Does anyone else feel like they're expected to have everything…
A long time ago now I did a post on what it’s like to be an expat. And in a lot of sense, my thoughts are just the same as they were then. However, a few things have started to shift in my mind lately and I’ve started wondering why this is. Perhaps it’s because I’m getting older, or perhaps it’s just that I’ve been in Dubai for a while now but I’ve really started questioning… Well questioning everything. Here are a few things that have been on my mind lately.
When you move abroad one of the hardest wrenches is leaving your friends behind. Your best friends who know you inside out, the ones you automatically reach for your phone to call when something good or bad happens. But I’ll tell you now some of those friends you had back at home, the ones who you looked at like your soulmates will almost become strangers to you. Distance, lack of communication, and changes in both your lives will cause a divide so big that it can feel like your up a creek without a paddle and there’s nothing you can do to solve it.
Then there are the friends who have surprised you the most by staying in touch so regularly and who always book you in as soon as you land back in the country. These are the ones you now have a new found love and respect for and the people who I miss dearly. I know that if I lived near them I would have added happiness to my life.
Then there are the Dubai friends who have become your second family. The ones you have a real laugh with, the ones you could call and they’d be there if you needed them, the ones that you’re so grateful you made the move as otherwise you would never have met them and built memories which will last a lifetime. But the truth is we do have more friends in the UK. Especially my husband. He literally has so many friends. 30 guys went on his stag do! I love nothing more than to see him laughing with his friends back at home. But the truth is when you work at home this massively narrows down your chances to meet people and I often wonder, ‘Are we missing out?’
Then there’s your family. Everyone always says don’t worry your family will be there when you get back. But actually, I’ve learnt that isn’t always the case. I’ve lost 2 very special people in my life since moving away and although there was nothing I could have done to stop it I do feel like I should have been there more for my family, and in a way more for myself. When you’re separated from your grieving family it’s hard to grief on your own and I often feel perhaps I’ve bottled it up more than I should have done.
There’s also days, just like today, when I was wondering around the mall and thought God I would give anything for one of my sisters to be here with me right now just doing every day girly things like shopping. Not being able to just nip and see someone is still the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with.
Also, everyone is getting older, including myself. I’ve started noticing people ageing now and it’s a sobering and scary thought. I’ve also got lots of nieces and nephews who I absolutely adore and who luckily are always delighted to see me. But I’ve also now got a gorgeous little nephew who just turned one recently, so I haven’t had the past years when I was living in the UK to build a relationship with him. In fact, I’ve only met him about 3 times. I really really hate this.
100% I’ve had many more opportunities in Dubai than I ever did back in the UK. I don’t think I would ever have got the job I have at the moment, as it was a chance meeting with someone. There’s also things I’ve managed to do which are just harder in the UK. E.g) I go to Pilates and Barre classes about 4 times a week, or I can run along the Marina if I fancy it (I just wished I fancied it more!). Where I’m from in the UK you’re lucky to find a decent gym! It may seem silly but things like this really do add to the quality of your life. Also Uber/Careem…Hello! Where have you been all my life? These are just a few examples but really your quality of life here can be amazing.
It’s a rollercoaster
As you can probably tell living abroad is emotional. One minute you can be so home sick (a bit like today) but then you can be loving every second of it. Most of you would probably scream at me if you could see where I’m writing this from. I’m by the pool, it’s 26 degrees outside and I’ve been for breakfast on a gorgeous beach. And in those moments you really do pinch yourself and think wow I am the luckiest girl in the world. I know that when tomorrow comes around and I take a stroll down the beach hand in hand with my husband, him stopping every 5 seconds whilst I pop starfish back into the sea I will be happy once more. But your mind is often like a giant bundle of cotton ball unravelling to expose a new emotion every day and to be honest, it’s a little exhausting.
So, there are a few of my expat ramblings for today. Is anyone else an expat and has similar feelings? Please tell me I’m not in this on my own?!