One major disadvantage of having kids abroad is having to trade in your time previously allotted to ‘holidays’ for visits back ‘home’ – to ensure your offspring get some quality time with their extended family.

While in theory these visits need not be stressful nor expensive they are inevitably usually both – as well as downright exhausting.  It seems every time we return to Strasbourg after a lengthy sojourn in the UK we promise ourselves “Never again”; only to do it all again a few months later.

There are three obvious alternatives to this annual / bi-annual / trimestrial pilgrimage:

  1. ignore the family and go and enjoy oneself elsewhere
    PROS: you get to go somewhere different every year and have as much of a real holiday as is possible with children in tow
    CONS: snubbing the family is likely to result in ex-communication, no more birthday presents and being written out of various wills; hate mail is also a strong possibility
  2. ensure the entire family make regular visits to see you
    PROS: no need to go anywhere; regular free babysitters; constant supply of Marmite / Baked Beans
    CONS: overcrowding and peculiar odour due to constant flow of guests in the spare room
  3. get the entire family to emigrate
    PROS: no more travelling necessary, the availability of local, free baby-sitters
    CONS: well, you wouldn’t have emigrated if you wanted the family nearby – right?

As is often pointed out to us, it was our choice to move abroad so we really shouldn’t whine about it. Which is fair comment; but, although we enjoy seeing family and friends whenever the opportunity arises, I can’t help wishing that they all lived on a beach on the Cote d’Azur instead of in England.