How is it already June?! I can not believe that time is passing so quickly and that the summer escape is nearly upon us. As the temperatures rise, Ramadan continues and the kids are entering end of term craziness, the desert girls and I are running down the social events and looking ahead to months away from the sandpit. Now whilst most of my friends are eager to escape, some literally counting the days with excitement, I have a very real, inner tug of war going on. I am so ready to see my family and friends, but there is a massive part of me just not ready to leave. The fact that I am less than a week away from heading to the motherland, should have me planning every inch of my first few days on The Rock and have my “getting off the plane” outfit all picked out, but this time there is something holding back. Has my desert life stopped being full of randomness and now truly become home?
Do not get me wrong, of course I am thrilled to be going back to my island home and seeing all the people who continue to make this a very special place in my heart. However, its tough to leave the life that is so much established and somewhere I feel so settled for such a long period of time. Due to the fact that Kuwait to Jersey is a 3000 mile, 19 hour door-to-door trip, when I do plan time back there I obviously want to make the journey worth while. This added element, needs to allow me to spend quality time with the family, see all my friends for essential catch ups and not run myself ragged. So a minimum of 3 weeks seems logical, but even then I still feel stretched.
When the extreme Kuwaiti summer starts to crank up and I know that all my mummy friends will be out of the country for 3 months, it seems the obvious time to take advantage of joining the expat movement out of the desert. So what follows is a delegate balance of finding a convenient time for Hubby and I to be apart, when flight prices are not through the roof and when I can impose myself of my lovely mum.
I know I am very lucky that
1) I have the ability to be able to just take a month away
2) have a supportive Hubby, who is so understanding when I want to take time out of our life here and
3) know that my mum is more than happy for me to take up residence in her spare room for as long as I want.
All of these factors don’t make the decision an easy one. Yes I don’t have a job, so I can drop everything and go if I want to, but I do have a life here. It is so tough to walk away from it, even though I know none of my friends are around, so my social activity would literally grind to a halt. I guess the main factor for me is Hubby, (this may be a little gushy so bear with me) as we just aren’t that good when we are apart. We are one of those couples that is happier doing everything together, we love our “just us” time, so choosing to be apart is something I really struggle with.
When we entered this expat journey, we decided right from the get go, that we would ALWAYS do this together. It was never an option for me to stay in Jersey, whilst he worked abroad and I flit between the two. Now there are many expat families that do work this way, due to the kids being settled in schools or the location being far from appropriate for the family to be together, so I totally get that this scenario may and does work for many. Our life in Prague didn’t really pressure us all that much, as I was still travelling back and forth to Jersey for work and family and friends slotted in and around business trips…win win. However, the move to the desert was always going to change things, logistically visits back would be fewer but obviously the emotional need to visit would still be there and if anything this increased,
as distance only compounded my desire for time with loved ones.
The arrival of my beautiful niece late last year, has made me want to be home more, of course its a natural reaction to want to be part of her life and not miss out on her growing up. FaceTime is a wonderful thing and my weekly chats with her (well I say chats, my sister holds the phone up in front of her and I coo away, whilst she looks at the floating head in a box somewhat bemused!) are so precious. Hubby instantly said to me I could go back whenever I wanted, he was supportive as always and knew that I may need more than a technological connection now and then. However, that thought and my annual summer trip has raised so many conflicting emotions for me. In fact surprisingly the main emotion is guilt.
I feel guilty for leaving Hubby, as he works whilst I live it up in Jersey. I feel guilty because part of me wants to stay here and not go back. I feel guilty that I want to see my family but that means sacrificing time with Hubby. I feel guilty that I’m already dreading the craziness of running around, when I do want to see everyone but know its going to be a challenge. I feel guilty that I’m not a real expat, I always promised I wouldn’t be a flit in and out wife, so does this trip away mean I’m not truly living this life?!
And of course, because I’m and over analysing Virgo, I feel guilty for feeling all of the above!
It’s so hard to find the balance and I do still struggle with the internal battle of island girl versus desert girl. I can not wait to see my mum, little sis and my beautiful niece. Spending time with my bestie, catching up with my Island girls picking up just where we left off, playing with my God sons and hearing all that is important in a 5 year olds life. All of this, is why I go back time and again, my beautiful island full of beautiful memories. However, leaving my desert life simply gets harder and harder. I will miss my Hubby so so much and I am sad that he has to continue with OUR desert life alone, as that wasn’t the plan.
Do I get the balance right? I have no idea. I guess that all I can do is go with what my heart, even if at times it does feel conflicted. Both places, both sets of people are so important to me and are a major part of my life, they shouldn’t be tugging at my emotions vying for my attention. I just need to learn to allow them both in, accepting that sometimes one is needed more than the other and that’s ok.
So this time next week, I’ll be heading back to my other home, I will love every second and can’t wait to do all my favourite island things, but rightly or wrongly I know I will be leaving part of myself in the desert.