In January this year, my husband and I began a long distance marriage. We've been living abroad for 9 years, with only 2-3 years before Peter retires and issues with our tenants in our family home, we decided I would return to the UK with the cat and dog and prepare for our eventual full time return.
I will travel month on month off between the UK and Dubai, ensuring I met the visa requirements for Dubai, 1 visit within 6 months. For the UK, 193 nights per year.
Well life never works out as planned and I returned to the UK on the 24th March, the day before Dubai closed it's borders and the UK went into lock down.
I've written often in the past about loneliness and how isolated I feel living as an expat, especially when Peter travels as much as he does. I'm a do'er, a planner, a get stuck right in and make the most of every situation and take every opportunity that arises.
The day before I left Dubai, Emirates announced the suspension of all passenger flights and on arrival in the UK I received notification my visit back to Dubai on April 27th till May 27th was cancelled. In hindsight I've done the right thing coming back to the UK, although my family think I should've stayed in Dubai with Peter. We have no idea when we'll see each other again in person.
Peter works in hygiene in the food industry he is busier than ever. I already feel my life has been put on hold by living as an expat and juggling family life in the UK, it was impossible for me to work.
Life for me in Lockdown hasn't changed much.
I spend 10 hours a day on my own, when Peter isn't travelling. 10 hours everyday, without kids, a job and friends, it's a lot of time to fill every single day. I make sure I go out everyday for a coffee, a walk. When I'm in the UK Bob and I walk for hours, stop for coffee a bit of shopping and home. In both Dubai I can spend the whole day without a verbal conversation with anyone other than 'I'd like a latte please' and 'thank you'
I am lonely and bored in Dubai, especially when the summer comes making it almost impossible to leave the house in the heat. In the UK I spend my time with family and friends, people are more inclined to chat here, dog walkers, other coffee shop goers, random people in the supermarkets.
I have plenty to do here in the UK with our home and garden. Thankfully all the major jobs were completed in January, all the stuff I need to finish painting and for cleaning has been bought. Back in February before Peter returned to Dubai, I made the most of the car hire and did a huge food shop, dog food, cat litter, washing liquid etc. I have enough to keep me going for several months.
I've got a pile of books, DVD's (one of the things the tenants left behind) I have basic tools to carry out simple repairs and enough tools to sort the garden out.
I have boxes of my late fathers belongings still unsorted, I have crafts to do and seeds to plant, things I'd bought for family and friends for easter, that I won't be posting now, including 4 small easter eggs and a selection of jelly sweets to snack on. I can still walk the dog for the time being and food shops are every 9-10 days.
I have regular video calls with family and friends, and several times a day with Peter. I'm confusing loneliness with boredom and boredom with loneliness. I have plenty of things to do in the UK. I'm surrounded virtually with family and friends, something I don't have when I'm in Dubai due to voice over internet being blocked over there and I don't have much to do when I'm in Dubai other than walk round the malls and go out for coffee and the occasional pub quiz or dinner out.
Has much changed for you?