Another One Bites The Dust

“People like an ending.” – Kubo and the Two Strings

It’s au revoir, not à bientôt

I’ve thought, overthought, and then thought about it some more – and I’ve made my mind up. And just so no one can accuse me of burying the lead: it’s lights out at Little City Towers.

Dust off the bugle, boys: it’s time for the last post.

First and foremost, being ringmaster of the Little City circus was always supposed to be fun. Writing a post should never be on the same to do list as renewing your car insurance or taking your idiot cat to the vet.

But as the good ship Little City sails further and further away from where it started – cheap therapy for the newbie expat parent – it becomes harder to continue on the journey.

It’s not just about getting my blogging mojo back – but the full on demands of my day job make it increasingly hard. On weekdays, my role in family life is typically that some visiting authoritarian figure, arriving home just in time to reinforce whatever law Mrs LC has already laid down, before putting the kids to bed.

It’s hardly the stuff from which blogging gold™ is spun.

Vimto dress
No more pictures of Vimto dresses I’m afraid

Content-wise, it also feels like right time to stop. Unbelievably, Kid A is – despite my deep denial – on the verge of regenerating, Doctor Who-stylee, into Teen A. For some bloggers, this would be the moment to double down and blog harder, chronicling the freewheeling rollercoaster joy ride* that is parenting a teen.

But I find myself ever more aware of the need to give her some privacy, virtual or otherwise, which definitely makes my decision easier.

So I’m stopping now and explaining what I’m doing, unlike so many other ghost blogs that just hang there, their latest post inexorably aging, with no send-off or farewell.

Exit Music

Will I miss it? Of course I will; it’s been a beacon of sanity for me; an outlet to help me shape and share my thoughts.

As Ol’ Blue Eyes put it: “Regrets, I’ve had a few. But then again, too few to mention.” On the whole, the experience has absolutely been worth it: like those rare occasions when a thought appeared on-screen exactly as it had started life in my head; or when a difficult situation or challenging circumstances I’d written about was shared, echoed or resolved by you lot out there.

Kid A and Amnesiac
I’d know the back of their heads anywhere

Along the way I’ve made virtual connections, actual friends and taken so many photos of the back of my children’s heads (look, here’s another one!) I’ve almost forgotten what they actually look like.

I’ve chronicled the past four years in a way that I hope captured the ever-spinning tombola of emotions that is life as an expat family.

As parents, we all try to ensure a continuation from our generation to the next – of traditions, shared values, attitudes – through what are rapidly-changing times.

Because my kids live in a different world to me, just as I did to my parents. My mum didn’t leave the UK till she was around 20. I remember feeling decidedly hard done by that it took me until I was 15 to travel outside of Europe. And now my son has been living in the Middle East since he was 5.

No doubt his kids will be screwing their faces up in incredulity that he never left Earth until he was 60.

Once More With Feeling

What, then, have I learned from the experience? (By which I mean expat life, as opposed to blogging, which I discovered is harder than it sounds, but that being part of a community – virtual or geographic – helps enormously.)

That's all, folks!
No caption needed

Expat life veers from life-changing to soul-destroying and back again, often in the course of the same day. Is it for everyone? Possibly not; but if you have ever even vaguely entertained the notion of giving it a go, what’s the worst that can happen?

In my experience, the expats who struggle with the experience are those who – and it doesn’t matter where they’re from, or where they’ve moved to – see it as a detour from their ‘real life’, something to be endured or seen out, before returning to normal.

Because this is normal. We have commutes and bills and deadlines and after-school clubs, just like you.

(Although to be fair it’s not exactly the same here. Back in the UK in the summer we were our way to an overnight stay in a Travelodge – a chain of budget hotels. Cue my expat son piping up from the back seat: “Will the hotel have valet parking?”)

The UK was – and seems to still be – busy tearing itself in two about the thorny subject of immigrants. Viewed from afar, it seems an embarrassing argument to be having.

Monty Python Dead Parrot
“This blog is no more. It has ceased to be.”

