We fly back to the UK tomorrow for three weeks over Christmas. Apart from the obvious problem of trying to pack everything we need for a baby and toddler into two suitcases (algebra was easy compared to this), we are all bursting with excitement about coming home – and here are the reasons why…
1 – Seeing family, friends, and our dog
We go months and months without seeing our family and friends in the UK – and our dog, who now lives with my Mum and Dad, and is very missed. Stanley made me laugh yesterday when he announced we were ‘going back to our people’. He can’t wait to see his grandparents, his dog, his aunties, and his friends. His best friend Raffy, who left Dubai back in July, is very near the top of that list too. I can’t wait to see them running around being nutters together again.
2. The Weather
I’ve always loved the seasons. I love it when summer turns into autumn and the leaves lay in carpets on the pavement – and I especially love it when autumn turns into winter and the lawn is painted in frost every morning. I miss feeling the cold on my skin when I step outside, wrapping up warm, and sitting in front of roaring fires. It’s lovely being able to go to the beach every day of the year if we wanted (and I’m sure I will be grateful for it again in January), but for now, I need a dose of cold to remind me of my Britishness. Stanley says that it will be very cold and he will need to wear gloves, scarves, hats, and shorts and T-Shirts, so I think he’s in for a bit of a shock…
3. The Shopping
Dubai is no let down for shopping, but the truth is that everything is so much more expensive and there is only about a tenth of the choice that we get in the UK. When I first walk into Sainsburys after months away, I feel like a kid in a sweet shop. The choice is amazing, the prices unbelievable, and the baby aisle so packed full of goodies that I immediately start throwing things into the trolley with wanton abandon. I’ll be arranging a date with Sainsburys before I arrange a date with anyone else; I miss it that much.
4. The Traditional Pubs
First of all, a disclaimer: I very rarely drink these days. A hangover with two small monkeys attached to me just isn’t worth it. But if I did fancy it, alcohol is only served in licensed places in Dubai, which are usually five-star hotels – and drinks are very pricey (for example, a friend recently ordered a whisky and was charged £80 for the glass after a mix up with a premium variety). I am not saying that is wrong; this is a Muslim country and I absolutely agree this should be the case and respect that. But once back in the UK, there is something very lovely and uncomplicated about being able to walk down the road, through the doors of a pub on the same street that you live, and order a glass of something. And if a roaring fire is added into the mix and menu of pub grub; even better!
5. The Great Outdoors
Dubai has its fair share of places to hang out outdoors – beaches, parks and marinas within the city, the desert and mountain ranges within a short drive. But I miss the green, green grass of home. I can never believe just how colourful everything looks when we arrive at Gatwick and start the drive home – it’s almost as if everything is in HD, suddenly so much crisper and more colourful. This has something to do with all the dust in the air of Dubai I think, where everything seems to have a soft focus. I love taking Stanley to the local park to feed the ducks, to the woods to walk the dog and hunt for Gruffalos, and to the centre of town to look at Christmas lights and wander through an outdoor high street clutching a warm Christmas coffee (not a coffee cooler, rejoice!) Living in an apartment, I am so looking forward to the simple joy of being able to open the back door and let the boys explore the garden while we’re back in the UK. It’s the simple things I miss and this is definitely one of them. Bring on the mud!