Saturday, 12 March 2011

Settling in

It seems a bit ridiculous to write "settling in" as the title of a post written two years after we moved to the Middle East, but there you are. In many respects, it really has taken this long to feel "at home" here.

Recently, for example, my husband and I finally cancelled our mobile phone contracts in the UK. We'd been hanging on to them, saying they were useful when we went home for holidays - but really, it was because we both thought, in the back of our minds, that we might not last out our time out here, and might need them if we moved home. Finally, though, we have severed those ties.

Moving into our villa has helped massively, too. We've just come back from a week's holiday in the Seychelles, which was paradise on earth. But when we arrived back at the airport yesterday morning, we both said to each other, "it's good to be home". Finally, we feel that our house and our city are the place where we belong. Getting back to our own bed, our kitchen, our comfy lounge and growing collection of garden plants, felt right.

It's not been an easy road, by any measure. And many other families I know out here are still struggling with it. There's an inevitable cultural shock, and things are done very differently. You're miles away from your families and old friends. And it's very, very hot here during the summer. Some of the people we know out here are desperate to return to their home countries. It's very easy to get sucked into negativity about the country and the company. There's a lot of bitching about terms and conditions, and I think moving away from company accommodation has removed me from that, which has helped hugely. Living so close to all my husband's colleagues and their families reminded me so much of boarding school, in so many respects - and they're not good memories!

Still, I feel very comfortable here now. Partly, that's because I know my way around, know how things work, and have a base. I've always been rubbish at change, and it takes me quite a while to adjust to new things. And it's also because I really do like where we live. It's not perfect, by any means, but neither is the UK, which is very financially depressed at the moment (and that's an understatement.) Here, the sun shines every day, we don't pay tax, we have a great house, we're 20 minutes from the beach, and we have some lovely new friends.

We won't be here forever, but - it's home for now. And that's a great feeling.

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