I do wish people would stop saying that. For the past 4 years it's been assumed that every minute of our lives in South Africa has been full of sunshine and laughter and opportunities and safaris on a daily basis.
Yes we've had some wonderful experiences and visited places we'd never even dreamed of visiting. But we had that when we lived in the UK, travel with the kids to the States, Turkey, Tunisia as well as most of France. We regally went to football matches at various grounds and to Wembley. Hubby travelled with work to places we'd probably have never visited and I tagged along on occasional weekends to extend his trip. The kids had unlimited experiences with us and their friends to do a lot of things that their peer groups weren't doing and life was very good.
We still had the drams, the hassles with schools, a 6 bed house to keep clean and tidy, the endless washing, ironing and trying to cook meals that all the boys and hubby would eat. Stress at work, extra pressure from study, but we had family near by and plenty of friends as did the kids. We plodded on in-between the dramas and excitement just about like everyone else does in life.
In South Africa we still plod on and we plod on ok, but we made huge sacrifices to just plod on and No, the sun, the pool etc does not make our lives anymore glamorous than it was before or any more exciting than yours is.
So why isn't moving to Dubai exciting for me then?
Because I know exactly what's going to happen, I'm already extremely stressed sorting out our visa applications and the paperwork for the cat and dog. So far the process to move to Dubai from South Africa is the same as the move from the UK. Short notice, little support, hours of phone calls, googling, appointments etc, .
But this time there are two added complications.
1. our visas to live here expire on January 11th 2015 so we're on a tight deadline that can't be extended
2. both applications had to be made from the UK, but this time we're living in South Africa
There are three differences this time.
1. I'm not working so I have the time to do all this stuff
2. The children have already left home since we've been in South Africa
3. I know what's coming
When we were leaving the UK for South Africa. I expected that once the stress of the move was over and we were in our new home that life would be wonderful and exciting, but it became clear as soon as we arrived that the promised help with finding somewhere to live wasn't going to happen. This time our move to Dubai will go smoother as a) I have a pre visit to the new country, which I didn't get when we came to South Africa and b) during my pre visit, house hunting trips have been lined up for us and we are getting assistance with the physical move.
So why have I been so stressed? so wound up? crying? shouting?
Because when we arrive in Dubai and we've unpacked our furniture and hubby starts his new job, I'm back to being on my own, friendless, lonely and have to reinvent my life, find work, go out there and meet people, learn new cultures, laws, rules.
It took 4 years for me to settle in South Africa, to feel I belonged, to understand how everything worked. I dealt with the last child leaving home and adapting to empty nest syndrome, sending the 14 yo back to the UK to complete his education, finding volunteer work so I felt I had a purpose as I couldn't work here, make friends and now it has all stopped, suddenly, overnight.
life is now on hold for me, I have 2 weeks before I fly to the UK then onto Dubai. December the 1st is booked for the packing, the dog and cat need their jabs etc within a tight timeframe, we need to find somewhere to live over Christmas with the pets. We have 2 kids to book flights for and time our move to Dubai with the kids, before sending them back to the UK in January. We have our goodbyes to say and a car to sell.
The 4 years in South Africa have just whizzed by and I know that the moment we arrive in Dubai, I will not be putting in the same level of effort again to settle in there as I know that as soon as I do, we'll be on the move again. I just can't invest all the time to have to change it all again.
Right now I can't see the future, the positives, yes I can get a job, but I haven't worked for 4 years. I'll meet new people, have opportunities for travel, but I've already done all that.
That's why for me the move to Dubai isn't exciting.