Last time I wrote I was in the boiling heat of Ramadan, wondering what on earth to do with myself and the boy to keep us entertained until we could get on the plane ‘home’. Currently I am in the freezing cold of England, wondering what on earth to do with myself and the boy to keep us entertained until we could get on the plane ‘home’. It’s the worst bit about the summer, that feeling of relief at escaping the heat and the emptiness of Dubai and heading towards loved ones, only to get there and find, a few weeks later, you’re missing the very thing you’ve spent months wishing you could escape from.
As the years roll by I find myself becoming increasingly foreign in my own home, too. (By ‘home’ I’m referring to the UK at this point…try to keep up). There are now loads of things that have changed so much since we left I am convinced that should we EVER make it back here again for good, I will spend six months looking like a complete spanner whilst I play catch up with ‘how to be English’. One of my first ever posts on this blog was called ‘Staying Relevant‘. I wrote it during the Royal wedding fever of early summer 2011 and much of it still holds true. However as the years roll by and we still aren’t back, I’m finding being an expat in England ever more trying, and here are just a few examples of this I’ve accumulated so far this summer:
– I got fined for not paying the congestion charge I forgot existed because despite living in London my entire adult life until 2006, I’ve never driven through it (who lives in London and drives?)
– I casually asked my son to pop his jacket on before he got out of the car because it was raining. He gave me a blank stare and said ‘I can’t.’ I thought he was being a sissy about the rain until I realised he had no idea how to put a jacket on, because he’d never worn one.
– I had to put a message out on Facebook to ask people where a really good bookshop was in central London.
– I packed two maxi sun-dresses and honestly believed there would be opportunities to wear both of them.
– The US family say the boy sounds english, and the UK family say he sounds american. I am fully aware he has what I would term an ‘expat accent’ – a sort of faux american Third Culture Kid twang that will probably mean he sounds foreign no matter where he is for the rest of time, leading people to say things like ‘he can spell really well considering english isn’t his first language’. (Someone said this about a fully grown TCK friend of mine recently, so I can say with full authority that it happens).
– I still can’t remember if you’re supposed to turn right on the filter light even when the filter isn’t green yet. I spend a lot of time hoping I don’t end up at the front of the queue so I can copy everyone else.
– I found myself taking pictures of trees this weekend. Trees. WTF.
So, we have another 2.5 weeks to go and it’s all good, but I’m a little jaded. I miss my house, my cats, my friends and my life. And yet I’m living the double here, and loving living my life here too. It’s the best and worst of both worlds, five weeks of split personality that never seems to get any easier to manage and never gets any easier to leave behind. I guess the answer is to make the most of it, and enjoy the trees.