When we moved to South Africa in January 2011 we had no idea how long we'd be staying for, other than we had a 2 year visa and we were hoping for a minimum 3 year stay to ensure the eldest child with us, completed his education.
Within the 1st 6 weeks we nearly moved back on more than a few occasions, but this was due to lack of support and help.
We knew before we moved here, that it wouldn't be our 'forever' home, but I never realised how much it would become 'home' for me.
We don't own property here, all the children and families are back in the UK, I don't have a job, but I have my voluntary work, friends, community, a sense of belonging and there will come a time when we have to say goodbye to that and move somewhere new and start again.
We have no idea when we'll be leaving or even where we'll go. Will we remain expats? Will we return to the UK? Whatever happens, when we leave South Africa, we'll leave a little bit of us behind.
When we left the UK, we knew we'd return, for visits and one day to live back there again, but when we leave South Africa there will be no going back. Yes we'll visit and have holidays, but it won't be the same. For starters we won't have visas, so our maximum stay will be 90 days and with that no bank accounts and no proof of residency a lot of the things we've benefited from such as annual membership with SAN Parks at a very good rate will no longer apply, gym membership, medical aid, etc. We will never live there again, we will only ever visit.
That makes me very sad to know that a country we embraced, called home for nearly 4 years, will no longer be home to us.