A Travellerspoint blog

treading water & feeling a bit out of the loop..

(First week back in the UK)

overcast 14 °C

We’ve been back in the UK a week

.. and already ticked- off some of the essentials; deep, hot bubble baths, play parks, my sister’s hen do, bridesmaid dress fittings, cheese, wine and nice brown bread consumed. David says that coming back on 'Home Assignment' is like getting a vehicle MOT since there is the dentist to visit, a de-brief planned, doctor's appointments and even physio to get done.

Beautiful Turkey

Beautiful Turkey



Last week on our delightful (!) Turkish holiday en-route to the UK, Amelie learned to swim. Turkey was a great stop-over for a rest after the intensity of Uganda but before the appointments and catch-ups of the UK. There was a pool next to the apartment, which meant we were in the water every day, and one day she saw a 3-year old jump in and swim, that was it… Armbands were off and replaced with a feisty determination. It was a bit daunting to watch as she frantically doggy-paddled through the water, her face mainly under the water, and the visible relief as the felt the security of the wall.

Proud swimmer

Proud swimmer

Coming back to the UK this time round has felt a bit like Amelie’s swimming- I feel and probably look like I’m flailing and drowning, but hope and trust I am slowly getting to the other side.

It’s not that anything is massively different or difficult than what we remember, but it is the seemingly inconsequential things that I need to consciously remember again; like how the ticketing queuing system works to buy kids shoes in a crowded shoe shop just before term starts, or how to drive in a polite British manner, observing the rules not the assertive Ugandan way, not needing to greet people, nor say ‘sorry sorry sorry’ if someone drops something, and realising that I urgently need to get a phone, as phonebooths seem to be a dying a death...

So many things seem to jump out everywhere that just seem so different to the 'normal' we’re now used to…

  • Charity shops- after several months of clearing out and de-cluttering our home in Uganda, and even the tattiest/ broken item being taken and used by someone, poor David was in for an embarrassing shock when he and the kids struggled to the local OXFAM with bags of stuff from me and my almost-married sister.. an old lady grumbled that they didn’t need or want anymore products and he should take it elsewhere. A more sympathetic lady saw David’s face, the over-laden buggy and the whining munchkins and took the bags from him. To David’s mortification, he heard the less sympathetic lady mutter ‘I wish you’d told that man to take his bags, it’s a load of junk, I’ll have to give my hands a good wash now…’
  • Garden Centres- places where plants and tools are for beauty and enjoyment rather than just for survival.
  • Fathers attentively playing and tending to their babies.
  • Middle- aged couples holding hands.
  • Having gluten free’ snack options for kids in the church crèche.
  • Having child protection policies, ratios, training for volunteers, lesson plans even for Sunday school teachers.
  • Not needing mozzie nets nor worrying about a life -threatening illness when the kids have a slight fever. Having the peace of mind of highly trained medical personnel close at hand in case anything goes wrong anyway...
  • Drinking from the tap!
  • Trying to get rid of small change rather than trying to accumulate it.

We are staying with my parents for the next few weeks and we were amazed at the polite letter from the council warning they would be doing roadworks for the next few days and were very sorry for the disruption. After spending the last year with the dirt roads all over Arua being dug up by huge Chinese trucks, mounds of mud being dumped on the road and diggers and rollers steaming towards me with no warnings, it all feels quite neat and organized.

It is good to be back in the UK, and of course so special to reconnect with family and friends over the next few weeks and to be here for all the
‘dynamics’ of the wedding prep, but it is also much more overwhelming than I expected, and so if you see me making awkward Uganglish cultural blunders and looking like I’m drowning, I probably feel like I am, so please help me out xxx



Most of my family together again

Most of my family together again

bake-off Hen soon to be MRS

bake-off Hen soon to be MRS

Posted by africraigs 23:47 Archived in England Tagged home family transition confusion support_network

Table of contents


Welcome back. Having visited Uganda, albeit briefly, with next visit booked for November; your blog is really accurate and very amusing! Keep it coming! Love to hear about your news, views and family. Enjoy the 'luxuries' while you can. Enjoy the wedding. Love and hugs to you all Xx

by Bev Y

Having just returned from our 'break' in the UK, we're right with you! Feeling 'out of the loop' and 'a bit overwhelmed' is always our experience too! Love the bit about the roadworks - I also commented on a similar incident where the workers left a small hole well protected and all neat and tidy at the end of the day - and it was only a parking area / cul de sac! Now enjoy the wedding fever! Rx & Jx

by Roger and Jean Tripp

Classic reverse culture shock- Like Amelie, you'll be 'swimming' again soon!

by Douglas Craig

Very true Douglas Craig. !!!!! X you'll feel comfortable enough very soon Emma. But unfortunately ignorance x a lack of respect can be found in many cultures and wad evident in the charity shop. However your families kindness, faith and integrity will shine through. Xxx

by Melanie Taylor - Hanks

Ah, but look how beautiful and relaxed you look in photos! Funny how you may feel strange and out of place-- but probably appear pretty normal to others. Praying for your transition!

Preparing to move we've been taking lots of home goods to Goodwill (our OXFAM equivalent, I suppose) to donate-- but we drive up, drop off and drive away again before they have a chance to declare those things junk, as I'm sure happens to most of it. :)

by Maggie Loftus

Such fun to read and remember those same feelings! But you will survive, and UK is the richer for having you here! I know wedding prep is time-consuming, but if you want a short break by the sea you are so welcome here, or we could come up to you one Sat or Sun for a few hours?! Peter and Paula xxx

by Paula Phillips

Yes @ all of your "getting used to" things, but the small change one made me laugh out loud.

by Justin Culp

Loved reading this! Its so interesting to get an insight to different cultures & actually how much we take for granted living in the UK.. Not thinking twice about having free NHS & wanting to get rid of our small change (that me laugh!) Can't wait to see you & hear more :-)

by Becky morgan

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