Home Is Where Your Sunshine Is

Friday, 1 July 2016

Back in October 2013 when I was a sprightly twenty eight year old residing in London, I was getting ready to move home. Not down the road, or across town, or even to a new county. Nope, I was 'following my sunshine' half way around the world to the Middle East to be closer to the man I loved.


At this point in time, as I was saying goodbye to all that was comfortable and familiar to me, the concept of home and what it meant was really important - so much so that it inspired me to start this blog. The second post I ever wrote talked about the places and feelings that I associated with home and it was pretty clear to anyone reading that the only place I was willing to call home at that point in time was where Mr Sunshine was. I was so in love that I would probably have moved to anywhere in the world if it meant waking up with him by my side every day.

But over two and a half years as an expat, one marriage and a baby later, the way I think about home has become far more complex - and it's got me a little confused.

Home is where my friends are. London and Essex is where the oldest and closest of them live. They're the steadfast ones that I stayed up until the early hours with, snuggled in sleeping bags and chatting about boys; the ones that I snuck into clubs with underage using fake IDs and passports pinched from older siblings; the ones that I picked up the phone to first after Mr S got down on one knee. They have seen me at my very best, and have seen me at my godawful worst. Some were bridesmaids at my wedding and will be 'aunties' and godmothers to my children, and I miss them every day.


But not long after I moved I began to make new friendships in Qatar and these friends became my lifelines out here. They've celebrated some of life's biggest milestones with me. They have provided me with the support I've needed when I've felt far from home. They've baked, shopped and changed nappies for me. And they are at the centre of some of my most amusing and precious memories.



Home is where my family are. When I was new to Qatar, I missed my family terribly. I pined for all of the things that I associate with family time at home. Sunday roasts, chats over breakfast, watching films by a roaring fire, cuddles and Christmas and days out and debates. These days I still miss those things, but I miss my family for additional, and bigger reasons - for the little things they are missing out on as Sophia grows up, for the relationships that she is missing out on on a daily basis and for the support I am missing out on when I need it the most!


Now we have our own family, and Qatar is the only place we've called home. I know that when the time comes for us to leave, we will miss things associated with here too. The weather and food, days at the beach, walks around the marina. Nostalgia is the quickest way to forge a feeling of home.



Home is where I feel safe. England used to be that place for me, where everyone I met was polite, friendly and welcoming. Where neighbours were concerned with each others' welfare and whoever you were you were able to walk the streets safe from judgement or harm.


Then Sophia was born and it wasn't just about me any more. I had a mini human to keep safe. Politicians became embroiled in campaigns of hatred, Brexit happened and then we started to receive reports of racially-targetted attacks. All of a sudden, the muti-ethnic, accepting and largely crime-free society of Qatar felt a far more safe and homely place for us to raise a child.



Home is where I feel fulfilled. This has always been England for me. It has all of the things that make me feel alive. History, culture, greenery and countryside, excitement and entertainment, variety and life.


But there are of course, new things that make me feel fulfilled these days and Qatar provides them all. Having a job that challenges and excites me, and helps me to feel like I'm giving something back; being in a place which allows me to save money and to provide for our family; blogging, traveling and opening myself and my family up to opportunities that we could only have dreamed of before.



Basically I think I've come to the conclusion that home doesn't have to be just in one place, and nowhere on earth will tick all of your perfect home ideals, but instead there are opportunities to build a home wherever you are, and whatever your circumstances. Home is where your sunshine is. And even on the gloomiest of days it is possible to create your own sunshine!




29 comments:

  1. I couldn't help but feel a certain level of irony that we chose this topic for this month with Brexit. All I could think was home is all about the people that your with even if your country offer challenges at times.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're so right, the people you're with become even more important at times like this. We watched the Bexit vote come in in horror over here, and I'm still kicking myself for not registering for a postal vote in time!

      Polly xx

      Delete
  2. I've been following your blog for a while now and this is probably my favorite post of yours. You have to create your own sunshine no matter where you are in life, and I agree that home can be many different places for many different reasons. Sometimes this makes me feel sad that I can't have it all in one place, but then I remember how lucky I am to have so many places to come home to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Carolann! That's a lovely thing to say. You of all people really understand what it is to have many homes in many different places - and you're right, it's completely bittersweet!

