The Expat Rollercoaster

The last nine years have been busy to say the least.

At the end of August 2012 I left the office for the last time to head on maternity leave with my eldest. I fully expected to be walking back into the office nine months later when my maternity leave ended.

Instead we were in Dubai and I took an extended career break.

Two countries, two more children and six house moves after I stepped out of the office and here we are.

Except the rollercoaster doesn’t end

It’s part and parcel of expat life. Particularly expat life in the Middle East. Throw in a world changing pandemic and you have the perfect storm.

This summer has been our expat rollercoaster ride.

We have not known whether we were coming or going. And most of the time it has felt like I have been running round like a headless chicken going nowhere fast.

The story begins…

Way back in April, when we were tootling along. Mixing up home learning with in school days. Tearing our hair out with phonics and reading and a very energetic toddler.

When along came a curve ball.

A new job opportunity arising in London for the same company my husband works for here in Qatar.

Will we take it. Won’t we take it.

Followed straight up by the third wave of COVID hitting Qatar and shutting the schools. We were taking it. School places were applied for, and granted. Flights home were booked, via an amber list country as Qatar was still red at the time, and we said goodbye to my husband as I prepared to go home first.

Peak District - green hills and stone walls

So I arrive back to the UK, to the green grass of home, and finally see the house we bought in lockdown (which is a whole other story). Prepare the kids to start at their (gorgeous and wonderful) new school. Set up my freelance work.

We begin to navigate life in England. Summertime making it easier to explore. The wonder of buttercups and dandelion clocks. School glorious school.

Our house is slowly getting more furnished.

two brothers using a buttercup to see if they like butter

And then it changed again

Just like that in a blink of an eye.

My husband had been promoted in Doha so the green grass of home was once again to be replaced with the dusty orange sand of the desert.

Luckily my husband was able to come home to England to meet us. To spend 6 weeks in the Peak District with us, and watch out the end of term in the school that they would now be leaving.

A summer spent with seeing friends and settling into our new hometown. A house we will be keeping and a village we have become a part of.

Before we knew it, it was time to board the plane back home.

three brothers waiting to board plane at London Heathrow

But as we all know

Expat life is a rollercoaster, everything can change in the blink of an eye.

And while we are back here in Doha, embracing life and what it can offer. We know that things can change as quickly as they are stable.

The important thing is to remain flexible, but above all to be positive. To look for the silver lining in every situation, because there almost always is, and to make the best of it. The more positive you are in every situation helps you to handle the changes and the curve balls that life throws at you.

Because although expat life is a rollercoaster – I wouldn’t have it any other way.

three brothers sat on a wall

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