Four long haul flights
Eight different beds
One blood vessel-bursting tantrum
90kg of luggage
Lots of lie-ins (thanks mum)
1,124 miles driven in the worst hire car ever
Half a stone
200 hours of work
Two bike rides
One cheeky night away
Two congestion charge penalties
Three nannas, two grandads, five aunts, four uncles, five cousins, two great uncles, one great aunt and a couple of great grandparents for luck
Several bottles of wine
Lots of laughs
A few tears
One fun summer.
Green green grass of home(s) (Photo credit: Matt Ohia)
Well here we are at the halfway point of the trip, a little bit over even…and my heart is already quietly lurching at the thought of returning to Dubai in three weeks’ time. We are tanned, relaxed and happy and I am appalled at the thought of reversing all of this. To go from fresh air to air conditioning, from beaches to shopping malls and skanky soft play areas, from being surrounded by family and friends to scrabbling for play dates, it all seems so far away still but I can feel it creeping up on me and I don’t like it one bit. There was a time maybe a week or so back that I was missing a few aspects of my Dubai life, but now I can’t imagine what I was thinking. I know this feeling well of course, and I know it is inevitable that we do have to go back, and by the end of August might have even kidded ourselves we want to go back – but the bottom line is we will still have another eight weeks or so before life in Dubai becomes an even remotely attractive prospect. And that eight weeks is guaranteed to crawl in comparison to my time away of course.
I like Dubai, I do. It’s a little unfair of me to draw comparisons of everyday life lived anywhere to a 7 week vacation including a two week holiday spent on a beautiful beach with not a care in the world. Clearly no matter where I lived the beach would win. So I’m sure I will surrender to my return easily and without too many tears. And come November I will no doubt be saluting the gods who made it possible for us to live in a place that enjoys such glorious winter weather. It’s just that I know, in my heart, that we never enjoy ourselves quite as much as we do when we are home (home to me being at least three different places on two continents, but home all the same). I try to counteract my feelings with the practical facts of the matter: we are on holiday and people make a special effort to meet with us, that life wouldn’t be the same way if we lived nearer etc. but the point is that I’m sort of past all that thinking. I accept that real life would be different, and potentially not as much fun, and there might be fewer trips to museums and beaches and so on involved….but equally there might not. There is nothing to say we can’t do all those things, in fact one would argue there is more time to do more of them if you don’t have a return ticket to worry about.
But in the knowledge that this time I do have a deadline, I will make sure the remaining three weeks are full to the brim with people and happiness and seeing and doing as much as we possibly can. Now is not the time to mourn the end of our trip (and in fact if the olympic coverage by NBC wasn’t so dire i wouldn’t have thought to even start). There is plenty of time for sulking inside with the aircon blasting when we get back. The grass is certainly greener on this side of the planet, the air is fresher, and our hearts stay west with our loved ones even as our bodies travel east. This year I take comfort in this knowledge rather than being depressed at the thought, and is a far better feeling to have. It doesn’t stop me from dreading the end of our trip but it certainly will take the edge off being back.
In the meantime I say what i hope is a temporary goodbye to our magical little spot on the shores of cape Ann…and it’s onwards to destination number three: Big Apple time!