It’s the time of year for reflections, for celebrating the best of the year and for learning from the worst of the year. Last year, as New Years Eve rolled round, I looked back on my 2015 in photos. A photograph can say more than words, a photograph can tell a story, a photograph is a memory, a moment captured in time. What better way to look back at 2016 than in photos. So here we are, 2016 my year in photographs.
January saw us head for sunny shores as we headed to the Caribbean to board the Azura. Apprehensive and unsure whether taking a cruise would be the best holiday to do with two young boys, we came back cruise converts after falling a little bit in love with our trip around the Caribbean. So much so we have booked to go again in 2017…
February saw my youngest go in for surgery and was the month where we found out that my husband was being made redundant from his job. We knew that we would be leaving Dubai, we just weren’t quite sure when, or even where too.
And so began the frantic packing up of life as we knew it, selling all of our furniture to move to a hotel for our final weeks in Dubai. Reflecting on all that Dubai had given us. The Baby managing to get a sickness bug about an hour after we sold our washing machine vomiting over everything and my wonderful Dubai friends rushing to rescue (I think a washing machine and my friends is a running theme!) March also saw me get the chance to meet up with some lovely UAE bloggers as we headed for Picture People. Coffee and a chance to get my boys on film, yes please!
April was a turning point for us, all of our worldly possessions were on a “big ship” ready to start a new life back in England. Yet as our stuff sailed away we were headed out for a sneaky weekend in Qatar to see whether it was right for us as a family.
May saw the final, very surreal, moments in Dubai. Having to say goodbye to the friends who became family, the friends you didn’t know how to say goodbye too. Flying home for a new chapter, a new adventure.
Living without the husband for an undetermined amount of time, not knowing when his new job would begin in Qatar and inching ever closer to his redundancy date in the UAE. Being able to catch up with old friends, yet losing touch with others questioning whether the fact I am now a mum has made a difference. And of course June saw me attend my very first ever blogging conference in #BML16.
And so redundancy happened. The husband left the UAE forever and came to join us in the UK, still with no idea when we would be headed for our new life in Qatar. A whirlwind month where we did what every expat does and toured the country trying to see as many people as possible. Heading to Ireland to see old friends from Dubai and a whistlestop tour of the South of England staying in a different bed every night as we caught up with friends from University, culminating in my sister-in-laws wedding.
After a cheeky weekend in Paris and a child free wedding in London it was time to leave. Time to head to Qatar. Before living in Dubai I absolutely, definitely did not want to be an expat. Yet here I was ready to move to Qatar. August saw us board a plane for a new life out here… I am the trailing spouse.
My baby started school!? And I still have no idea how I’m in possession of a child old enough to be at school….
In Qatar news we found a house, shipped all our stuff in and began to settle in and make friends. This was also the month I published my favourite post on the loneliness of putting yourself out there. That post had the expats of Doha reaching out to me, inviting me to coffee, to breakfast, to lunch. That post showed me the power of blogging and made me some true friends.
Said baby who isn’t old enough for school turned four. Our residence permits came through just in time to allow us to travel for a sneaky weekend to Dubai to meet the newest baby to the Dubai crew.
November was meant to be fairly uneventful, and it was. I lost my blog mojo AGAIN and was pretty crippled with exhaustion from the fact that the baby still didn’t sleep. But other than that it was just ticking along nicely, until the husband went and broke his foot. The week before he finished his probation at work. A husband with a broken foot is no fun, he couldn’t walk, pick up the boys. And of course lost his outlet in running. Fingers crossed that his ankle picks up enough soon for him to start training again as he is meant to be headed to Vienna in April to run the marathon.
Then here it is. December. The end of the year. If you’d asked me at the start of the year where I expected to be at the end I would have said somewhere in Kent, tucking the boys up in bed, snuggling down with the husband. Before we both got ready to go back to work on Tuesday. I could never have predicted our move to Qatar, ever. Still having the privilege of being a stay-at-home-mum. I wouldn’t have had the luxury of heading to Langkawi for the week before Christmas to get away from it all.
The one thing that 2016 has taught me is to expect the unexpected and to embrace everything that is thrown at you because you never know where it may lead.