Surprise family reunion after 1 1/2 years | Abu Dhabi, April 2017


*This post was written in April 2017 and re-published in April 2020.

This time last week; I was counting the hours to fly to Abu Dhabi to surprise my family. The trip had been in the making since October; my head rolled between feeling sick with excitement to pure nerves; to fear that my Mum wouldn’t want to see me.

I hadn’t seen my family ~in real life~ since November 2015 and I felt like a lot was riding on the few days that lay ahead.

I tell my mum everything, always have and always will – so she knows the various bad decisions I’ve made since I’ve last seen her.

A part of me was embarrassed about things I’d done (1. Thailand, much of it 2. Men fails, all of them 3. Projecting my life online, some of it). 

Had I been living a life my family would be proud of all the time? Nope.


My worries were, of course, completely unfounded. The moment I appeared, unannounced, in their hotel room everything was fine.

As soon as the initial shock subsided it was like we had never been apart and I felt stupid for questioning, for one second, that Mum would not want to see me – thoughts can be weird things sometimes.

It’s quite amazing (scary!) how much you can get lost in your own head. The list of let’s say “faults” I mentioned above have been parts of my life – it was me that was reflecting and seeing a problem with myself, not Mum.

I’m not ashamed of any part of my life so I’m not sure why I worried – I think it’s due to the fact I’ve been living in my own (Bondi) bubble for so long I truly hoped my family wouldn’t think I was a different person.

I saw this as a little lesson; bury the negative parts of your past where they belong – they’re history, without them you wouldn’t be you. Embrace here and now and be happy looking ahead.

The hotel we stayed in was quite simply out of this world, Emirates Palace really is a Palace in every sense of the word.

We were all so lucky to be there and we knew it, we all appreciated every moment. It really was a case of living a dream.

One of the best bits about the few days was that fact that although we were staying in one of the best hotels in the world, we could have been anywhere.

My family and our bond hadn’t changed at all – family really is everything. I was so grateful for the opportunity to see them all, a few days was better than no days.

If you live away from your family, I (now) personally feel like anything over a year of not seeing them is too long. But in saying that, I know it’s not simple to organise (and often afford) regular visits.

I honestly didn’t realise how much I had missed them until we were face to face.

Seeing my little sisters (one is 11 and one is 2) together made me super proud to call them mine.

They are the kindest, funniest, warm girls with not one spark of spoiled brat in them.

Fearne (11) is going to be some force when she grows up, and little one (2) is just absolutely hilarious – she’s already a hurricane!.

They’re both big characters and definitely have the family traits of being self assured, fun and kind hearted already.

I can’t wait to see what they both achieve in the years to come.

I’ll be waiting on the wings, encouraging them to be the best they can be at everything they turn their hand to.

The Mosque in Abu Dhabi gives you a real reality check of where you are and what you are doing. It makes you feel tiny and insignificant amidst something so vast and special.

I kept imagining a birds eye view of myself and finding it hard to believe where I was.

It cost $545 million to build and is just AMAZING!!!

I don’t quite know how to put it into words – when the prayer rang out as the sun set it was pretty overwhelming and I held back tears.

If you ever get the chance – please go, I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s just something else.

 

I noticed a few things during our Abu Dhabi break; how important it is to be bothered and to stay active.

Our Grandparents were with us and they’re the most hands-on people you can think of.

Youth is constantly on their side because they don’t sit still for a minute. To keep your mind sharp and your body in good health you have to keep using them.

Be the person who gets up early, who gets out and does stuff, who gets everyone else going – who lives!


* Yesterday marked 19 years since I had bought the best “thing” I ever bought; my ol’ Welsh pony, Holly.

It’s quite hard to fathom 19 years passing just like that. I’d love to know how many hours I clocked up exploring our home county on her back. I was so lucky to grow up with ponies (then horses) in my life. Holly, I know you won’t read this but I love you!

Thank you to my family for an amazing, eye-opening break filled with love and laughs. Here’s looking forward to our next reunion.

Thank you for reading, happy Easter, hope you’re in the throes of a sunny belter wherever you are reading from -BE HAPPY!

@LaraLain

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