This time last week we were headed to the airport ready to board the plane back to our life in Qatar, our second expat stint away. A stint where I was no longer the reluctant expat, rather more the reluctant repat. We landed on Monday evening and it was straight back to Qatar life.
Before I moved to the Middle East my geographical knowledge of the area was poor at best. I’d heard of Dubai (good thing too as our first expat stop) and I knew the Bahrain was out there with a causeway to Saudi Arabia.
But that was it.
I’d never heard of Doha. Of Qatar. I’m not alone with this, a lot of people I’ve reconnected with in the UK haven’t heard of Qatar either.
Yet for us, Qatar is home.
And I am glad to be home.
Firstly, being home with my husband. Each night knowing he will walk through the door has made such a difference to our family dynamic.
Towards the end of the long summer migration my eldest was struggling. Whilst we were loving being able to go outside, the fresh air and running round. The multitude of wonderful trips that we took.
The crux of the matter was he missed his daddy. He missed being at home. And my cautious boy was feeling unsettled. Which was impacting on his self confidence AND his attitude. Each night, at some point during the night he would creep out of his bed and into mine. Some nights I woke up when he came in, some nights I didn’t. Each morning I woke up to a little blonde head lying next to mine.
With Daddy first coming back to England, then coming home to Qatar, we’ve seen an improvement. A more secure little boy. A happier little boy, and one who no longer feels the need to climb in bed with me every night.
Of course, it’s not just Daddy we’ve been reunited with…
First days back in school
Not to be outdone the first days back coincided with the first days of school. This year, once again, I didn’t cry at the school gates. I watched as my eldest ran to find his school friends. Smiled as they all greeted each other delightedly after a long summer away. Watched them pull each other this way and that, excited to be reunited after so long.
Summers that had been spent in Turkey, Poland, Qatar. I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, but in my sons class of 24 there were 18 different nationalities last year (we have some new children this year so I’m not sure at the moment!) where all that mattered was how was your summer? And I’ve missed you – let’s go play.
Friendships that have been forged, as solidly as my own expat friendships. Friends who were delighted to be back together, and a start for a school that was simply magical.
Not to be outdone my youngest went back to nursery, his final year before he joins his big brother at big school. The same nursery but new class, a tentative beginning quickly moving to a Byyyyyeeeeeeeee Mummy on his second day. Running to get to class his bag on his back.
First play dates
Then there are the non school friends, the friendships that had been forged with the entire family.
Breakfast dates and excitable children running round, eating, playing laughing. Coffee being drank, and tea. Sixteen people sat round the table. Settling back into life in Qatar like easing on an old coat.
Letting Qatar envelope us once again.
Coffee dates, play dates, gym dates, martini dates.
Pool days, couch days, LEGO days.
School days, weekend days.
It’s good to be home.