As an expat you’re learning by trial and error all the time. Even something as seemingly simple as returning ‘home’ for the summer is riddled with challenges.
Our return to the UK last summer was a blur of logistics, shopping and travel and felt, once we limped back to Doha, quite exhausting. The overriding excitement at the prospect of our first holiday back home led me to completely overestimate how much we could fit in to a few short weeks.
But we’d been away for a full year – pinch, punch, first year of expat life, and no returns… – and I was determined to make the most of it. We crammed every spare second with a catch up or activity of some description.
Fast forward to this summer, and I thought I’d learned my lesson. We sent the kids back to Europe to stay with their grandparents and play outdoors, rather than keeping then cooped up here during Ramadan.
I hired a bigger car, arranged fewer circumnavigations of the UK and came back with fewer suitcases (the tally chart would show 15 in 2012 when we moved out; 10 including a sewing machine after our first summer back last year, and a measly six this year).
Partly it’s because Doha is changing and developing all the time, and more and more things we had on our home shopping list are now available here (if you’re prepared to pay the premium and zig-zag across town to collect them). It’s either that or we’re getting better at stockpiling, but the net result is the same: I have enough Marmite to see out the apocalypse, if anyone’s interested. Continue reading