Sometimes I get these pinch me moments where I forget where I am. I wake up in the morning wondering whether I am still in Cyprus. I never wake up in the morning wondering whether I am in England....why? Because the sound of air conditioning tells me before I even open my eyes that this ain't England.
I start my day in a back of a taxi, speeding down a 12 lane highway, with high-rise glass buildings to my right and left, bright blue sky and beating sun above me and a job I have already fallen in love with, ahead of me. It is easy to forget that this is "normal" life for the foreseeable future.
Life has developed in ways I never imagined it would and the shy little girl from London is now a distant memory. The pinch me moments come when I realise how far I have come and when I take a step back, I almost don't recognise myself. All this has come from being an expat; voluntarily thrusting myself into different worlds has allowed me to grow as a person, learn a lot of stuff I never thought I would and gain a new found confidence.
And when I look at my life pre expat, I really kinda wonder how it came to this. I never had a plan to live in a different country, never had a plan to be an expat and I never thought I would end up working in the Middle East. For someone who loves to be organised, I had never really thought about what I wanted from life 5 years down the line because I wasn't confident enough to think that I could get there. Strange things happen when you least expect then and my growing confidence has made the choices attached to where we go and what we do, a little bit easier to make.
But since I never had a plan for life maybe my life had a plan for me. Which leads me onto a whole other, rather philosophical section of this post.
I am not religious; I attended church alongside my parents and brother until I was about 10 and then when my teenage years hit I made the decision that I didn't believe and church was not for me. While I don't believe in god, sometimes I think there must be something out there.
I once had a conversation with a very wise lady (I'm sure she won't mind me mentioning it) about beliefs. I don't believe in much except karma but her sincere words made me at least contemplate the idea of deeper beliefs or beings out in this world to protect and look after us. Somehow I always land on my feet and whether that is luck or karma or maybe my mother watching over me, I feel incredibly lucky that life is panning out well. And it makes it hard to completely disengage with the idea that something more powerful is looking after me.
I feel like I have found my place through our expat adventures and my personality has benefited from these experiences greatly. I have never been super confident in myself or my skills. I know I have a decent amount of work experience, I am a good person, I am good at writing and I have developed a great work ethic but I have never been confident and I always felt like the quiet one in new social situations. But with the move to Dubai I have begun to throw myself out into the world a bit more, talk confidently to anyone and everyone and enjoy life without worrying. It is a refreshing turn of events and I find myself in social situations, outgoing and talking with strangers so effortlessly that inside my brain, I am like "hey is that really you, noooo it can't be".
I am pretty sure wherever we live in the world the pinch me moments will continue because I will be forever grateful for the opportunities we are given. There have been ups and downs but if life has it's own plan I am happy to take what it throws our way.