The main difference between expats and immigrants is one of intentions: an immigrant intends to acquire a new nationality, while an expat doesn’t. Despite that, however, our motives are the same.

We’ve all wrenched ourselves away from family, friends, a way of life we know and understand, and swapped every part of our lives, all at once, just to try to give our families a better chance in the future. It’s a universal sentiment.

Exit Planet Dust

I’ll still be pondering and debating such matters even once I’ve stopped blogging. But for now though, it means saying ma’a salama to sharing with you. It means the end of the road for the “work in progress” file on my PC, which has been home to all my half-drafted ideas and thought-scraps for the past four years.

I’ve just had a wistful flick through it, and there’s – let’s see – about 11,500 words I’ve put down at one point or another that won’t now see the light of day…like this crazy factoid I was hoping to shoehorn into a post one day:

The Japanese embassy in Paris has a special 24-hour hotline for Japanese visitors who can develop debilitating psychological problems because the city is not as nice as they imagined it to be. (It’s an advanced form of culture shock, known as Paris syndrome).

If you want to use that as the starting point for a post of your own, feel free.

I had also made a note of some words – new to me, at least – that capture a feeling or state I didn’t know existed. I had hoped there would be a post’s-worth of theme one day, but nope.

  • Like: xeric – ‘adapted to a dry environment’.
  • Or: heliophilia – ‘an attraction to sunlight’.

Which is probably as good as place to leave it as any. The sun is cooling; the ‘outdoor’ months lie ahead and it’s time to get some much-needed vitamin D into my system.

How To Disappear Completely

Amnesiac hits the road
Walking away

Like a blathering actor at an awards acceptance speech (“Gather!”) I know there will be things I’ll wish I’d said before I shuffled off stage, all of which will no doubt arrive fully-formed in my head the moment I press publish.

So let me try and pre-empt that by thanking everyone who’s visited, lurked, read, replied, commented and shared.

You’ve been funny, encouraging, occasionally rude and often helpful – it’s been a pleasure popping up in your inboxes and feeds over the years. I will miss you in ways that would make for an excellent post…but no. I’m done.


It’s time to turn off the Bright Lights.



*May not contain joy.


18 thoughts on “Another One Bites The Dust

  1. escapetoqatar October 9, 2016 / 5:47 pm

    I felt surprisingly emotional reading that! I’ve been looking forward to another one of your blog posts, but then you go and hit us with this! Maybe Mrs LC should take the helm now?!

    Thank you for all the good reads over the last few years and hopefully see you around Abs Dabs one day.

    • littlecity October 11, 2016 / 5:22 pm

      Thanks Amy that’s very kind of you. Mrs LC and I did actually debate handing over the reins for a few minutes, but that was as far as it got. (We were probably interrupted by one of the kids, which is how most of our conversations end.) It has been a lot of fun, and stopping was not a decision I took lightly, but thanks for all the kind words and support over the years.

      Looking fwd to your next post…

  2. Gina Dillon October 9, 2016 / 6:09 pm

    Sorry I am just now finding you.

  3. Philippa October 9, 2016 / 6:25 pm

    Well that was an ending and a half. It’s the mark of a man that he knows when to leave the stage / blog, someone once said…. Really enjoyed it while it lasted. Onwards and upwards. Xx

    • littlecity October 11, 2016 / 5:26 pm

      You wouldn’t believe the number of ghost blogs I found whilst drafting this last post. They’re just hanging there, not updated for 12, 18, 24 months, and you’re wondering…did they get bored? Is everyone ok? What? So I thought having a definite ending would remove any mystery. Glad it hit the spot 🙂

      Onwards, indeed.

  4. Shelley October 9, 2016 / 6:40 pm

    OK, I have to confess to being a lurker. I’ve never commented before, but I wanted to say thanks for the enjoyment I’ve had reading your blogs. I love your writing style, and as an ex-pat in Doha I can totally relate. Bye & thanks.

    • littlecity October 11, 2016 / 5:36 pm

      No need to apologise, Shelley; I am serial lurker myself. Delighted to hear from you, and thank you for your kind words, even if we pass like ships in the night…

      Glad you’ve enjoyed the posts. Enjoy your time in Doha – it is many things, often all at the same time, but I never found anything less than fascinating. And if you’re looking for somewhere else to lurk, I really can’t recommend Dina’s blog highly enough. Wine and Cheese (Doodles)

  5. Dina Honour October 9, 2016 / 7:56 pm

    Dim all the lights, sweet darling…no need to shut off, when you can just dim in case you need this space to make sense of this topsy-turvey world we inhabit. I wish you all the luck in any and all endeavors, but more than that, a pair of eyes should you chose to return. Best of luck…

    • littlecity October 11, 2016 / 5:51 pm

      You really are too kind, Dina. I love the roll you’re on at the moment, and how you’ve temporarily pivoted your expat stuff to speak out, as a woman and an American. Your blog, your rules; righteous anger is your fuel, and your fire burns strong. You, like Mr Trump, have the best words.

      As for your ‘never say never’ message…who knows? I mean, Disney is making a sequel to Mary Poppins, so I guess anything’s possible given enough time. The itch to write hasn’t gone away, I just need to channel it…somewhere else. Which reminds me, how’s your book coming along?

      Yuge thanks though you for all your clicks, likes, comments and support over the years – and in the meantime, I’ll be cheering you on. Best of luck yourself!

      • Dina Honour October 11, 2016 / 6:47 pm

        Well, that may be the nicest thing I’ve heard in weeks! Thank you. The thing about fire is you’ve got to tame it enough so that it burns bright but doesn’t consume, right? The book is finished. I’m polishing up my query letters to try to shop it around–just having trouble fitting it into a genre as a ‘selling’ point. As with many things, this is proving to be more difficult than the actual work of writing it, but thank you for asking. Be well. We’ll be here. Hopefully I’ll be here with a little bit less fire and a little bit less hyper-focus!

      • littlecity October 15, 2016 / 4:25 pm

        You can be forgiven for putting the book on the back burner for a few months in order to concentrate on, oh you know, the fate of the entire planet. That’s a legitimate concern for anyone. But I’m looking forward to the world being a slightly calmer place next month and then you can get back to aiming your fire at those pesky letters of introduction.
        Whatever genre-defying treats you have in store, I for one can’t wait to read them. I’ll be here, cheering you on. Stay focused!

  6. Gypsy October 11, 2016 / 8:39 am

    Respect, my former Doha blogger. I am so sad to read this, but so impressed that you thought enough of others to do so. (I’m silently hoping there’s a return in the future or a Dubai working-man spin-off …). Best of luck.

    • littlecity October 11, 2016 / 5:56 pm

      Cheers, Gypsy. I must say, this is unusual for me: normally I’m a fan of what is colloquially known as the Irish goodbye – leaving a party without saying anything, basically.
      But so many people, from fellow bloggers to total strangers, have made this adventure so enjoyable for so many years that I felt the need to acknowledge their support before I exit stage left…

  7. Briony October 11, 2016 / 10:52 am

    Another lurker here. Have loved your writings and musings. Thank you for sharing, and the very best of luck to you with impending-adolescence in the home! Au revoir.

    • littlecity October 11, 2016 / 6:08 pm

      Very kind of you to say so; glad my ramblings provided some entertainment over the years. I’ve hit follow on your blog, so I’m looking forward to returning the compliment in due course. Bon chance 🙂

  8. vinneve October 11, 2016 / 2:19 pm

    I am also sad reading this post of yours. I did enjoy reading your blog you know. You are somehow funny and it’s necessary in this type of World we live in. Being an expat I do understand your roller coaster feelings. Just want to give you a tip and I agree with Dina here… just dim your lights… put a secret name without your face if you want.. yes like me haha! Like you… blogging helps me. Anyway… I wish you well and goodluck! 🙂

    • littlecity October 11, 2016 / 6:05 pm

      Ha! I would probably not make a very good spy but I like the idea of returning in disguise to the expat blogging world one day. Until then, I just can kick back and look forward to reading other people’s blogs, rather than having to worry about my own! Thanks for the kind words – that’s what the world really needs more of.

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