There are many cons to being an expat just as there are many pros. Of course the cons include the long 24+ hour flight, coordinating skype dates with the time differences, and adjusting to a new way of life. But in the UAE we’ve found some other complications as well. Because our salary in the UAE is untaxed, the US government says they have a right to tax our salary if we stay in the states for more than 35 days. What does that mean? Well, instead of being able to fly home for our all of our summer break, Scott and I are only allowed in our home country for 35 days – if we stay longer than we will have to pay a lot of money. Other countries have different rules and regulations from the US so I can only speak about my experience. Many of you reading that might be saying, well 35 days isn’t so bad – but let me tell you its just too short. Scott’s family and my family are 6 hours, by car, a part. When you break that down that means only 2 weeks with my husband’s family and only 2 weeks with my family – and that’s it for the whole year. What does that equate to? NOT ENOUGH TIME! Originally we thought we’d have the whole summer (us being teachers and being off in the summertime) to catch up and relax with family – this 35 days thing really thew us a curve ball.

Many cups of coffee and chai while catching up with all our friends

Many cups of coffee and chai were shared while catching up with friends

Our stay in US is sadly over and while we were there we were running from one thing to the next trying to see everyone and squeeze everything in. It’s terrible meeting a friend to catch up over dinner or coffee and then, after only a few hours, having to say goodbye to them for another year. It’s brutal. Each day has greeted us with a friendly face we hadn’t seen in a year, only to end by a hug that won’t be felt in another year. Just the other day we said goodbye to my mom and dad for another year and quickly realized the worst part about being an expat – goodbyes. As my husband said – it’s those five minutes that are the worst part of being an expat. It’s been so incredible seeing family but boy is my husband right. Even though we look towards this second year with anticipation and excitement, even though we’ve traveled all around the world, even though we have so much support, there is nothing worse than a goodbye – or in our case a “see you next year.” Scott and I joke about it but it’s really so difficult to only see someone for a few hours or a few days and then have to turn around and leave knowing you won’t see them for another 12 months. I’ve come to see, however, that goodbyes are so difficult because the sadness signals so much love.

We are so blessed to have so many people who care about us and love us. I can’t possibly fit in a post for every day we’ve been home so here are some of the moments that I didn’t have a chance to blog about . . .

35 days35 days 435 days 235 days 3DSCN781035 days 5What a trip!! Oh and p.s. we had a great visit with Claire and her husband, Dave : ) Unfortunately – and I can’t believe this – we left the cord to that camera in the UAE so I couldn’t download their picture : ( But don’t worry we didn’t forget you guys!

What a trip we had – it was a whirlwind of great times, great friends, and great family! We have so many people that we love and feel so lucky to have their support.