So it happened, we have officially left Dubai. Said goodbye to all the friends that I didn’t know how to say goodbye too and came home saying hello to old faces. Catching up over bottles of wine, heading out for coffee, wearing out poor Grandma with two, relentless, small boys. Life changing moments but yet it’s all so surreal
Yet it was still surreal. Saying goodbye, packing our bags, heading to the airport. I was crying as we headed down Sheikh Zayed Road one last time. Meeting the husband at the airport, piled high with bags, car seats and prams. Having to employ child labour and get the Big One to push the Baby in the pram as we attempted to manoeuvre all 90kgs of luggage, two children and ourselves to check in. Checking in, heading through immigration for one last time, boarding the plane and the boys not sleeping. 7 hours later landing in Birmingham.
Being met by my Mum with two very sleepy, but not sleeping, babies. Carrying them through the airport before collecting all of our luggage. Fighting with the trolleys in the airport, feeding £5 notes into the machine, UK money feeling foreign to us. The pound coins dropping through, the trolley being released. The bags coming out, slowly, one by one, children screaming tired and at one point thinking that they were lost. Standing with the boys, watching as the husband finally hauls the last bag. Loading them precariously, walking through the airport.
It still didn’t feel real, it didn’t feel like the huge life changing moment it was. It felt as though we were back for a holiday.
Driving home, the drive peppered with questions from the Big One, from weather based.
Mummy, why is Grandma squirting water on the car?
That’s not water, it’s rain.
Mummy? What’s rain?
To the surroundings…
Mummy, where are all the buildings
Mummy, look at all the gardens I can see.
Used to driving up and down a major road in Dubai, lined with skyscrapers, no green to be seen. To drive through the countryside of the Midlands, surrounded by fields and trees and green.
Arriving home, getting everyone in bed, getting everyone asleep (eventually) before being woken up at 4:30am, ready to start the day. British summertime was not working in our favour. Both boys up, both boys raring to go, after all in Dubai it was 7:30am and the sun was streaming through. As the Big One puts it – it was MORNING DAY!
The husband hauled himself out of bed and left me to have a lie in, the lovely, lovely man, spending precious hours with the boys before he had to leave again. Yes, he had to leave again, head back to Dubai, see out the end of his contract in order to fulfil the terms of his redundancy. But back to Thursday morning, he was the one jumping out of bed with them both. Taking them down to meet my Mum’s very elderly cat, who the Baby has since decided is the best toy in the world – in fact the Baby can now say cat. Standing at the sofa, arms outstretched shouting TAT, TAT, TAT, before the poor cat has had enough and runs away with the Baby crawling after him.
My lie in ending at 7am with a pot of tea and proper English toast. Thick, white bread.
The life changing events taking place feeling so far away, feeling like we are having a beautiful English summer holiday, the sun shining down on an idyllic few days as a family. Able to forget that the husband was off again, able to push the fact that our whole lives were turning upside down out of my mind.
Heading down to the park to indulge the Big One in feeding the ducks, something which we aren’t able to do in Dubai. Enjoying the outdoor lifestyle, the fresh air in our lungs, the green of the grass.
Swinging on the swings, the gentle summer breeze lifting through the Baby’s curls. The squeals of delight to push them higher.
Enjoying time as a family. Watching my husband play with his boys. The sun shining down on a golden weekend for us.
It still wasn’t real. Life turning upside down and it still felt surreal.
Broken sleep peppering the nights, blackout curtains being bought in the vain hope that the boys would then sleep, early starts and family days. Lunches out in local restaurants. Trips back to the park. Swinging, sliding, running free. Enjoying the outdoors that has been off limits to us as the temperature crept up in Dubai.
Having the husband bully me into doing a Park Run despite the fact that last time I ran I fell over in the middle of the car park.
But we went, I half ran, I half walked. I had the Husband walk back to meet me and cheer me on. I finished. I did it, and I plan on doing it every Saturday I’m here. A time of 33 minutes 55 seconds which is a massive 4 minutes and 25 seconds off my personal best but I have a few weeks to get back!
The husband had a pretty amazing time of 22 minutes 23 seconds but still wants to beat it….
Sunshine still shining down, feeling alive, feeling amazing. Still not feeling real. Life about to change and it still not being real.
Heading home to the boys, taking a full afternoon off, bike riding round our local lake. The craziness of deciding to ride for 8 miles round a lake after running….okay okay in my case walking….3 miles in the morning. Wanting to make the most out of our time together, wanting to make the most of the sunshine.
Though I’m glad it wasn’t me pulling 25kg of boys.
Riding through, following my husband and my boys, my heart fit to burst hearing their laughter. Watching them as they rode ahead. Following behind.
Still not real. Still not life changing. Just a little holiday.
Family barbecues. Sunshine still. Ice Creams.
Life changing moments? Nope, not happening to us.
Until they were. It got real on Sunday night. Sunday night the husband was picked up and taken to the airport. Sunday night we stood on the driveway and waved goodbye for the next 18 days, before he comes home for a whistlestop tour and a 5 night break in the Peak District, before another month apart. Sunday signalled the start of nightly Skypes, of Daddy not being there, of having to explain over and over again that we aren’t headed back to Dubai. That we don’t live there anymore. That we will see his friends again when we go on holiday but we will be making new friends.
Sunday it became life changing.
Sunday it became real.
Then Tuesday brought the rain….
Which to be honest the Big One was very, very excited about. And I was quite pleased to still fit in my parka from 2002.
But the rain summed up my mood, the fact that this life changing event is happening. That we don’t live in Dubai. That everything Dubai has given me is being taken forward into our next adventure. The next chapter.
That no longer is everything surreal. That this is real. It is happening.
Now is time for our UK adventure before the next family chapter begins, but that’s a whole other blog post….