Two places

Today, my last day working here. Tomorrow, our last day here at all. I will find it difficult to say goodbye to these comforts. My beloved: she is ready to return, for she has had a trying six weeks, waiting on her mother. But our kids: they protest, reminding us how much they hate England; they wish they could stay here permanently. Their return will be something of a trial for them.

Our lad will have to exchange his large room here for his tiny box room back home; more than that, he moans that once more he will hear our drunken neighbour across the street effing and blinding day and night. And then there is the weather, which he misremembers as forever cold, grey and wet. His sister joins in, compelled to utter mildly racist denunciations of the land to which we must return.

We will spend a couple of days in Istanbul en route, hoping to take care of the final piece of bureaucratic administration of a jigsaw that has taken years to complete. After that, there will be more relatives to visit, more tea to be drunk, more sunflower seeds to be munched. Then, lastly, the unbranded components of next year’s school uniforms, new shoes and bags, for the authoritarian new head teacher has not noticed the impending recession, and feels intent on prioritising uniformity over adequate staffing.

So it is that we must return to the real world, mothballing our home here until the next long break from school, whether in spring or summer next year, hopeful that the weeks spent settling will enable us to enjoy it at leisure from here on. Curtains will be drawn, furniture covered up, carpets rolled away, cameras set to beam the video feed to my phone.

All good things must come to an end. But perhaps we return to good things too. You just have to identify the great blessings we have been bestowed with. There is good there too. Soon we will have pushed all of this out of our mind. School, work, maintenance and countryside walks will have taken its place. Here our life in two places.

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