Saturday, 8 October 2011


Recently, I've been pondering what "home" really means to me. Facebook has a section for "home town", and I haven't put one, because I honestly don't know where my home town is. Is it where I grew up (but left when I was 17?) Is it London, where I lived for 10 years after that? Is it the town in Surrey where we bought our first house together? Or is it, in fact, the city in the Gulf which I now call home?

I've realised I have lots of "homes". Sure, the UK will always be our home country, the place our families are, and there are certainly places there that make us feel "at home." But still - driving back to our villa the other night as the huge, orange sun was just setting, I felt very at home here, too. We've been here nearly three years. We have a great house which is getting ever lovelier as we gradually furnish it, some great friends (amongst some not so great ones - such is life) and our son was born here. My career is really taking off here, too.

In the last couple of weeks, there was a small chance we might have been able to move back to the UK. I surprised myself by feeling very mixed about the chance to move "home."  The UK, as you all know, is in a very bad way financially at the moment. Many of my old colleagues' jobs are at risk. The aviation industry is unstable, and salaries there are low. Tax is 40% (if you're lucky.) Fuelling a car is a frightening experience. Food prices are on the rise. And crucially, I'd have to go back to work full time if we were going to be able to afford a nice house and childcare for our son.

So, as sad as I was when the opportunity was taken away, I was a little relieved, too. This way, I get to work part-time and bring up our boy, pay no tax (not a bean!) on anything I earn, and live in a house we'd have to be millionaires to afford in the UK. And we get home to the UK around four times a year, so it's not as if I never see my family.

I do miss my old friends, though. I crave an evening over wine and crisps with girls who've known me for years.  I've had a few depressing short-term friendships here (a fact of expat life) and it's so shallow. Sometimes, only old friends will do.

Still, one of them told me last night that she's planning a trip out to see me very soon. I'm thrilled.

1 comment:



Relationship Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory