Seven and a half years ago we chose to leave the UK and start our expat adventure, albeit reluctantly on my part, since then we’ve lived in Dubai before moving over to Qatar where we’ve lived for the last four years.
In those seven and a half years we have been lucky enough to travel with our children all over the place, we’ve been cruising in the Caribbean, ate lobster in the Seychelles, explored Singapore, froze in Azerbaijan, delighted in a city break in Georgia and of course, every summer we have returned for our summer sabbatical in the UK to escape the oppressive heat of the Middle East.
And then came Coronavirus
This year for the first time we haven’t left Qatar in the summer. We haven’t seen family or friends at home for over a year now. We don’t know how long it will take us to get back if we choose to leave with the requirement to be both a resident permit holder and needing an exceptional entry visa to get back into Qatar.
So we haven’t. We’ve sat it out here and zoomed the UK. The baby has gone from being a squishy six month old when my brother last saw him to a walking, talking, boisterous two year old.
My feral four year old has grown into a stubborn five and a half year old since my mum last visited. And don’t even get me started on my giant eight year old who has grown up in front of my eyes.
We were hoping to head home at Christmas time. To celebrate a second birthday and Christmas with those we love.
And now there is lockdown 2.0
Another dimension to the conundrum.
Would we even be able to come home and see those that we love? Probably not.
Would we be able to furnish the house that we have? Probably not.
So now it looks like we’re staying put again.
And although I have gotten my head around it that we won’t be leaving, and I am excited for Christmas plans we have in place. The food, the drink and the friends who become family.
I can’t help but feel a little bit flat, like a deflated balloon.
The idea of months more of 50% home school 50% real school, the restrictions, the claustrophobia of not being able to leave the country and know we can come back, it’s all wearing thin.
I am over it.
And I know WHY we are doing this. I understand that it’s my own first world problems at feeling this way. And I get that there are vulnerable people who need protecting. So I am doing my bit, wearing my mask, staying home more than going out.
But that doesn’t mean I am wrong for feeling this way.
Doing the things that we’re being asked to do doesn’t invalidate my feelings, the boys feelings, my husbands feelings.
It’s been a long year 2020, set to get even longer without seeing those we love. And while we have had some wonderful moments, and fantastic time spent together. Moments that my husband wouldn’t have been able to see if he wasn’t working from home. Time we wouldn’t have had together if the boys were at school.
It doesn’t mean that it’s been easy, or that we’re not grateful for everything we have. Including our health, our jobs and being together.
But that doesn’t mean that we aren’t feeling flat, deflated and fed up at the same time.
And it’s ok to be feeling this way.
For me and for you.