Things I look forward to….

As the date fast approaches for our return to the UK I continue to put my head in the sand about us actually leaving. I love South Africa and our life here and if you follow this blog you know there are so many things I will miss (sunshine, wine, food, people, travel, wildlife, Channel 5 on the radio…)

But there is no point wallowing – we are leaving and I need to accept that. So in order to try and make things a little easier about the move home I have started to think not so much about all the things I will miss but the things I am looking forward to about being back in cold, damp, grey clean, safe, errrr, green Britain.

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So first and foremost yes I will appreciate being able to step outside my front door and simply walk. Walk whichever way I like, on my own, without thinking about whether my handbag is zipped up properly or if someone is following me. Even at night. Not only that but we won’t have to battle our way through a grill, double lock and security gates just to pop to the shops. Plus at night we can sleep without locking ourselves in a keep (which will be good for our dog, Cooper, in particular who resents being woken and dragged upstairs when we go to bed at night; I realise we could leave him downstairs and outside of the safe area but he is too precious to us to do that!).

Talking of dogs, and talking of popping to the shops, I am also looking forward to taking him with me. I am not yet sure if I will ever be confident enough to tie him up outside a shop like so many people do back home while they nip in for a pint of milk and a daily newspaper (ah yes! getting my news from a hard print copy rather than online, that will be a nice novelty too). But I like to think I will be able to take him out and about with me a lot more regularly than I can here. The Brits love dogs – they are even allowed in pubs. I will just have to remember that it’s an absolute no-no to leave any dog poo unbagged, even if he does it nice and neatly in a little bush out of the way where no-one can see it….

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And when I go to those shops I am looking forward to more choice. In all honesty, the food shopping in South Africa is fantastic and we really haven’t missed much. But there are some areas where they don’t do so well and where we in the UK seem to be world champions – like yoghurts and other desserts (so many types!), and bread. Ah, freshly baker bakers bread. And familiar brands that taste right rather than just slightly…wrong.

I am looking forward to seasons, to the smell of Autumn and the cold air of winter. To blackberries and apples off the trees. To watching our many excellent dramas or documentaries without having to download them first. Decent internet speeds. And lots more people to talk to about British politics.

There are of course many things I am not looking forward to (the rain, the lack of diversity, the expense of everything, the traffic….) but this isn’t what this post is all about so I will ignore all of those. In fact I will continue to put my head in the sand, my hands over my ears and say lalalalala for the next few months because otherwise I might just decide I’m not leaving.

And as nice as that would be for me, sadly for the reasons why we chose to go home in the first place it really isn’t an option.

Yup, the countdown is on – Blighty, here we come.

Photo credits: Green England – highlights6

Mini schnauzer – kawabata

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12 thoughts on “Things I look forward to….

  1. Clara, I’m leaving Jamaica in 11 days to return to the UK after almost 12 years away on postings. I still very much have my head in the sand but at the same time am looking forward to many of the things back home that you mention. For me, being able to walk out my front door and stroll into my local town will be bliss! Shopping is obviously so much easier with what will seem like endless choices on offer. But I think the thing I am going to find the most liberating is taking back control of my own life! By that I mean being able to move back into my home and do with it as I please – to be able to decorate it and choose furniture which doesn’t match all my neighbours! (I’m sure in a year’s time I will be just as frustrated having to organise my own plumber etc)- but for now, with my rose tinted glasses on – I’m looking forward to taking back more control of my life! Enjoy the rest of your time in beautiful SA!

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  2. I lived in Norway where there are strict rules about purchasing alcohol and few choices, especially for ice cream! I was grateful to be able to buy beer/wine and really good chocolate (as well as the rest of my groceries) at one store again. And at any time of the day. Things are easier (I don’t have to plan ahead so much) but now more than ever I seek out friendships with others who have lived outside of the country or are from somewhere else. It is also a chance for a new start!

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  3. Watch It, talk of taking back control sounds horribly familiar!! I think you’ll soon get over smelling the cold of winter and I have to say for choice of yogurt and bread you should come to France but otherwise those all sound like pretty good things to look forward to. I cant believe how quickly your posting has gone. 2 years is really too short.

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  4. Good luck on your way home. Sure it will take a while to settle. My cousins live out in Cape Town and have tried to return, but they are quite settled there. I’ve lived in Seville, Spain for 12 years and although I think about returning, I don’t think I could, pretty settled now. Why exactly are you returning?

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    • Thanks Barry. We’re returning so my children can have their secondary education in the U.K. We would have to return anyway in a year, possibly two, as my husband’s job here is only 2-4 years, and the timing in terms of their age makes this the best time.

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  5. You are exactly where I was a year ago. We left Johannesburg last August and I tried not to think about it for those last few months. We have returned home for one reason only and that’s the children’s education. It is definitely the right decision for them but on a day to day basis that’s quite hard to remember as I miss the weather, lifestyle, our wonderful helper Eva, the wine, food, eating out and the travel! And just the excitement of day to day life where you never knew what was going to happen be it a power cut, incredible thunder and lightening storm, and oh those smiley faces!

    However home is home, and it’s been lovely to be back close to family and friends who have known us for more than three years. English TV is fantastic, and Spring this year has been particularly beautiful. Just wish the weather was a little warmer for May! Although I did even find myself earlier today watching some video footage from Madikwe on my phone!

    Good luck with the move! x

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    • Thanks Ele, it’s a stressful time, but I definitely have mixed emotions about moving. I’ll miss South Africa tremendously but yes there’s plenty to look forward to as well. It’s definitely the weather and good food/wine I’ll miss the most. Oh, and the travel. And the unpredictability. And…..aaaargh!

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  6. Pingback: Share the Expat Love: Returning home, Spanish nationality, expat inspiration. – A Novel Spain

  7. The serious crime in South Africa is quietly spreading; often un-reported anywhere official.
    One hears of a close neighbour’s attack during a burglary (usually elderly people) or of brutal attacks on farms. Then are scary hi-jackings, assaults or robberies. Don’t believe me? Then visit http://www.eblockwatch.co.za Be safe and vigilant!

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