So with literally hours to go until we returned to the UK, amidst all of the frantic end of term shenanigans, I took a moment or 2 to reflect on the last year. Was it worth it? Was it the right decision? How do I feel as I technically head ‘home’ for a summer break? It seems appropriate that I get round to publishing it the day we return to Deal.
This time last year I was just thinking about setting up a blog to help create memories of whatever lay ahead and give people at home a way of still feeling connected. I didn’t want to forever be posting what we’d been up to on Facebook. 1 year ago we were busy thinking about what Mongolia might be like, what would the school be like, would the children settle but in amongst all of that we were trying to work, say goodbye to people near and far and pack up our home. Little did we know how it would all turn out, what adventures we might have and what memories we might create. If I had have known, would I still have come? Most definitely, yes. We can always wonder if we’ve made the right decision, whether we should have accepted a job in Tanzania or carried on looking elsewhere and we can always wonder on the hard days if the grass would be any greener but I can truly say that I don’t regret our move one bit. The problem was, we didn’t dislike our life in the UK, some people thought it was a massive gamble that we were taking but as I’d said to friends who’d done similar moves in previous years, ‘if we really don’t like it, we can always come home.’ Did I ever want to come home to Deal? No, not permanently, in the depths of winter when we were still in minus temperatures, I would happily have popped home, had a quick coffee and cake (or maybe bowl of Weetabix with proper milk) but then I would have returned to the life we were creating in Mongolia. At the hardest points, I was looking at TES for jobs in other countries, but never at the price of flights back to the UK except for the quick coffee trip.
It has been an amazing year, full of opportunities and fantastic experiences. Opportunities for me to develop my management skills – in a big way with scenarios that you’d never have to deal with at home, opportunities for me to be out of my comfort zone – both during work and leisure time and opportunities for us as a family to travel to places that I’d never dreamed we’d be able to. Work has been incredibly hard at points, completely due to the fact that I am part of SMT. If I had opted to be a class teacher only it would have been easier on us all but with hindsight I have enjoyed the challenge and now I don’t really want to go back to being the one being told what to do. However hard it is, I like being in charge!
As a family, during the week, time is very precious but the weekends are a completely different kettle of fish to what they were back home. No ferrying Erin to Hastings and Sittingbourne for gym competitions, no ferrying Seb to football matches around East Kent, no negotiating with Noah (ok so we do still have to) about which one he’d rather go to. We have good quality family time. Would I do it all again, yes, it’s not easy but that’s the fun of it. Those of you who know me know I like a challenge, moving house, having children, training for a 52 mile challenge, going back to work full time, moving country, not sure what it’ll be next although I have a few ideas up my sleeve, but what I do know is this I won’t be regretting our move to Mongolia. Our children may not go to gymnastics, be part of a cricket team, go on Scout or Brownie camps, have dance lessons, go on PGL, take the Kent test, but hopefully they are learning about what a great place the world is and what is possible if you just try.
So go for it, push yourself out of your comfort zone every now and then and you might be surprised at what you find. Even if things don’t turn out quite the way you thought or wanted, you’ll learn something new from it and in 20 years you won’t be disappointed at the things you didn’t do but pleased with all the things you did do.
Enjoy your summer holidays.
Fun in the Cotswolds.
Back in Deal.