I've experienced the return after the summer quite differently this year to how it's been previous years - I was feeling positive, and looked forward to coming back!
(Yes, it might have something to do with finally seeing the end of the "being-together-with-my-kids-24/7-for-those-never-ending-nearly-12-week-summer-holidays"; or with the fact that we now already are exactly halfway between the start of the summer holidays and the start of the winter holidays!)
When we lived in Brunei, I would come back after the long holidays with what my friend Nicole used to call "the European hangover". It's that feeling of having been transported from one place on this earth to another, completely different one, so quickly that the soul takes a few days to catch up.
Here in Abu Dhabi, I seem to have come back and gone straight into something more like a depression. Our first return here I was still hopeful, two years ago I wrote this post, and last year this one. September has certainly previously seemed to equal only doom, gloom, dust, boredom, loneliness and beige, beige, beige.
So, why did I feel differently this year?
I think the trip back to Brunei was rather healthy, for all three of us. As per usual when you leave something behind, you tend to look back and only remember the good things. I guess I did too with our life in Brunei.
Don't get me wrong, it was absolutely AWESOME to come back, and the first many days I was thrilled to once again get to live all the things I had really missed; the rain, the jungle, the animals, the hikes, the smells, having a helper, the hash, the tropical temperatures, school, certain foods and not to forget - the friends. Both the kids and I were so excited to meet everyone, and ecstatic to find that we seemed to just slot back in again, like we had never left! Brunei is a very special place, and we got close to people there in a very different way to here. The friends we have there are in many ways like family to us, and it was great to be back to spend time with them.
But, after that first initial crazy happiness over being back, I started to look at Brunei with my Abu Dhabi eyes, and quietly started to wonder if I would move back? I came to the conclusion that no, no I probably wouldn't. (I would make it work if I had to, but if I had a choice, no, probably not.)
Instead I started thinking about and appreciating all the good things we have in our life here, and surprised myself looking forward to getting home..! Say what?!
I have always said - there is no perfect place.
You have to determine, together with your family, what your priorities are and what is most important to you - and then try and find a place that ticks as many of your boxes as possible, or at least the most important ones, to you. Especially when you are in similar situations to ours, a couple from opposites sides of the world and having lived in four countries since we met; none of them our home countries.
At the moment I am just happy that I might have broken the cycle of depressed returns, and have started to see, enjoy and be grateful for the good things here too.
I am still lonely, but hopeful this might be the year when I find a new friend, or two. Until then, I celebrate that we are more than halfway through September - and I'm happy to be exactly where I am!