Don’t Go

I’ve been telling myself for the past three days to stop thinking about our leaving date. I wanted to just enjoy what was happening now, and not think about it being over. I kidded myself that I was doing it, with a set of proverbial fingers in my ears I kept the mantra “this holiday is not over, this holiday is not over”. But, there was packing to be done, and the supplies in the pantry needed to be eaten. Cereal allocations served as a reminder each morning.

“We have two boxes of Weetbix, can’t you eat the Weetbix? We need to get rid of the Weetbix”

The mental list of what will stay and what will go lengthened as I made my way from one room to another. Will barbie be sacrificed for lego? What can be removed from its box and pushed into a ziplock bag? Do we have enough Vegemite? Should I bring the new shampoo? I can survive without the shampoo. Maybe I should just head to the supermarket and do one last scan. Leave the towels, take the goggles, one more trip to the beach, remember the goggles.

Tonight is our last night at the beach house. Tomorrow we will have our last swimming lesson, maybe go to the bakery for one last time, and then we’ll drive to Adelaide to spend our last night in town before getting up early to fly back to Qatar on Tuesday.

I don’t want to go.

This is the first time in years that this has happened, usually I’m keen to get back to a routine. I’m keen to have children back to school, keen to drive my own car, catch up with friends, and return to living in a world where things look a little different than my ordinary, my normal. But not this time. I’ve been home for too long, I’ve settled, I’ve soaked up the energetic colours, oh the colours, and inhaled the Southern skies. I’ve worn a shirt over my bathers and no shoes to the fish and chip shop, and not once thought I should probably be a little more covered. Not once have a caught the eyes of someone who is displeased with my bare shoulder or naked knee.

I’m Australian. Dinky-di, ridgy-didge. I’m sun-kissed. I’m a cheers, thanks mate, a pasty with sauce and an ice-coffee thanks, veg or salad, bloody hell! Ya joking!

And it’s not just me.

Yesterday I overheard G speaking to a mate, he was shaking his head in astonishment “FAAAARK!” He’s now swearing in Australian.

The expat gloss has dulled, perhaps it washed off in the surf and faded in the sun. And I have once again returned to the familiar world of geographical schizophrenia. I can see the life, I know I love it, and would miss it if it weren’t there. But, right now, just here, a voice in my head persists.

Don’t go.

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  1. Must be so hard to leave after so long. And not the usual visit home now was it? As a man who has always lived in the same city (except when I was in college) I have nothing to offer. I am sure that once you are settled back in your “other” life, you will be fine again.

  2. I was only home in Oz for 2 and a half weeks and didn’t want to come back either. We need to find a medicine (other than G & T’s) for Geographical Schizophrenia. We missed our connection back to Lagos in Doha and had to spend the whole day and Friday night – felt so weird to be there as I have read so much about it in your blog and I just wish you had of been around for a cuppa…next time. Safe flight and how lucky are we to come from such a great Country! S x

  3. I think my previous comment got eaten … You wrote what is in my head. None of us are ready to go back to Singapore. We are having some real conversations in our house about how serious we are … or if it’s just pre-packing homesickness for our holiday spot.

    • We had a similar moment tonight. G and I had to remind each other that this is a holiday and if we had to drive back to Adelaide to go back to work tomorrow, it would be just as tough. I always have to remind the kids that Oz is not all beach trips and bakery stops that there is also school, house chores and homework – sometimes I need to remind myself of the same thing. Good luck with the travel “home”. xxx

  4. Safe travels <3

  5. I’ve been there, done that. Should’ve bought the tshirt.

    Living back in Australia is totally different from visit/holidaying. It’s a case of going back to budgeting, bills, school, jobs, normality. It isn’t as you have lived in the past couple of months.

    (Sorry – just saying how it is – we returned back from Abu Dhabi to live back in Australia a year ago, thinking we were better off. In hindsight, na, we aren’t any better off. Our years in the UAE seem a blur and we wish we could get them back. Exhaust the ex-pat life in Doha as much as you can can….you’ll be right once you are back in the normality of your Doha lifestyle)

  6. Don’t go xx

  7. Thanks Melody . I too needed to hear that !

    • No problem. I wish someone had said the same words to us when we decided to leave. Alas, no, we were the guinea pigs of our group of friends in Abu Dhabi…

  8. As long as you are all together as a family, you will be happy no matter where you are! But it is always tough to leave “home”.

  9. I’m singing the HotHouse Flowers song as I read this post….

    And I’m lyin’ warm on the soft sandy beaches
    And my toes are submerged in the water
    And it feels good.
    Children playing building castles on the shoreline
    Like a painting that we loved and lord
    It feels so fine.

    Don’t go
    Don’t leave me now

  10. safe journey 🙂

  11. I felt similarly when I went home for the holidays. We were only away from Doha for 2 weeks, but it was a really wonderful 2 weeks that made coming back to Doha soooo verrrry hard. It look a few weeks of “weirdness,” but things are okay now. 🙂 Here’s to hoping your “weird weeks” fly by!

  12. You’ve captured Geographic Schizophrenia perfectly. Travel safely, and may you re-enter as painlessly as possible

  13. I don’t know you except through your blog but I have tears after reading this post. Safe travels. Hope it will all be good.

  14. Funny; I *wanted* to feel what you felt. It had been two years since we left for home but it didn’t feel like home. Our house was rented so we couldn’t stay there, but were guests the entire time. “I don’t know where I belong,” my daughter tearfully said at a few key points during our three week stay. I understood.

  15. Geographical schizophrenia, like the expression. Always had been aware of the language schizophrenia, now am able to consider the geographical one too. Thanks for your touching post.

  16. Stay.

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