After wishing away the whole year, summer is finally here and I’m feeling like I could probably continue working for another half term. Unlike the UK, Qatari schools usually break up in June and resume mid-August and we get some extra time off when the two Eids fall during term time.
Anyhoo, I’ve never felt so productive and would happily work into July! All the fiddly faff that takes forever to do – printing, cutting, laminating, display boards, deleting unused documents – has all been done! I’ll leave the more pressing work, like making actual resources, for the summer. My kiddos are sooOOoo going to appreciate all the amazing lessons I’ve not planned for them yet but will soon because man, I have plentaaaay of time. Woohoooo!! 7 weeks off, here I come!!
So scrap what I wrote earlier. Touched down in the UK and I do not want to think about work or planning or schemes or resources. I am brain dead; it takes me longer to recall the general direction of the town centre than it does to actually get there so sod that, I ain’t going anywhere or doing anything love!
This year I feel so homesick for Doha that I’ve stopped eating unless ice cream from the ice cream van counts (trying saying that a few times, tongue twister indeed.) Even tea and coffee tastes horrible right now. Oh hello BBC iPlayer, I definitely missed you. I’m binge-watching all the BBC series I can’t access abroad while happily eating my way to an early heart attack, one ice cream at a time. It can’t just me who absolutely LOVES Villanelle from Killing Eve, right? She’s a whole mood!
The weather is rubbish for the most part but it doesn’t matter because I’m quite happy staying indoors. My father-in-law has me hooked onto watching the cricket world cup with him (England WON! Pakistan, so disappointed on you!), I’m loving cooking for everyone even if I can’t stomach eating it. What I’m not loving so much though is being punched in the boobs by niece #2 because ‘I was doing the shimmy dance move!’
OMG I’m readaaaaaayyy guys! I’m no longer on Qatari time and some brain cells are fired up. I have managed to create a somewhat coherent shopping list of all the things I need. I’m quite the social butterfly these days would you believe. The weather is bangin’ (what? This is the only time I get to use some Northernisms, no-one understands them in Qatar) and I’ve managed to meet up with friends and get out the house a bit.
My productivity lasts all about half a day which is how long it takes for British weather to plummet from 34C to 4C. While we’re on the topic of weather, I was reading this article titled ‘Do Brits need to toughen up in a heatwave?’ to which my response is yes! Yes, you wimps, you really do need to man up because the weather we’ve had is nothing compared to other places in the world and I really do believe – don’t ask me to prove it but I believe – your constant complaining makes it rain again and I just can’t deal with the cold!
I might be feeling all kinds of active but if my husband asks me to go Alton Towers one more time, even after a ride broke and left people hanging mid-air, then I’m seriously going to go back into hermit mode! I want to get things done yes, none of those things, however, include attending my funeral.
Okay so NOW I’m really ready! With less than 3 weeks left to my departure, it’s full-on shopping and flexin’ mode. I told myself to go easy this year with the ‘I got it from England’-itis that all us expats suffer from. I’ve grown to love the malls and whole shopping experience in Doha – even if it does cost 3 times as much!
But, alas, I can’t enjoy this short period of joy because now is about the time I start losing sleep. My dreams are full of silly panic nightmares – things that have been in done in real life but my dreams have yet to catch up with: did I lock the front door before flying back to the UK? What did I do with those laminated resources? And why on earth am I teaching at my old school, I thought I had moved on from there?
Damn it, I knew being excessively productive was gonna bite me in the ass. Can I go back to phase 2, back to a blissful 10 hours of sleep per night?
Life tends to shove a random and exhausting occasion at this point of my vacation, like a wedding or Eid, preferably about a week before I need to fly back. Lucky me, this year it’s both.
I generally despise weddings so if you ever catch me at one it either means I’ve been emotionally blackmailed into going or it’s very close in the family and not going isn’t an option. The thing is, when I left for Qatar in 2016, no-one was happier than me at the prospect of ridding myself of all my Asian clothes. And since then, I refuse to reach a point where I have more suits than I can fit in my closet let alone wear out. You can only imagine my dilemma: all these fancy occasions and no Christmas-tree looking suits in sight.
Leading up to the flight is always a period of me running around like a headless chicken, packing, and re-packing because hubby’s packing strategy is ‘toss it all in and then sit on the suitcase’. This is the time I start wondering if I’ve purchased too much crap and if it’ll exceed the suitcase weight limit (
it never does it bloody well did this time). Every outing involves me being restrained when walking past a stationery shop because I’m suffering from a case of: ‘Awww look at how cute this notepad/pencil case/rubber/random useless thing is. Can I buy it?’
By this stage, I’ve spent enough hours with the kids to feel like I’m literally back at work (if you follow my insta you’ll know all about it). It means we’ve had some pretty interesting heart to heart conversations, and by pretty interesting what I mean is I’m tired of face-palming myself someone pass me a chappal so I can slap sense into these kids. Observe:
Niece #2: *interrupts me mid-sentence* Wowwwww aunty, your eyes look sooo brown today, like super brown
Me: Why are you staring into my eyes, are you my husband?
Her: OMG aunty…GANDEEE!
Nephew #2: Yo aunty look innit you got a sister in Dubai hain?
Me: What you on about? I don’t have a sister.
Niece #2: Exactly, not in real life innit?
Niece #1: Aunty comes out with the best disses.
Niece #2: I know man, I wish she was my teacher so she could diss me in class.
Nephew #1: *taps my stomach like it’s a door* Aunty…
Someone get me back in the secondary classroom where my body is off-limits, I’m done with these harassed aunt moments.
The good news though is that the IGCSE results have been released. For the 3rd year running, my leavers have achieved amazing results and I know how much of a slog it was for some of them *sobs uncontrollably*. Another lovely part about this time of the year is the messages I get from ex-students from previous schools, telling me about their IG/A Level results and plans for the future. I feel like such a proud teacher.
It’s the time of bittersweet goodbyes and mixed emotions about leaving the UK and returning to Qatar. I might as well be pregnant because I can’t decide what I’m feeling right now.
Because this year’s Eid was a mere 5 days before the first day back to school, I couldn’t fly out any earlier. We’ve spent the last 3 Eids in Qatar so it was about time we spent one in the UK.
The flight back is always full of familiar faces and plenty of teachers talking about getting back to their respective schools.
So, I’m back at work. The prior lack of sleep has really helped me get back on Doha time but I’m utterly exhausted! I’ll be rocking up to work incapable of forming a single sentence and I don’t even want to think about the state of my handwriting.
I hope my students are ready for the amazing lessons I never got round to pre-planning; I’m about as ready as her…