Geographical Schizophrenia

In the week leading up to our trip away, I was acting as a tourguide for our guests from Australia. I love living in Qatar and I tend to get a little overexcited about the opportunities available when living here. By the end of the week I’d worked myself into such a frenzy, I was thinking of lining up job interviews for our guests. I had no idea if they wanted to live here or not, I’d just decided that they should. Me? Bossy? Never. Perhaps it’s not bossy maybe just a little overeager, combine that with the fact that if there is a proverbial Qatar bandwagon, I’m not just on it, I’m sitting up the front wearing an “I heart Doha” t-shirt shouting “everyone jump on, jump on!”

I like living in Doha, I REALLY like living in Doha – but unfortunately it doesn’t just stop there.

I love living in Australia, it’s my home and there have been times where I’ve been so happy to be back there I’ve kissed the tarmac upon arrival. I am an irrationally proud Australian, which is why it’s very strange that I have a good cry every time I hear the Canadian national anthem. Canada is a truly beautiful county and it’s true what they say about Canadians, they really are that nice. I miss our Canadian friends and have forbidden myself from asking the “what if we would have stayed” question as it’s just too confusing. However, I miss our house in Houston, the local sushi place, the convenience of the gym, family bike rides along the bayou and the swing that hung from the big oak tree that I could see from our kitchen window. I’d return to Kuala Lumpur in a heartbeat, I know exactly where I ‘d send the children to school, where I’d live and get my morning coffee. The same goes for Jakarta, I stood in front of our old house in Jakarta only a couple of months ago and remembered the first little traveler’s very first birthday party and cried, we left Jakarta too soon. We have promised the children that one day we’ll return to Libya and go back to all of our old haunts.

I know. I sound like a madwoman.

I have a name for my condition.

Geographical Schizophrenia.

I’m self diagnosed and I know I’m not the only sufferer.

Geographical schizophrenia isn’t only for expats. It’s a common condition for anyone who has moved from a country town to a big city – you don’t have to leave the country, you can just move states. You can be armed with every piece of common geographical sense as to why your current address works for you, but when you least expect it, a little piece of nostalgia will sneak into your senses. That reminds me of….

I can usually keep it under control, but it tends to flare up after a trip away that involves catching up with old friends. Particularly friends I won’t see again without one of us having to get on a plane. After a week away it hit me this morning and I did what I always do. Stayed out of everyone’s way. I’m not a lot of fun to be with when I’m in the throws of GS.

After a week of second hand stores, corner pubs and enormous parks with towering trees bursting with blossoms, I knew I couldn’t face Doha today. As much as I love it here, there are a few things I miss. Farmers markets, footpaths on high streets and quaint little cheese stores will now be thought about and planned for our trip to Australia in June.

Today was the decompression day. A day to unpack, to think about old friends, to load the photos, to admire the purchases, and to Skype with my parents who provide the foundation. Today is the day to appreciate the fact that I am so bloody lucky to be sad and miserable about missing people and places.

To be thankful for my geographical schizophrenia.

Anyone else feel they belong in two, if not more places?


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