NNNOOOOOOOOOoooooo!! Was my first initial reaction to emigration. I mean this can’t be happening, I’ve just picked up the Denby gravy boat, which by the way I had to order online to complete my Black Diamond Denby dinner service and now this, I haven’t even had a chance to use it yet! I also had a feeling that it would be difficult to get Meadows and Byrne serving dishes in Qatar. My partner was insistent that it was very important to have something to put on my designer plates and thus must work abroad. Men. Being a natural peacemaker I started my decline from my perch (while it didn’t provide a great perspective, it had fabulous furnishings) and began to make arrangements to move. This decision did not come without conditions. 1. I will not be having any visitors and I will be staying in anyone’s spare room when we come home to visit. 2. I will not engage in the wearing of yellow gold jewellery and enthralling my friends in Ireland, with “the price that this would be if you were to buy it here”. 3. I will not be spending my mornings drinking coffee with a clutch of expat women who talk incessantly about children and summers houses. 4. I will not be having a maid or a driver, I like to run my own house, the way it’s meant to be run.
With a significant amount of organisation and the absence of control, I began to pack, everything that I held near and dear, near being my should high vases and dear being the contents of the wine cellar. We had planned on renting our home while we were away, the prospective tenants shall hereby be referred to as “they”. After all we were coming back soon and “they” weren’t going to eat the place or any of my expensive furniture ( I packed some away just in case). Everything was packed with great care, my pictures, my lamps these were the items that defined me, and I was afraid that even by looking at them “they” might wear them out.
Over my final few weeks in civilisation ( small Irish town of c.2000 population) I did all the things I expected of myself. I hosted dinner parties for the girls, luncheon for the local women, get together for my family and the outlaws and a big going away party with a bouncy castle, of course, for my children and their friends. I was practised at this stage in telling everyone that we had planned to come back in 2 years and that while I understood that 2 years was a long time to hold ones breath, it had to be done- recession and all that. I had started my own business and things were going well, not from a financial point of view mind but more from a friends clapping me on the back saying, “fair play to you kind of thing”. Of course I suffered from a little stress over the past few years, a coffee with anxiety, brunch with depression but doesn’t everyone, I meant doesn’t everyone lie in bed at night, stressing over their family, his family, work, no work, kids, babies, no babies, affairs, no affairs etc. , ok maybe not everyone, but I’m sure there’s more than me. So all that being said you can understand the huge impact this re-location was having on me, I was bad enough in my environment, what was I going to be like out of it. . I really had so much here, I knew all the people in the vicinity, the girls were in the national school and I had already enrolled them into the secondary ( next to the national). I had my walking, we went on nice holidays and this time next year, I was going to lose a stone and go back to work, all my plans, foiled.
All the goodbyes were carried out with just the right amount of sentiment and practicality and the keys of the kingdom were left with a friend, in case “they” wanted to see the house before handing over the national debt of Greece to pay the mortgage every month.
And we were off. Middle East here I come. This enthusiasm did take a bit of a dip at Terminal 3 in Heathrow, I just hadn’t seen so many Asians in an enclosed area before, I couldn’t see anyone there that might be interested in chatting about goings on back in Galway. It was this point that I realised I had focused a lot on what I was not going to do, now came the question – partner at work, kids at school, no internet connection, WHAT AM I GOING TO DO???