      Polly xx

      Delete
  3. LOVE the black and white photo of you and your daughter.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Like you, I've felt at home in two places although for me it was the UK and France where I used to live. Glad to hear that you've got Sophia's residency, you must be delighted

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh I had no idea you used to live in France! One day we will have to catch up about life as an expat. Yes, it's great that we can finally relax about her being in the country legally!!

      Polly xx

      Delete
  5. This made me well up a bit. I've been thinking a lot about home since Brexit. This country that I was born and bred in, a country I've only ever live in has become a bit alien to me over the past week. It's a strange concept. But no matter how I feel about the country at this moment in time, my family are here and to me they are home.
    Sophie
    x
    A Story of a Girl

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww thanks for your lovely comment Sophie (and sorry for raking up the bad feelings...I totally know what you mean). I couldn't agree more, home will always be where your family is.

      Polly xx

      Delete
  6. Yap, I really resonate with your words. I have many places I call home and now being pregnant the priority will be the safety of my baby, where she should be growing up happy and safe, so home might end up being different from the place I currently call home and that I thought she was going to grow into as well. Home is where we feel safe and at peace surrounded by people we love :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Doesn't becoming pregnant change everything about how you see the world?! Congratulations, you have so much to look forward to :-)

      Polly xx

      Delete
  7. Love this so much, Polly. I think most of us expats can really relate to finding lifelines and a piece of sunshine wherever we go. And it's not because we are happier because of the new things going on, but I found that I've become closer to my old friends and family in distance and it makes things more special when we spend time together.

    Sophia's so lucky to have a lot of sunshine in her home.

    Honey The Girl Next Shore

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Honey! It's sos strange how you can move away and yet become closer to people - it definitely makes you value the time you have together as you say. She is very lucky to grow up in sunshine. I wish I had!!

      Polly xx

      Delete
  8. I already got all the feels just by reading into the first paragraph. It seems like you and Rich have a really unique connection. I think you're doing such a great job, having travelled half way across the world leaving everything you loved behind. Your family will always play a special part in Sophia's life, regardless of where in the world they are. The main thing is that you're happy, feeling fulfilled and content. You've started your little family in the most perfect place, you truly got your sunshine.

    P.s. There may have been a little escaping tear whilst reading...

    Aftab
    Fresh And Fearless

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww thanks for such an incredibly lovely message Aftab! You hit the nail completely on the head. Big love,

      Polly xx

      Delete
  9. Beautiful post Polly. It is definitely an unsettling time to be an expat to or from the UK! I love your idea of home being wherever your sunshine is - it's all-encompassing and totally lovely :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jessi, it definitely helps on some of the harder days out here!

      Polly xx

      Delete
  10. lovely post!yes, I think we don't need to have just one home:)

    ReplyDelete
  11. home is where the heart is for sure!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Beautiful post! I agree that the feeling of 'home' is a very complex one. I feel the same about Brexit at the moment, it's a really sad and tough time :(

    ReplyDelete
  13. Create your own sunshine. I like that sentiment.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Following your heart to sunshine can be the hardest, most wonderful thing can't it? Thank you for such a wonderful topic x

    ReplyDelete
  15. This is such a beautifully written post and I wholeheartedly agree. Home for me (right now) is BOTH Aberdeen and London but who knows where it will be in future! x

    ReplyDelete
  16. Such a lovely post Polly! And I agree, home is necessarily where you were born or grew up or even when you live now. It's wherever you want it to be with the people you love most in the world :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Beautiful post. And you're so right, our concept of home changes so much the older we get and as our circumstances change. Despite the political situation, Britain will always be my home and be a part of me, but I'd like to think that other places I've travelled to and loved around the world have claimed a little part of me too. And to me it looks like as long as you have Sophia and Rich with you, you have your home right beside you, wherever you are.

    Sophie X

    ReplyDelete
  18. I love your ending about creating your own sunshine wherever you are. Lovely! I think I forget to do that, what with really wanting to be somewhere else at the moment. It's like that saying "bloom where you are planted" which I think is a bit of a cliche now, but still carries an important message. I'm a nester so I always try and create a home wherever I am, but I need to remember that should apply to my attitude as well as my physical surroundings. Thanks for sharing your story :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. This post is very beautiful and thank you very much for sharing such sweet things with us. You have made me remember my old days when my baby was born. This time is beautiful live it fully.These are life long memories :)

    ReplyDelete

DESIGNED BY ECLAIR DESIGNS