  Posey and do my make up.  Speaking of P, she has pretty much grown up over night. Anyone from home that we speak to says the same.  Her personality is developing rapidly and she is thoroughly enjoys life at school.  She has made some lovely little friends but every now and again she asks about our home in England and when we might go home.  I struggle with this as it makes me worry about whether we did the right thing pulling them away from everything and everyone that they know.  They were settled in their little life and love their family very much, most of whom we won't see until the summer.  The mind of a mother is a terrible thing.  No matter what choice you make it will manage to taunt you and make you paranoid about the decision you've made.  Does anyone else find that?

In all honesty I did worry that moving out here might put a strain on our marriage.  That the working together and living out of each other's pockets might create a tension that we just can't diffuse because we are just ALWAYS together.  Sam and I are pretty good at knowing we can be together and do our own thing and that is ok so moving out here and being together twenty four-seven could have been a potential nightmare.  Overall though, despite a couple of blow outs I would say that we have managed pretty well.  You hear stories out here of couples entering the country together and leaving separately.  But I really don't think that will happen to us.  Sam and I have been through worse things we really have.  What has really helped is us both trying to forge our own little lives outside of us as a couple. Sam goes cycling at the formula 1 track whilst I have girly nights in devouring hulloumi fries and he plays football once a week.  He's partial to a pint or two with the boys and I enjoy the odd shopping day.  Doing these things separately allows us to enjoy the time we have together and actually miss each other now and again.  Missing each other is so necessary! I am a big believer in a little time apart to make you realise what you have and I am lucky to have Sam.

So all in all... we are basically still figuring out life as expats.  It is so great in many ways but the festive season and all the bloody snow that England had, has made me pretty homesick at times.  I do miss the run up to Christmas at home (especially as my mum and I love Christmas so much) but I think that is mainly just because the cold and the twinkling lights everywhere signal Christmas.  Here, you need to seek out the festivities.  However, I have to say when you do they are pretty great and we have definitely spent more time together as a family than we ever managed to do at home.  So I think we made the right decision almost 12 months ago to start a new adventure, just the four of us.

There we have it, I guess four months in we are doing okay.  There are many positives to living here but at the same time I am excited for our life back home when we finally return the UK (with another baby in my tummy if I have my way!!!  :)

That's all for now.

Thanks for stopping by.

Lots of love,

Holly xx

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