Trust the wait. Embrace the uncertainty. Enjoy the beauty of becoming. When nothing is certain, anything is possible.
I got pretty mixed reactions from people when I told them quite suddenly that we were moving to Dubai. Looking back I definitely got way more shocked and perplexed expressions than anything else. A few people said I was really brave, others said I was inspiring. I just thought it would be a new adventure for us as a trio. I don’t think I really ever let myself think too hard about the move. In the end it all happened really quickly and we found ourselves landing into Dubai Airport with our little girl homeless. I will never forget the stress of the last two weeks before we left Ireland. It was absolute chaos. Emie-Rose had just started walking. She was constantly hurting herself – falling, walking into walls, hitting her head off tables, falling down stairs – and she needed a crazy amount of attention. We left our packing too late. We had to organise so many things. In the midst of packing our house up and running after a hyperactive baby who had just found her feet, I dropped a glass container on my foot in the most awkward place possible and I was told I would have to keep my foot elevated for two weeks. Four days before we were due to fly to Dubai. Everything was just so chaotic and it hasn’t stopped being chaotic since we got here. Nobody said it was going to be easy but I never expected it to be this hard.
I started working two weeks after we arrived. I have never felt so nervous starting a job. I was terrified. I was worried about working in a new market that I wasn’t familiar with. I was traumatised at the thought of leaving Emie-Rose all day. I was lucky enough to work my own hours in Ireland since she was born. I was totally in control of how I managed my day and how much time we spent together. You definitely don’t appreciate what you have until you face a new challenge. So many women all over the world have been through it but you always feel like you are the only person going through your own issues. Whilst I didn’t feel homesick, I felt lonely. I felt like no-one could possibly understand how I was feeling. I had a fair few of those awkward teary-eyed moments in public when you know people can see that you are randomly about to burst out crying and you pretend you have something in your eye. People have been so kind. When you’re feeling vulnerable, people being kind can make you even more emotional. We are so lucky to be staying with family whilst we find our feet and organize everything out here in the desert. We have been living out of suitcases for the last five weeks and we will be doing so for many more weeks to come. Are we settled? No. Do I dream of sitting in my favourite local cafe back in Cork chatting to my girls? Yes. Do I miss the cold weather? No. I definitely miss knitwear though.
Don’t get me wrong. Our move hasn’t been a totally negative experience. First world problems and all that. We chose to make the move. We were lucky enough to be able to up and leave with no ties. We craved a new kind of adventure. There are lots of amazing places to visit here and so many new things to discover. I love the huge diversity of cultures here. I find it so interesting learning about different ways of life. My eyes have already been opened to a whole new world of possibilities. I have had so many interesting conversations with new people since I got here. People really look out for you here. Dubai is the most child-friendly place I have ever been. Saying that perhaps it’s a little too child-friendly here at times with strangers asking me if they can take a picture with my baby girl or randomly picking her up without asking me first. We wake up to sunshine. We have spent more time at the beach in the last five weeks as we have all year at home. We are together.
We haven’t put a date on when we might return home. It might be tomorrow, it might be in six months, it might be in two years or even ten years. The two most important things in life for me are family and happiness.
If we aren’t happy, we fix it. If we need to be with our family, we go to where our family is.
Some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won’t have a title until much later,
Images by Claire Stafford