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After discussing my predicament with several other expat friends, I’ve realized that we are not unusual (some people may disagree but wait until I finish my sentence) in the sense that we will have two households to maintain. This includes furniture and personal effects. It seems that in the expat world a lot of families are leaving their primary homes behind. Some of them are leaving it unoccupied and others are renting it out. Either way, this still involves the sorting of personal stuff.

We bought a lovely home in Budapest in 2002. We were lucky as all the stars lined up. The property market was reasonable, the dollar was strong and we were starting a family (we had our son and I was pregnant with our daughter). We seriously lucked out with location, house quality, size of land and again, location. We’ve grown really attached to our home and, therefore, until we figure out where our next semi-permanent home will be, we will keep it.

Luckily, thanks to Emirates and Austrian Air, we are a short flight away from Budapest. Flying into Vienna allows us to have a non-stop flight lasting 5 – 6 hours (this is short for a family who is used to traveling much further to get back to family) on one of these amazing airlines. Seriously, if you haven’t flown either Emirates or Austrian, you should as they are both great airlines. Comfortable seats, excellent service, individual TVs in each seat allowing endless entertainment for the little ones and decent food. It makes the journey feel half the length which is always a bonus.

From Vienna airport back to our home in Budapest, it is only a short hop lasting less then 2 hours door-to-door. So, whenever we miss our old friends – after 13 years we have loads – or Europe’s architecture, change of seasons or just need a get away to a home away from home, we can easily go back to our home in Budapest. Our home will not remain unoccupied as we’ll have a ‘house-sitter’ during our absence as a home does not feel like a home if there’s a water leak, dead plants and no food in the fridge. Therefore we are lucky to have someone we trust looking after it while we are in Dubai.

In the meantime, my biggest predicament is SORTING! What stays and what goes. The last time we moved it was easy. The packers came, packed up everything and then we moved. Now, I need to sort, sort, sort. This stays, that goes. My husband is saying to me ‘leave everything’. But, I cannot do this. The thought of starting from scratch is not only costly but also exhausting. The kitchen alone. I have collected some amazing cookware. Do I take or leave? Or duplicate it? Or travel back and forth with it? Also, in order to make our Dubai house feel like home, I will need some of our personal belongings. I’m a collector and have lots of great pieces of furniture and art from all over the world. Nothing is extremely valuable other than the story behind it. So, somehow, I will decide – probably at the last minute as I do not want to handle the stress any sooner then necessary. Our packers will need to be very patient with me as I sort through dishware, cookware, the kids’ toys and all our clothes. The furniture is a bit easier as we will take only about 5 big pieces. The dining room table, chairs, TV, sofa, beds, our bedroom armoires and most of our outdoor furniture and toys (bikes, ping pong table, trampoline) will all stay behind. It seems silly but when we return to our Budapest home, which will be about 1 – 2 months / year, we want it to feel, well, like home.

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