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Mass Exodus


Phew – the end of the school year has finally arrived and there will be no more concerts, plays, speech days and birthday parties (with the now pre requisite security van parked outside – no balloons on the gate). There is always a rash of children’s birthday parties at the end of term because all those born in July or August will have early celebrations so as not to run the risk of not having any friends available on the actual day.

Lots of expats left last night on the first possible flight out of here, where they will lead a sort of parallel existence in the UK for a couple of months. It’s a mass exodus. Some privileged few have furnished houses (complete even with children’s toys) which sit empty waiting for owners to return for the long holidays. Others (like us) will be going to stretch the patience of family and descend on them for an extended visit, cramming an extra five people under one roof and all the while trying to dart around catching up with friends and other relatives too.

It might be a sign of age, but some are using the long holidays to discreetly go off and get their boobs done - quite tempting after three children, if it wasn’t for the surgery involved! It was a disaster when one friend went off to have the same procedure during term time last term, relying on husband and friends to do school runs etc. By the time she came back the town was buzzing with the news and no one could draw their eyes up from her chest.

The weather is kind of cold and grey as it is winter here. People who are staying put for the summer (especially for working parents) will be experiencing feelings of rising panic as they are now faced with how to entertain the children for two solid months. Fortunately there’s the odd art workshop and holiday camp on offer. Speaking to a fellow school Mum yesterday, she asked if I was going to England. When I said yes, she said; ‘you’re mad, you will work like a dog!’ I think she underestimates my capacity of soaking up the kind hospitality of others and putting the whole family in wrinkly clothes to avoid ironing. Everyone is excited to be travelling but we all admit to having concerns about leaving our ayahs (nannies)…. We’re just being honest.

It’s a bit of a rush trying to think of suitable/original presents to take back to England. Like Christmas, I’m sure that friends and relatives are heartily sick of receiving yet more rubbish from Africa.

Hey ho – before we come back ‘home’, there’s a few days left for lie-ins, cinema trips and wearing sheepskin boots. It’ll now finally be possible to park at the local shops, go the most popular local restaurant without having to book ahead and chat to people you don’t often see (because they’re the only ones left to talk to).

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