Soak it in while you can for soon it will all be mundane

So nine months into our time here in South Africa and something occurred to me today. As I was taking our now pretty lively puppy Cooper for a walk, a flock of startled mousebirds flew out of a tree. I love mousebirds, they have cute tails and make a funny noise and I was reminiscing about our observations of these birds when we first arrived in Pretoria. It was nostalgic. Ahh, the early days, I thought. I miss them.

And then I realised that so much time has now passed since our arrival that things aren’t new or exciting any more. Life has basically returned to being mundane.

It isn’t really of course – see my recent post about a holiday in Mauritius. Plus how could life POSSIBLY be mundane with a four month old Miniature Schnauzer in the house whose main mission in life is to steal our laundry.

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But what has happened is that I have been through the expat cycle to the point where life here has become normal. It is hectic, a constant round of swimming and horseriding and sleepovers and play-dates. When I am not working or writing blogs I am booking flights, hotels and car hire (there is a LOT of that here), running to the shops, trying to top up my phone AGAIN, chasing some workman or another, attempting to register to vote in the UK elections, taking the dog to the vet, filling out a school form….you get the idea, it’s a normal, busy family life. That happens to be in South Africa now and not a town in the west of England.

So how does this make me feel? In a way a little sad as I loved the early days when every bird was interesting, seeing the zebras on the way to horseriding was something to put on Facebook. Eating out was always a treat, discovering new coffee shops and trying new wines was something that made me happy. It still does, but these things happen less often and aren’t quite so unique. As I am sure happens with everyone, eventually your new expat life returns to some form of normality and in my case seems even busier than it used to be (possibly thanks to the addition of lively puppy).

My message thus to new expats is to enjoy it, soak it up, because before long it won’t seem special or new or exciting any more. But with a word of caution – just like those annoying people who tell you to enjoy every second of your new baby because before you know it they will be all grown up, this advice probably isn’t terribly welcome if you are struggling in your new home. So to these people I would say just wait, get through this bit, perhaps try and find something interesting or new or even just different as often as you can and make a note of it. It may not mean much now, it might not bring any light into your life. But when you are ready it or they will be there waiting.

Just like my mousebirds in the tree.

My Expat Family

Completely gratuitous new puppy post

So this post has nothing to do with being an expat partner or really to do with being an expat – apart from it is the final chapter in the story that started way back when we promised our daughter’s we would get them a dog when they were uspset we were moving to South Africa. And that getting a dog seems to be a very common thing to do here in Pretoria – maybe something to do with the ease of having constant access to the outside, good weather and a bit of peace of mind that it may bark when someone tries to break into your home (but don’t get too excited about this, when you see my pictures you will realise that my little one is hardly going to be much of a threat to anything bigger than a beetle).

Oh and also that my next post on expat depression going out later this week does mention getting a dog as one self-help method  to make yourself feel better.

Anyway apart from that this is really just a post to introduce you to Cooper, our nine-week old miniature schnauzer puppy who joined the Expat Partner’s Survival Guide household last week.

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An absolute charmer, Cooper has already wheedled his way into our hearts with his cuteness, bounciness and teddybear fur. He also has impecable manners and apart from one accident has done all his business outside and sleeps all night without a murmer. I know this breed is recommended for its family-friendliness and we certainly have not been disappointed – he is brilliant with the children and apart from the usual puppy propensity to chew and nip, plus a bit of a gas problem as he gets used to new food, I can’t fault him.

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Of course with new puppy comes new responsibility and as a first-time dog owner I am still getting used to having another little-one to think about. He is about one million times easier than either of my babies ever were but I still need to make sure he is fed, watered, taken outside, played with, trained, kept healthy, groomed every six weeks or so…and travel now becomes slightly more complicated as we have to ensure he is always booked in to kennels well in advance of any trip we make (until the time he will be old enough to take on some of the holidays with us). Plus in a couple of years time we will have to go through the rigmarole of getting him back home to England (thank goodness quarantine between South Africa and the UK is now a thing of the past).

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In the end though, I have a feeling it will all be worth it!

Do you have an expat dog? Please tell me about him or her in the comments section – including whether you moved them from another country and if so how the move went.

My Expat Family

Animal Tales Badge Final