That moment when I shut the door behind them, encouraging M to say “bye-bye” as G once again bundles them into the car for an airport dash, that moment’s always bittersweet. Bitter because I’ll miss them, now; sweet because we have our real life back. Pass the coffee.
As an expat, I’m so thankful to have family willing and indeed eager to visit us regularly. Despite the close distance between the UK and Turkey, fights to and fro can add up quite a bit and with the lira’s exchange against the pound, a once a year trip is the limit of our funds. Since M’s been born, my Mum, stepdad, sister, father and grandma have all jumped on planes out to see us, more than once, and have more trips planned in the works. Fantastically, M gets to spend time with some member if his Uk family on average every two months. And I love it, for him, and for us.
My sister’s just left after a ten-day visit. Laundry and ironing piles tower and the fridge needs a thorough sorting, if I don’t dust the top shelves soon spiders will be moving in en mass and as we haven’t eaten ‘normal’ meals once I, who always knows what is cooking, haven’t the foggiest of dinner plan. Being a stay-at-home Mum means it’s easy to have guests, to take a week off and enjoy the time; just when they leave, the job’s back ten-fold! Is it worth it?
Aside from the beauty of watching my son interact with my family and the chance to reconnect with those I love, it’s also bountiful to take the time to reassess life here, in Turkey, in the country that I chose as home.
It used to be when guests left a wave of homesickness would surge in, leaving me pining for the life they returned to and with doubts as to my true purpose here. I still find guests in town hard – it’s difficult to balance the life I want to lead with the one I left behind, but with each visit there’s a change. With guests in town I’m defensive of our life, but I grumble about it too and I hate that about myself each time. While my family is in town, talk always goes to what’s next to what’s coming, how we’re hoping to improve our lives before next time or to change something in it right now. That’s not me, really; not how I live, day-to-day. Sure, I’d love to have this or that, more or less of something other or else, but these desires – or dreams – they don’t shape and center my world. ‘Til guests come, then they do. When guests are here the life we lead is so much simpler than theirs, less busy or conformed that you notice these things and it’s hard not to focus on them – we are Brits, after all! But when they go home and my home;s peaceful once more, I sit down with a coffee and my baby at my feet – literally. with books. all the time. – and I feel grounded once more. My life, for all it is technically lacking is filled with so much. The reassessment comes after, when the doors closed and they’ve gone because now the pining is done whilst they’re here – a reversal in thought; a new concept of world. The lifestyle, the stuff, I don’t miss any of that. The beauty of life here is in the simplicity of the complication of the frustration of the chaos abound in it all; you can’t explain that to a stranger who’s never walked on this path. Being here, coming from there, is the bounty in itself.