If you’re looking for the icy slap of reality that you are actually, positively, definitely packing up and departing the country you’ve lived in all your life, nothing quite beats waking up in a hotel room five thousand miles from home to discover that, overnight, you’ve been invited to your own leaving party.
“Forgot to copy you in,” was the gist of my wife’s breezy note the invite was attached to. And there was a cute little flyer telling me in no uncertain terms that we were moving to Doha and that you’d all be welcome to join us for some booze and nibbles (with optional wailing and gnashing of teeth) on a Friday night in the not too distant future.
I say ‘not too distant’; it seems like no time at all has passed since my morning in Seattle got off to that most bracing of starts, and yet here we are already. I’m not a big party person. Small talk; the threat of forced dancing; fancy dress; more small talk. You name it: none of these are a few of my favourite things.
But looming over the coming months like a buffalo in a hot air balloon will be a procession of introductions, meetings, lunches. Of hi theres and where are you froms and what brings you heres. That’s all part of the great relocation adventure. The weeks ahead bring to do lists, packing crates and a seemingly never ending series of decisions ranging from the mind-numbingly banal to the wallet-drainingly profound. Not to mention getting to grips with WordPress.
Next week the focus will fall on Mrs Little City as she heads off to Qatar to start the new job that’s triggered all this. For now though, it’s all about canapés and guest lists – and an appalling weather forecast for Friday night – as we seamlessly shoehorn a leaving party into our final few days together in the UK.
Still won’t be any fancy dress, mind.