The Expat Summer Olympics

If you think about it, it’s a funny ole thing that expats spend such a big chunk of the year away from their adopted home, living out of a suitcase. While most people take 2-week holidays, for expats 6-8 weeks is often necessary in order to see all your family and friends who you don’t see the rest of the year.

And, for expat families in the Middle East, an extended vacation over the long summer school holiday also provides a solution to the how-to-entertain-the-kids-when-it’s-46˚C problem.

This is what the summer heat in Dubai feels like!

But being gone for such a long time isn’t all plain sailing, by any means. Inspired by Mrs Dubai’s brilliant Mummy Olympics post, I’ve been thinking about some Olympic events that expats the world over would be in great shape for this summer:


Catch every flight, with time to spare

Pole-position passport-queuing

The find-your-holiday-home-before-dark Road Race

The 32-hour-day Time Trial

Sprint to the toilets before the inevitable


The up-before-dawn jet-lagged 6YO (how long til you lose it?)

The bath-book-bed triathlon in new surroundings

The time zone jump (how many days to adjust? Bonus points for family members under 10)

The Eventing marathon (plan and execute 4-6 weeks of events and get-togethers without leaving anyone out)

The 1,500km cross-country steeplechase (how many relatives can you visit?)

Sofa surfing (who needs a good night’s sleep anyway?)

Circles staggers over the final hurdle to win gold in the 3-in-a-bed at 3am relay!

Stay vertical at the Bar during reunions with friends

The Parallel park on tiny roads

The Roll-your-clothes test (does this mean you can fit more in your suitcase?)

Pommelling-it-shut after repacking

The Beam-me-up-Scotty moment (when it all gets too much)

The Dismount (when DH extricates himself from the travelling circus and goes back to work – no blubbing)


The daily Dress-Arghh competition (find something uncreased to wear in your capsule wardrobe)

Ride public transport in rush hour with children and suitcases

The don’t-stick-your-oar-in family regatta (aka, don’t rock the boat if it’s best left unsaid)

The triple shift childcare derby (one mum, two whining kids, DH gone)

Synchronised schedules (find a good moment to Skype your absent DH)

The overtired tantrum throw (how many until you have one yourself?)

Peace, serenity – the kids, who are STILL on American time, go quiet after 11pm here!

6 thoughts on “The Expat Summer Olympics

  1. This is great – I think I competed in every single event (except for the book-bath-bed one – thank God they’ve outgrown it) this summer – and failed miserably at most of them – I never once got the synchronised schedules right!

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