Before I came back, I felt quite apprehensive, I don't quite know why. Whilst there was part of me that wanted to see everyone again, there was another selfish part that imagined Christmas in New York or Paris. I think sub-consciously though I knew that a trip back 'home' would awaken all those expat questions - 'when are you coming back?''; 'how much longer will you be away?' and every other variation in between. When you answer (or don't answer, as they case may be) you feel like you're letting people down.
Being 'home' brings all the emotions bubbling to the surface. Questions of what it would be like to live here again. What are we doing? Where should we live? The fun and exhaustion of fitting a year's worth of 'visiting time' into two weeks. Of dealing with Sydney roads and traffic. Of one cheek kisses. Of incredible food that tastes amazing. Of laughter with friends. Of juggling time and visits and 'can we fit this in just one more time?'. Of grandparents doting on frazzled grandchildren. Of not sleeping in the same bed six nights in a row. And of it all being over before you know it.
So much is crammed in and you're caught in a swirl of 'catching up' on 18 months of Australian life. By New Year's Eve, I (and the rest of the family) completely hit the wall with not much left to give, with a list of things not yet ticked off, people not seen. Despite this the only thing left that I want to do is spend a little bit of quiet time with the kids doing the things we talk about doing when we're in Dubai - going for a sushi lunch, playing on our old park. Let's see if I can pull it off.
So, after a couple of weeks at 'home' we'll be heading 'home' in a couple of days. I'm already preparing myself for that inevitable thud back to reality.