I’m an Australian citizen living in Mumbai, India.
My husband, our two teenagers and I have been living here for just under two years as expats.
My husband has a two-year employment contract which will finish at the end of June.
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We came to India excited about exploring its unique culture(s) and visiting the different regions. We had five amazing months of incredible India before the pandemic hit.
During the recent Easter holidays, we were informed by the International School that my kids attend, that school would be online for the rest of the school year, which finishes in mid-June.
My son is in Grade 6. He has been to school on campus for a total of eight days this year. My daughter is in Grade 9. She has been on campus for 12 days. And we are the lucky ones.
Most Indian children have not been to school all year and can’t afford the devices to give them access to online school.
The decision to do online school for the remainder of the school year means that we (myself and the kids) don’t have to stay in India anymore.
My work is portable and the kids can log into their online schooling from anywhere.
The school day would be 1pm-8pm in Australia (East Coast) instead of 8:30am-3:30pm in Mumbai, but they’re teenagers and they’d probably prefer that schedule.
After the Easter holidays, we started making plans to leave. It would not be a temporary departure, it would be permanent.
We had to pack up everything, say goodbye to friends, and say goodbye to India.
We booked flights for four weeks’ time, giving us plenty of time to organise everything and pack up. There was no rush, or so I thought. We were looking forward to returning to Australia.
After 15 months in densely populated Mumbai, we were excited to spend time with my parents in their relatively small Central Coast town.
We needed to refresh, re-centre and take in the beautiful fresh air, see family and reconnect. My dad has dementia and I haven’t seen him in two years. My kids miss their cousins and their grandparents.