There comes a time in every expat’s life, where that ultimate question will inevitably need to be asked. You get to that point, where something or in actual fact nothing, can happen to spark a debate over the dinner table. Pros and con lists are drawn, emotions run high but ultimately there is just one thing that needs to be answered…..Do we stay or do we go?
When we were in Prague, it was actually me that raised this question first. I felt stagnated, as we entered year 3 of our Czech adventure, and needed a major life shake up. Hubs was open to the idea of exploring new opportunities and we knew, that whilst this could take a while, we had ultimately decided we were both ready to go to pastures new.
Flash forward and there is a significant lack of actual pastures, whilst the grass is figuratively greener on the other side, here in the land of sand it literally isn’t. Joking aside our move to the desert almost 4 years ago, was a daunting one, but has actually become more fun, adjustable and in ways easier than our European transition. However, when we arrived we had a 2-3 year plan, so as we are nearing year 4, the obvious question has risen its ugly head.
Is enough, enough?
So here we were, just a couple of months ago, seriously debating our desert life, future prospects and general appetite to continue. Whilst I was happy, I knew that a new career challenge was deeply needed for my better half. A move was on the cards, at this stage in principle, so my expat wife hat was back on, I was pragmatic, practical, became less sentimental about my life here and prepared for the potential adventures ahead. Normally, you would have time to digest this life decision, finding a new job, a new country that ticked your boxes, takes time. It’s not like you wake up one day, say I am ready to move and weeks later have it all wrapped up. Although, in this case this is exactly what happened! Just days after deciding it maybe time, the universe colluded and dropped something into our laps, which we far from expected.
Then came the mental preparation to start assessing this logically, being careful not to get caught up in the whirlwind. This time was lonely, I couldn’t be open with people about this part in my life, it may not come to anything, plus expat circles (especially in Kuwait) are very small. So I kept our moving cards very close to my chest. We of course keep communicating with each other but there are days when nerves and anxieties kick in and I just want to grab a friend, vent about the emotional rollercoaster, so I can hold it together at home.
The unusual pace continues and a month later we are at a major junction. A decision had to be made. The research had been done, we’d weighed up every detail, made and remade the decision 10 times over,
but we were clear….we would be leaving Kuwait.
This is actually the least stressful moment. The choice was made, I got excited about the next stage, avoiding the fact that I had to pack my life up and move it to another country, I was in my little bubble thinking of all the new things, the expat firsts we would be having all over again. Eek this is the fun bit
In midst of the excitement, came the reality of breaking this news to people. This I did not relish, we were close this wouldn’t be easy. There were very mixed reactions, some did not cope well, some were blasé but without exception,
they all worried about who was going to hold Book Club and brunch together!
After knowing that they only wanted me for my social organisation, I knew they were going to miss me. I had the realisation that I too would miss them and that I would have to start from scratch all over again, an exciting, terrifying and daunting prospect. It was done, people who needed to be told knew, some I had missed completely as this news coincided with the expat summer exodus (sorry girls if this is the first you know of this!) but it was out there, it was real, it was an end of an era.
yep c‘mon people you knew it wouldn’t be that simple, its expat life! Suddenly out of nowhere, a month down the line, an offer to stay. Erm what!? Ok ok, I had just psychologically got myself detached, looking forward and now this. The thing wasn’t a certainty, interviews needed to be passed and other parameters met, so a curve ball within a curve ball!
I am not going to lie, on the outside I was this calm, strong supportive wife, on the inside I was shitting it! I was now thinking about all the things I love about Kuwait and our life here, then after another cup of tea thinking about all the amazing things I was looking forward to in the new location. Confusing was an understatement and what didn’t help, is my usual put together, non emotional, straight talking husband was equally confused.
Of course again, I couldn’t confide in anyone as I didn’t want to say to my friends
oh I might stay, to then have say, nope we off…again.
So weeks more of emotional turmoil, back and forth, dinner table debates and late night chats. We actually came to the conclusion, that we replicate our life in every location we go. Yes, of course you tailor certain things to where you are, but the nuts and bolts are the same. We like a quiet, slow-paced life, meals out, chilled weekends and travel options to enjoy. So actually does it truly matter where we live?
The emotions continued to run high into the middle of last week, I was quite literally losing it. I walked into my training session and said to my trainer I will either punch you or burst into tears. She turned up our happy playlist, we shook it off with Tay Tay and an hour later, I was out of my head and just focussed on the fact that I was bloody exhausted! Still on my gym high, I finally got the news that I needed to hear, a finally decision, clarity on our next step, no biggie, just what country I would be living in come September……….
🇰🇼 Kuwait 🇰🇼
Hubby and I hugged each other hard that night, when we walked in the door. It was like we both simultaneously exhaled and relaxed for the first time, in what felt like weeks. All that uncertainty definitely takes it toll and even though either outcome would have been a good one, I felt relief and an inner smile that our desert life was continuing. It’s a new cycle, a new start but with all the same familiar things we have grown to love. As I head to Jersey this week, I will definitely be viewing my return to Kuwait differently, it has been home for 4 years and it will be for that bit longer. I am happy and we have both said, that whilst so much of it will be same, it will be different. We are turning something down for this life, which shows us how much we really enjoyed this period in the sandpit. I am going to take this time to view things in a new perspective, try new things. I am excited, happy and grateful that this journey continues.