Well I hate to break a month of silence with anything less than a gushing post about how fantastic my time away was (because it really, really was amazing), but my goodness, I’m lonely. In a future-self kind of way, because it hasn’t been a nearly long enough period of time since arriving home in Dubai to accumulate anything like the depth of emotion I am feeling about it. But we got back on Thursday, my husband returned to work on Sunday, and for the first time in nearly two months I feel as if I am faced with nothing to do and no-one to see or talk to or spend the day with. My handful of friends here has, as is customary, depleted in stock over the summer. Of those that are left it’s a lottery as to who will run the course for the next 12 months. Returning from a long break away it’s sometimes difficult to pick up expat friendships where they left off, and often its the case that people who were slowly falling off the radar before the summer hiatus simply don’t bother to reinstate themselves and quietly revert to the occasional Facebook message or ‘How are you? It’s been AGES’ text.
But the fact of the matter is that for the whole summer I’ve luxuriated in having family and friends on tap, making arrangements almost every day with different people and going to a whole variety of venues where both I and my son can enjoy ourselves. My husband has been on holiday with us for nearly three weeks and so despite an awful lot of packing and unpacking and travelling around, I have been able, in the interim, to relax and spend some daylight hours being ‘me’ rather than just ‘mummy’. I’ve had a whole load of people to talk to and laugh with and since we’ve been back I feel like I’ve gone social cold turkey. With just a very grumpy, disoriented, jet lagged two year old for company. And it’s not a good feeling after so many weeks of living life full to the brim.
I am hoping that the start of school next week will bring some relief, at least to the ‘who’s going to meltdown first’ battle that my son and I are currently locked in. And of course the weather will start to cool off as well which means that we can go outside again for more than a 20 minute sauna just before the sun goes down. I will settle down and get used to the idea of being here again, which of course is the main reason I am feeling so out of sorts. And my life will build itself up again from nothing, the same as it does each year I return. Already, in the 24 hours since I started writing this post, I’ve had a job offer and been asked to appear in a play, (pretty cool eh?!) so I know that it’s only a matter of time before life gets busy again. And it’s a fact that the Dubai die-hards – actually anyone who’s been here longer than two years will do – will come back from their summers with new incentives, new ideas and hopefully ready to make some new friends because all their old ones left. (Tip: if you’re leaving Dubai, maybe you’d care to run some sort of friend speed-dating event before you go so that all the people you leave behind can benefit from your social network?) Newbies will arrive fresh faced and starry-eyed waiting to pick our brains at the school run. And you never know, somewhere along the line I might just become friends with a few to fill the gaps of those who are gone. The hamster wheel that is Dubai life goes around once more. And despite my reluctance to get involved yet again, I will grit my teeth, jump on and run as fast as my little legs will go, in the hope that the loneliness subsides as quickly as it came.