A number of friends have done that thing that expats very occasionally do ... they've gone home.
Hearing news of one move, followed by another, then another, tends to rock one's foundations a bit. You ask yourself; 'Should we go?' 'If so, when?' 'What is our plan?' - But my husband and I never have a plan - we are generally just grateful to be working. But it's harder to justify the expat existence when your children are studying overseas, parents are getting older back home, nieces and nephews are growing up at a startling rate. Suddenly the family is split down the middle and it's not the expat idyll of young children and tea parties that it once was.
Our friends left Nairobi for various reasons but underscoring their decision must have been the fact that the past 12 months in Kenya was undoubtedly an 'annus horribilis'. The Westgate crisis, then grenade attacks and security threats followed by foreign office travel bans. If anyone was toying with the idea of leaving, then they certainly cannot have needed much of a push. Kids coming home having done terrorism 'duck and cover' security drills at school was almost the final straw.
But now it seems that the annus horribilis has 'gone global' - with Ebola and ISIS spreading its menace - meanwhile, things in Kenya (fingers crossed) have settled down a bit and long may it continue.
I mourn my missing friends and often think about how they are adjusting to their 'new' life back in England but we still enjoy a good lifestyle here - in spite of heavy traffic and heart-in-mouth moments, just as long as the relative peace and calm in Kenya continues - fingers crossed.
Meanwhile, the expat stereotypes series continues - hope it raises a smile: