Geographical Schizophrenia

After spending 10 weeks in an Australian winter our arrival back to Qatar in mid August seems obscenely hot and sticky.  As we walk from the plane across the tarmac, Little Traveler number 4 expresses what we are all thinking with one long “HOOOOOOOOOOOOT”. As I look across the horizon I can see the familiar desert haze, the middle eastern styled housing and that gorgeous desert sun. I couldn’t feel further from Australia. At 6.30am it is 38 degrees with 75% humidity.

For the past ten weeks we had lived in boots, wooly jumpers (sweaters) and jackets. It was our “summer” break from school in Doha. This year was a little different, after 10 years of talking about having a place in Oz we had finally bought our little piece of Australia. A place of our own. The beach house.

As usual when returning “home” we quickly overdosed on all the things Australia could provide that eluded us in our overseas travels. We’d woken up each morning and devoured toasted crumpets slathered in vegemite and drank warm milo’s while the “Today Show” played in the background. I filled the fridge with Maggie Beer pate’ and Shaw and Smith Savignon Blanc and The little Travelers quickly rediscovered ABC kids, pies with sauce, and finger buns. Various footy shows were watched, The Australian  was spread out over the kitchen table and we talked about our new female Prime Minister and if “Mr Rabbit” would win in the upcoming election.  Grandparents came to visit and were visited. Daily walks were had on the beach. We were home. I couldn’t get the smile off of my face, finally the children had a “home” in Australia. I worried about how we would all cope when it came time to leave.

On our return, as we made our way through the Doha Airport I felt a warmth that had nothing to do with the weather. It’s a feeling of familiarity,  excitement. The signs are in Arabic and English, there is mix of local men and women with expats from all over the world, it all feels a little exotic. I stand once again fascinated watching a local family reunite, the obvious respect a group of siblings have for their mother as they fight to take her luggage, the ritual of the nose kisses between brothers.

When we arrived back at the compound and made our way through the front door we were all immediately accosted by the beagle who didn’t stop jumping on the little travelers for about the next two hours. The little travelers telling her “it’s okay, we’re home now, we’re home”.

It appears we now have two homes. As I look at how quickly the children seem to have adjusted I begin to feel a little melancholy for the life we just left.

I have a feeling that all expats, both those who are currently on the adventure and those who have returned “home” all share that same feeling of melancholy. We love where we are, we miss what we’ve had, and we dream of combining it all.  Geographical Schizophrenia.

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