Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring…the seasons of repatriation

I can’t believe we have been home for nearly half a year. It feels surreal how quickly that time has gone. But weirder than that, I realise we have now almost been through every season since we returned to the UK. Ok I realise we are pushing it a bit to say we have been here during spring but on my morning’s dog walk today I noticed crocuses pushing through the grass and lately the birds have certainly been singing with extra gusto. It won’t be long and there will be lambs in the fields and buds on the trees…

I have been noticing the turning of the seasons on my daily walks with Cooper. I think it is one of the things you miss the most when you are away from the UK, where the seasons are so clearly defined. In Pretoria it went from cool and sunny to hot and sunny with some rain. That was about it. In Cape Town of course, as I am sure many of you have seen, they are desperate for rain. If they don’t get a good amount of it this year I don’t know what is going to happen. It is a good warning for us all.

But here in the UK it is rain that keeps this country so beautiful. Although this season we were lucky enough to get snow as well. So just to prove my point here are some pictures from my walks over the past few months:




And finally, taken this morning, the first signs of SPRING:


So there we go. Although we are a way off having been back for a year, it does feel like we are properly back and settled now. Of course we are not really – my husband is still in Pretoria (until the day-after-tomorrow when he will finally join us here) and the house isn’t fully unpacked yet. I also still miss South Africa a lot, I think I have recently been going through a bit of a six month repatriation slump. But by and large this now feels like home.

What now? You may have noticed this blog has been very quiet. As I have been solo-parenting since last August I haven’t had much time on my hands. I have also given up the remote-working job I took with me to Pretoria and am now trying my hand at full-time freelance writing. I plan to set up a separate website for that but will link to it here. In the meantime I will try and add to this site as often as possible, plus I am playing with an idea of writing the Repats Survival Guide and would love to hear your thoughts on that. Do you think it is a good idea? Would you read it? Or is there anything else you would like to know or read more about? Please comment below – I value each and every one of your thoughts!

Happy January!


6 thoughts on “Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring…the seasons of repatriation

  1. I think a repat guide is a very good idea. All the attention is given to the going and not much to the coming home aspect. One thing I’d really like to read more about is identity transition—it’s hard to find your feet and possibly a new career when moving abroad. I would imagine this part wouldn’t be so hard when returning to your home country but what about other things like how we begin to identify ourselves as expats? It’s a huge part of your life! When you go back to your home country, I imagine that most people don’t care. I’m also curious if you miss the feeling of living in a place that’s somewhat different/unfamiliar. When I go back to the U.S. I sometimes get a shock of how easy things are and wonder if it would get boring after a few years of always having to figure things out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great points! And yes, it’s so true that we have to pack away the Expat part of our identities and I think this can cause issues, especially later in life for TCK’s. That’s one of the reasons I love social media as I get to keep involved with Expat communities. I’d also agree that non expat life can seem quite pedestrian compared to living in a new culture. I’ve always said Expat life has more ups and downs while my life back home is more steady. Inevitably, I always miss being an expat and keep returning to it…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Another good piece, Clara. Glad to hear you’re starting to feel settled and that the family is now whole again. Well done you for the last few months! I think a repeat guide would be excellent as it is, by and large, a part of our journey that is ignored – probably because it’s less glamourous and exciting than the adventure of pastures unknown. I will say that Robin Pascoe’s ‘Homeward Bound’ became my much-clutched, tear-stained comfort blanket when we first returned home in 2011. It helped me keep a sense of perspective which is what is needed. A whole part of my persona (the travelling, organised, expat bit) was suddenly invisible and I really struggled with the bit that was left. There’s a big psychological impact – change in status etc – that can undermine confidence, just when you need it in spades to restablish yourself in a familiar-but-really-not situation. I look forward to reading it! (If you can manage it by our next reentry in 2020, that would be great 😄).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Alison! I totally agree with all that you say about loss of identity. I wonder whether one way round it is by building an online identity that you can bring with you, whether that’s purely social, through a job, or online studying, or even something like campaigning? That way you can carry on being that part of you wherever you are in the world. Not for everyone I know but worth a ponder. Anyway, yes, I’ll get on to it and try and have the new book ready for 2020 😆


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