Thursday, 19 July 2012

Where do Expats spend their summers????

"Where are you spending the summer?" is a common question and point of discussion amongst Expats, worldwide. Summer vacation, a long holiday for the kids from school, is often a time when Expats return to their home countries to catch up with friends, families and their own home culture. It is often a time of indulging and enjoying all the things they miss from ‘home’. Where, then, does the Expat family who has no real home base go for the summer holidays?
In our family, we do not have a ‘home base’. Our kids have two passports but have never lived in either of their passport countries. 'Home’ for them is wherever we are as a family. Therefore, our family has adventure vacations every summer. We focus on doing something interesting, new, exciting and adventurous.

This summer we are rediscovering a country we lived in from 1996-1999 - Egypt. Our youngest child started his life in Cairo, a place that remains to be very special to our family. We decided to spend three weeks of this summer holiday in ‘El Gouna’, a resort/village on the Red Sea, 22km north of Hurghada and about 400km south of Cairo.Being in El Gouna means rediscoving the Red Sea, which is a true wonder of nature. We have spent our long, lazy, summer days kitesurfing, diving, snorkeling, paddle boarding and swimming. The Red Sea is so abundantly full of the most colorful, exotic fish that do not shy away from curious  observers. The masses of coral never cease to amaze us with the incredible colours, shapes and formations. I, personally, think the Red Sea remains somewhat unknown to most of the outside world. It is so rich in marine life - we saw a group of about 50 young dolphins on our first day out on the boat, and it is so warm, so incredibly crystal clear and so diverse in what it has to offer.

Our evenings are spent in outdoor cafes, on terraces where the locals indulge in shisha and chai, while we linger nearby, enjoying the sweet aroma of the apple tobacco bubbling away in the gurgling water pipes. We really appreciate the local food, especially the hot and cold mezze; hummous, tabouleh, yougurt and mint, baba ganoush, kofta, kebab, felafel…there is nothing nicer then indulging in a long, lazy outdoor meal, enjoying long forgotton flavours, smells and textures of middle eastern specialities. 

Egypt is not our ‘home’, but it once was, and we still feel a closeness to the country, the culture, and the incredible history. It is wonderful to be back with our kids, who are much older, and appreciate rediscovering this special place.
Summer holidays for Expats can be just as diverse as the nomadic lives we lead.

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