Guest expat blog: Love where you are by Elise Campbell-Hand

1 Oct

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I am sitting in one of the least practical kitchens of all time, being the domestic goddess that a good mum strives to be (Nigella lookout!). As it is autumn and the evenings are getting cooler, tonight we are having homemade chicken vegetable soup. I don’t mind that it’s getting colder, with the days growing shorter there is less time that my two young children can be outdoors playing, but it does mean that winter is on its way and with winter comes Christmas and a winter Christmas is simply wonderful. That is a whole other story for another time!

I live in London; I have done so since August 2008. It has been an adventure that I will never forget. I love the architecture and the history not only of London, but of the entire United Kingdom and Europe. I have loved travelling to new cities; new countries and experienced things that I never thought I would and have marvelled at what these places have to offer. There are some places that I have deemed a “one time only” experience (Egypt) or a “been there done that” and won’t go again (New Year in sub-zero Scotland’s all-outdoor Hogmanay festival) and there are places that I simply cannot wait to return to (long lazy meals in the rolling Tuscan hills). We have been part of many a good party here in London; much about the Royal Family with the Olympics thrown in. It is a wonderful, vibrant and never ceasing to amaze me city.

But for me the most amazing part about being here, right now in London is that I am experiencing everything with the people I love most in the world. And I wouldn’t change that for a second. This is why I love London.

When I came to the UK, I came with my wonderful husband Jeremy. We have explored, seen and experienced some of the most amazing things together. We have also struggled at times; it’s not always easy to be away from home, even with the people you love right by your side. And let’s face it, there are things that you can love in Australia, that you may find in London but you pay about three times too much for them (my husband would say something like the amount of living space, where as I would say cherry ripes!). But the tough times, and being miles away from family, friends and support networks are not as tough when you are with the person you love. And that is a good thing, when your two becomes three and then four….

We have been blessed with two beautiful children, whilst in London; Saxon born in 2010 and Xanthe in 2012. Believe it or not both children were born a stone’s throw from where little Prince George was born this year, at St Mary’s Hospital Paddington. Now that will be something to tell them in years to come! Since the arrival of our little darlings, things have never been the same since. When you have children, you adjust your expectations somewhat; they need to have a more child focus, especially holidays. I remember we took a little round the UK holiday before Xanthe was born and rather than visiting cathedrals, palaces and museums (unless there were dinosaurs involved), we had to find playgrounds, or ruins that allowed Saxon to run and crawl all over them (with the imagination of a two year old boy, he was a knight charging around in a real-life castle!). The changing holidays don’t matter to me, I know that I will just have to put some places back on my bucket list and visit them when I am older. All that matters is that I am with my family and love each new adventure! So what’s not to love when you are happy with where you’re at!

I chuckle every now and then because when we finally do make it home to Australia, it will be like starting over again but in our home country; Jeremy and I are not just two anymore. We are four. And we are the best four I could ever hope for.

Elise Campbell-Hand, stay at home mum and it’s the best job in the whole world!

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