It is early Sunday morning and we have had a super busy weekend spending both evenings with our amazing friends who we have made while living in Dubai. It is not uncommon for us to have droves of people in and out our house during weekends but the scary thought, for Julian and I, is that it may be one of the last times that we gather together like this at our home in Dubai.
We are sitting at that cross road that most Dubai expats sit at at least once in their time living here, the choice or lack thereof to leave the country. This situation leaves you with two real options, one you go back to your home country and two you head to a new destination.
I believe that if you are a single couple the choice is far less complicated but when you have lived in a country for nearly a decade, had children, own a dog and a horse the choices become alot less simple. While Julian and I have always known that at some point we would always move back to South Africa, I think we wanted to make that choice under our own steam and not under the duress of redundancy.
We are not new to having to find new jobs while living in Dubai but this time it is different, this time around we are weighing up the options of our family and the fact that our parents and grandparents are not getting younger and knowing this we do feel that we need to make sure that our child has been given every opportunity to have the best relationship with them as possible but most importantly we believe we as a family need to push the reset button.
After 5 years of juggling our schedules, working over weekends and fitting family time in around that we want to take the opportunity to shift that perspective and put our family first and for the first time since moving here we dont believe that Dubai is the place where we are going to be able to find that balance. So the next step is ok, do we move back to South Africa? As much as I would like our knee jerk reaction to be of course, have you read the news lately? Under the pretense of getting university fees to become more affordably there is a full scale riot ongoing in most cities with notable universities fueled by racial intolerance from both ends of the colour spectrum. Just last night there was a farm attack close to where we live in rural South Africa which the current ruling government is choosing to ignore because it suits their political agenda. It is a rather bleak out look on the country at the moment.
But this post is not a punt at what is wrong with the country because there is so much good that can be found as well, having our family closer together and being back in proper nature and of course we understand that we are going to have to readjust our expectations massively. But this is an honest review of what any family would have to take into consideration before moving back. As a mom who grew up on a farm and had such freedom to roam and explore wide open spaces, camping and fishing I do want the same for my son, I want him to have the love of the African soil.
Besides the massive adjustment of our expectations, the hardest thing for me is going to be saying goodbye to our friends who ever the years have become our family. The people who have shared in the heartbreak, the joy of the birth of one another’s children and the happy times we have had together. I envision myself standing in an airport with all our belongings in a container and saying goodbye and it hurts. I know that, without a doubt, we will have them come visit and share chats via social media but without that day to day contact it is going to be hard.
There is a wonderful saying from Winnie the Pooh, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard” Im going to try my best to make sure there are not too many tears but that is one promise I may not be able to keep.