Over the past 6 years child 2 has known 2a, she has never been to our home. Nothing wierd about that as we live abroad and it's not been practical for them to visit us. I spend half the year in the UK and Peter joins me often and as they live the closet to where we are based we see more of them than the other children.
Over the past 6 years we've met up with 2 and 2a in a pub, her parents home, my parents, gone shopping and more recently in their home and in the 1 bed flat we own in the UK near to where they live.
We've been visitors in their lives in a similar way to all the family members over the past 8 years since moving abroad.
I never gave much thought to 2a's visit with us in regards to her seeing the real us, until she arrived and saw 2 sitting on the same sofa with the same lounge furniture we had when he was a child. His childhood home looked very similar to the one in which we live in now, but for 2a this was her first time of seeing us in our environment, seeing our tastes in furniture, experiencing our lifestyle and being with us in our comfort zone, our home.
Six years is a long time to know someone for and never to have had them visit. Would she have expectations based on the way my mum and dad lived? or the way we'd decorated the flat? which is minimal with few personal possessions.
Were Peter and I good cooks? (Peter is) would she like the food we ate, would she feel comfortable in the guest room? Would she be OK for 10 days? Or feel like she's stuck with us and just being polite?
As we've seen 2a in her environment, her home with 2 and her family home and eaten out with her in the pub, we had an advantage over preparing for her stay.
Usually our visits last a couple of hours at a time or when we go out for the day it's been to the shops, a kind of neutral territory for us all.
But 24/7? Obviously they've been to the beach and wandered around the mall on their own, as they're doing right now, but the rest of the time when we're at home we're doing our own thing, watching the football (which she enjoys), helping us prepare for dinner and clearing up, chatting while 2 and hubby sit outside.
2a` has the confidence to say to us 'no thank you' or 'can I come to the dog park with you' she's decisive when asked what she'd like to do during the day or eat and drink. She'll happily sit around and is patient while I sort things in the home and offers to help. She's confident when we go to the souks and can handle herself with the sales pressure.
She's a joy to have in her lives, she's aware and carefree that I'm blogging about her and most importantly is great company to be with.
So I think in summary, she likes our home, she feels happy to be with us and hopefully now we can share a few more experiences when we chat about day to day life when we next visit the UK for shopping, meals out and visits to hers and 2's home.