I think one of the hardest things about moving overseas, has to be without a doubt, saying farewell to our friends and family. Leaving just after Christmas has left us with memories of a wonderful time, but also a very difficult time in that we knew it would be the last time we would see them for a while. I think nearly all of our family came to visit at some point in December and it was just wonderful. It was, in fact, the first time that Tim and his sister Rachel have had Christmas together in the last 12 years - had we not been going overseas, I'm sure it wouldn't have happened!
Once the festivities were over, it was time to get down to the hard graft of saying goodbye - explaining to the children has been quite a challenge. I think 5 year old Oliver kind of understands that he's not going to see people for a while. Saying goodbye to his best friend Adam saw Clair (his mum) and me dissolve into floods of tears and then hearing Oliver sobbing the whole way home really made me question whether we were doing the right thing. Ella, on the other hand at three, is far less aware of what is going on and with the exception of her best friend Tom, I think will adjust fairly quickly, as long as Mickey Mouse (her favourite toy) accompanies her!
As to the parents - well, we have the added advantage of being able to write and will rely heavily on e-mail and the Internet. I remember 20 years ago (gulp) when I went travelling around the world and my folks had to rely on a weekly postcard from wherever I was in the world. Firstly, how dreadful for them if the post got delayed and secondly, quite why they let me do it, I'm still not sure! In any case, the world has moved on and there is now no excuse.
We've had some great times recently with our friends and family and will keep the memories with us until we see you next (should be in August we think when it will be far too hot to venture too far in Dubai).