When we left in January 2011, child 2 was living in Germany, child 3 had just moved to Reading 4 months earlier and children 4 & 5 came with us. During our time in SA, the kids and I visited the UK twice a year for 2-3 weeks at a time and Peter once or twice and usually with work.
By the time we moved to Dubai in December 2014 we were child free. Now we live in Dubai, I visit the UK for several months at a time and Peter is over 2-3 times a year.
The first 6 years we stayed with family and friends, then in 2016 we purchased a one bed flat in the town where my mum lives so we had a base, somewhere to stay and just switch off and relax in.
However for the first two years it was lived in first by child 5 and then child 3, while they were in-between jobs and travels.
All the kids are back in the UK now apart from child 3 who lives in Australia.
When I'm back in the UK and in the flat, which is near my mum and my niece and her 3 children who I refer to as Thing 1, 2 & 3 on social media, with Thing 4 due in August, I'm able to just drop in and out of their lives, meet them in their homes, coffee shop or in the park.
Spending time with our children though is harder. Child 2 lives a few miles away with his wife, child 5 is in the Cotswolds, some 50 miles away, Child 1 lives in a care home 40 miles away and child 4 and his fiancé live in Northern Ireland.
As it's a one bed flat it's difficult to entertain visitors in such a small space, however it makes a great meeting point for child 2 and 2a to come and visit before we go out for dinner and of course we are made very welcome when we visit them and they're close enough just to pop into for a cup of tea on my way too and fro from visiting child 1 & 5 and the wider family who live near them.
Visiting the eldest and youngest child is more difficult. Child 1 is profoundly disabled and lives in a care home, whilst it's a beautiful home and the care staff are lovely, it is difficult to make ourselves at home there and we rarely just visit and sit with our daughter, instead we take her out. Due to her needs and weather dependant, we go for short walks or if it's raining visit the local supermarkets where we can use the toilets, the ground is even and we can access food and drink easily for her. Occasionally we'll visit on a weekend so we can take the short drive to visit child 5 in his home town and walk around there with them both.
Visiting child 5 involves after work activities and we usually just end up in the pub for dinner. We can't really visit him in his home as he lives in a HMO.
Child 4 and 4a involve a flight, car hire and accommodation, or they'll come over to the mainland when we're in the UK, they'll stay with my mum if both Peter and I are in the UK or I'll vacate the flat for them and stay with a friend who lives in the town. When we visit them they are keen to show us around their town and surrounding area and we've been for days out and walks with them as well as meeting extended family and friends of theirs.
Top left and then clockwise
Child 2, child 3, child 5, child 4 and child 1
So what do we do with our adult kids:
We shop/wander around town
Meet in the pub
Pop in at theirs
They pop in at ours
Sit in the garden/by the river
Meet at family or friends houses
What else could we do with our adult kids and why we don't:
Go to the cinema - can never find a film we all agree on.
Go to a concert/theme park/museum/stately home/garden centre - No one is really interested, not in a group anyway.
Go to the beach - to do what? Sit there? Rock pools? Dig sandcastles? Eat chips? - everyone works, only Peter and I are on holiday when we visit.
Of course when they come to visit us, they are on holiday and there's so much more to do in Dubai, it's not really that big and the weather is perfect November till February for days on the beach.
Do you have adult kids? Do you do anything different?