Here I am, back in full swing of desert life and as I suspected there really is no one around. I have experienced 3 Augusts in Kuwait now, each one the same as the other, hot, uncharacteristically humid and a ghost town. I don’t know why I am surprised, as the mass expat exodus is far from over with school still a month away from resuming. So as my phone is as quiet as the streets, there is only one thing to do, spend time with me, focus on myself and realise, for the next few weeks at least, there is only I.
Me 7 years ago, would have seen this predicament as an utter nightmare. How could I possibly entertain myself every day for a month? How could I spend my days alone, with nothing to concern myself with? How can I fill an entire day? How could I not have interaction with anyone?
I am a people person by nature, not just because I like to talk the hind legs off a donkey but because I am far happier in company.
That was the one thing I found really tough during our time in Prague. I worked from home, so for 8 hours a day it was just me, alone. Some days there would be no interaction with the office, I didnt have much of an expat community around me and the Czech woman at the local supermarket was hard pushed to crack a smile, let alone spark conversation. So sometimes a whole day would pass without a single word spoken to another human being, until Hubby was home. This at times could be demoralising, lonely and taught me a lesson in self survival.
Very quickly I learnt that I had to be ok with just me. I had to learn to accept that sometimes you need to be self sufficient, independent and a little brave. As an expat we aren’t always surrounded by help and support, especially in the early days of relocation, you just have to get on with it and if like me Hubby goes out to work less than 48 hours into your arrival,
you just strap on a pair and do what you need to do.
Of course I, like I am sure many others, are bricking it inside and I am not (or should I say wasn’t) a brave independent person, I struggled to spend an afternoon alone without reaching for the phone to find someone who was free, so how on earth was I going to navigate a new country. I put pressure on myself, to not to be the moaning, weak, unable to cope trailing spouse. We embarked on this adventure together and I had to keep it together, supporting the man I loved and make this work for us both. So in order to survive my Czech adventure,
I got used to me,
being alone… just me,
and knowing at times,
just me….is just fine.
Guess what?! It worked, I settled into expat life far quicker, loving our bohemian life in a beautiful city and realised I was scared in those early days, but not of the move but predominantly of my own company.
So here we are, 3 years on from our Prague adventures, 7 years on from suddenly being very aware that I wasn’t great on my own. One thing I knew leaving Czech, was that along with my suitcases I had packed a whole lot more self confidence and that this expat was a little braver about being on her own, just in case the life I was heading to was initially going to be a lonely existence. Luckily, my life in the sandpit, is the polar opposite of my European self, here I am back in my element playing social secretary, having my days filled with social get togethers and loving the expat camaraderie. The people person, the chatter box, the social link, is back.
Each year the summer escape is upon us, everyone’s personal plans are shared and return dates exchanged. It is always very apparent that I am one of the first people back in the land of sand, but without kids to entertain out of the desert temperatures I have no need to be away for months on end and quite frankly I don’t want or need that. I am always happy to come back, even when I knew it would be to the abandoned, desolate, furnace. Even Hubby keeps showing his concern, asking was I sure I was ok coming back to no one being around or what was I planning on doing with my days minus my desert girls and endless cups of coffee. To my surprise, I realised that I am actually ok with this situation. The idea of just having some time to myself, getting back into my routine, with no pressure from anywhere, no real need to interact with people, was kinda nice.
I think how far I have come over the years. I am actually relishing this period of it just being me. Some self care, self focus and it maybe selfish but I am doing what I want and I need to do. Don’t get me wrong, I will be very excited by the return of my girls and to resume the weekly Ladies that brunch but for right now I am happy, contented and relaxed in the knowledge that all the company needed is me, myself and I.