Fast forward six months and we are here, we are settled and we are happy. We have great new friends, we are closer to much of our family and we have discovered that actually, in the grand scheme of things, we aren't that far away from those we "left behind". Above all else we are safe. Our lives are not in danger. We made this move because we wanted to. Not because we had to.
Whatever your political leanings the news currently makes for difficult viewing. As a Mother, I find the situation in Syria particularly distressing as it involves so many families. So many children. So many people who in so many respects are just like us. Or at least, were just like us. Working. Raising families. Studying. Striving to realise their dreams, whatever they were. The difference is that their lives have been totally, catastrophically and in many cases irreparably torn apart. There are many views and opinions being thrown about through the wonders of social media about what we should do. What they should do. What the powers that be should do. Frankly some of it shocks me. Some of it makes me wonder what kind of society I have brought my children in to. Lack of basic compassion and total ignorance abounds, though of course there is also a wave of good - people doing amazing things to both raise awareness and offer practical help and aid.
But for me, at least, there is this... As I look back to that time six months ago, when I was so incredibly "stressed" by the whole process of moving. When I wondered how and why we would choose to pack all our belongings up and move our home away from what was (to me at least) all that had ever been familiar in my life, I count every single blessing I have. I didn't face the prospect of sending my children on ahead before me, alone and frightened. I didn't face the prospect of leaving my husband behind to fight (or worse). I didn't face the prospect of never seeing the friends and family I left behind again because of political uncertainty or massacre. I didn't face the prospect of losing everything I have and travelling on foot, or in an overcrowded "boat" to arrive cold, hungry, frightened and unwelcome. I didn't have to give birth to my daughter whilst fleeing for my life. I didn't face the prospect of starting from a basis of absolutely nothing to provide a new beginning for my family. I wasn't scared for my life or for the lives of my children. I wasn't homeless or cold or lacking basic sanitation in a tent in no mans land. I wasn't told to "go back to where I came from" to fight a battle I had no part in.
Whilst we all get caught up in the stresses of life (something I will be forever guilty of I am sure), for me, at least, the horrific situation which is reality for so many has been a valuable lesson in not sweating the small stuff; and being truly, genuinely thankful for so many things I have been guilty of taking for granted.
Unicef UK is one of the many charities currently working to help the victims of the Syria crisis.