Tuesday 12 January 2016

Re-acclimatisation milestones for Expats

I think that this 'saying goodbye to our life in Russia' thing is getting a little bit out of hand.

When we left, I knew that we would miss friends, homes, and the weather.  Yes, the Russian weather.  What?  Never has a British winter seemed more gloomy, damp and grey than when compared to a bright, frosty, minus 15degreeC snow-bound Moscow January.  And don't get me started on missing the relentless social calendar of an expat living in Moscow.

I knew too that we would feel the difference on significant dates.  Boy #2, for example, recently had his first non-Russia based birthday celebration in 6 years.  He noticed that.  Quietly, and without any fuss, but he noticed all the same.  When the yearly photo album contains of images of parties with snow-man building competitions in the back garden and snow fort fights outside friends' houses, +8 in the UK and -8 in Moscow are not at all the same.

But what I didn't know was that I would notice the running down of our Russian supplies, or that this - insignificant as it is -  would give me pause.  It's not that we can't buy photo copy paper here, or baking parchment, or Ikea gift wrap, or any of those things that Husband still hasn't quite forgiven me for including in our shipment back to the UK.

I never meant to include them, by the way, but to simply toss them into the bin seemed too wasteful.  And then I never found time to pass them on - and frankly, fellow ex-expats, how tired did you get of giving a home to other people's unused kitchen supplies when they left the country and in their turn, couldn't bring themselves to throw it away?  I just couldn't bring myself to do the same thing.  Apart from the spices, obviously.  And the vanilla essence.  And the cocoa powder.  All that good stuff was 'gifted' to friends, I have to admit.  (But it was in-date, your honour.  Honest!)

So now I stand in the kitchen, in our new home BackHome, realising that we are about to run out of clingfilm, and that the next time I buy some it won't be the crappy budget version in the grimy and cavernous Auchan hypermarket out at Stroghino, or in the neat, tidy, beautifully presented but hideously overpriced Stockmann's at Metropolis, or even at the mid-range handily local Aliyya Parussa in Shuka, but at Sainsburys down the road.

And that still takes a bit of getting used to.