Expat Life

Expat Life

Sometimes we get quite caught up in our daily life and everything seems completely normal (it is) but then something reminds us that we are living in a place that is so different to where we grew up and that choosing this life has taken a lot of risk taking and bravery. 

Just this weekend we went out to explore the new mangroves walk and we stopped to acknowledge how amazing it is to have something like this on our doorstep. We have lived in the UAE for a short five months but we have done quite a lot. I’ll share some pictures here of our experiences so far. Scroll over any photo to read where we were. 

-Mrs T

Update

Update

A long overdue update! Looking back through the blog we haven’t posted regularly since 2017, when we first moved to Doha. We ended up completing the two year contract and moving on from Doha to Abu Dhabi. It surely wasn’t in our long term plan but Doha just wasn’t working out on enough levels. Mr T secured a job at Cranleigh Abu Dhabi and we began our transition to move. At just over 4, Little T was not keen on the idea, and spent many days telling us he hated “Abi Dhabi.” We kept things quiet in the summer with a few weeks in Doha, a lovely month in Phuket, a few more days in Doha before starting fresh in Abu Dhabi. 

The transition has been easier than expected and we absolutely love it here, even Little T. Upon arriving it just made us realise that Doha is a young city and actually much smaller than we originally thought. Abu Dhabi is big! We have found it very family friendly and are lucky to live in a beautiful community. We really do hope to stick here for awhile, we are definitely tired of packing up all our stuff.

We have also firmly rooted ourselves as an unschooling (home educating but without any formal curriculum) family, I will continue to stay at home with Little T and we will both be learning together as we live. Over the last few years I have been reading and listening to lots of podcasts and this lifestyle really feels the best for us. It allows us to slow down and really embrace and notice the learning that we experience everyday. I’m sure I will have much more to write about this as we go. 

For now we are just enjoying the beautiful winter weather here in the Middle East, spending long days at the park and chilly evenings cozied up together with a movie. 

-Mrs T

Slowing down

Slowing down

One of the biggest changes I have made in my life since becoming a parent is slowing down. I have vivid memories of always driving too fast in my late teens/early twenties because I was so busy! Often working several jobs, going to school and balancing time with family members and friends, at the time I felt happy and it was probably what I needed then, I am so glad I don’t feel that way anymore. 

Living overseas has really helped in this area of our life. Even our first two years of parents when we lived in the UK, I felt like I had to do, do, do. It feels quite natural slow down here in a new city, we know less people so there are fewer obligations. I guess I could be running around like crazy trying to meet people and make friends, but now I trust that it will happen when it is time. I make an effort but also relish in our slow, slow days. 

This is an aspect of unschooling that I really love, allowing time for children to move at their own pace, which is often much slower than ours. Every time we leave the house I am grateful I am not on a time constraint to get Little T to school on time or myself to work. It is not always enjoyable to wait for him but I am glad I have the opportunity to do so. 

Waiting can reveal such wonderful things. We recently visited the Abu Dhabi Children’s Library, an amazing place which deserves a post all of its own. On our last visit I noticed that Little T waited patiently as I gave my details and held up his hand to receive the wristband children are required to wear to visit. This is a big change to our prior 4 or 5 visits. Before he refused to interact with the staff at this check in and would not consider wearing the band. Observing this I made accommodations for him, for the first visit I held the band and stayed with him at all times. On future visits, he began to allow the band on the back of his shirt, and then this time it was his choice to allow the staff member to put the band on him. It really does seem like a tiny thing, but I noticed it and I am sure he did as well. He was given the space to make decisions for himself and to come around to it in his own time. By respecting his opinion I was putting our relationship first, which is what is most important for us.