Coming around after a month of globe-hopping to what seemed to be everywhere. One clear benefit to living so far from home and just about anywhere, any flight shorter than ten hours seems short. So much so, that I repeatedly forgot or well never even thought of packing snacks for trips. I’m pretty intolerant of the least bit of hunger and had to just shake my head and wonder why in the world I set off with my “Mary Poppins bag” busting my shoulder heavy with all manner of digital things and not a morsel to eat. Australia takes customs searches for food very seriously, so I think that profound fear of having my treats sniffed out by the hounds at the airport and ending up on an episode of “Customs and Border Patrol” has something to do with it. But honestly, I need to revisit my packing list. For sure at 53 if it isn’t written down, it does not happen. I miss being smart. Truly.
I spent three lovely (and hot) weeks in the states visiting, celebrating and hauling a giant suitcase around. July is generally a good month to miss in Sydney with winter weather seeming out of place and uncomfortable (unless you are snuggled under a blanket and that’s not always a productive way to pass the day). But it’s hard to be gone for that long because it’s very much home now. And home in the states does not really exist now, which is unsettling. It’s hard to be a guest where you used to be at home.
And we have no answer for the what’s next and when questions which isn’t really difficult generally, but discussing it with people who legitimately want to know the answer (like, say our children and our parents who probably would love answers and we do understand that) is unsettling. I think Greg and I are good at this whole expat thing because we both have some seriously good coping (or possibly avoidance) skills; spending very little energy on wondering what’s next and much more on where we are walking today or what we are having for dinner tonight.
Visiting home, or the bubble-within-the-bubble that is our old neighborhood in Midwestern suburbia affirms that our re-entry into America will be challenging. Such a wonderful place to live family life, but making that engaging after our international assignment in what is basically paradise….well…we should save up some coping skills is what I am saying.
So I’m shaking that uneasiness off and embracing all that I love about living abroad and specifically living in Manly, NSW, Australia. I’m one lucky girl, let me tell you. I’m the girl I would not want to read about or see pictures of when I was waist deep in the toddler years. But, how fantastic is it that same person I was insanely jealous of when I was younger is actually me? I mean I couldn’t even watch the movie “Eat, Pray, Love” after reading the book. I just wanted to strangle that woman who just ran away from the real world (and hers was not that hard, please….and you are right neither was mine) and did whatever the hell she wanted to do. Right, I am totally doing that, but it’s part of a package deal with being the spouse of someone very much hard-wired to love doing the job he is doing running his company’s business (more or less) in Asia. Believe me, living on the other side of the planet from my children is not easy for me. There’s a daily cost there, trust me. I know that goes both ways. I’m just hoping we are all holding some space to be back in real-time face-to-face life again some day. Hoping we haven’t become too terribly adjusted to being apart. And maybe all I’m saying is we will be texting each other back and forth in more or less the same time zone or we will just be getting together over lunch or coffee because we can. I wonder if I’ll ever stop calculating the time difference before I text, call or post. All the math, I suppose it’s good for me.
So back for now to loving our life by the ocean in a magical place with a day full of kisses on the cheeks, hugs, “How you going?” and a steamy “rice milk flat white, gorgeous?” “yes, please” fresh from a stunningly beautiful beach to beach and back swim (which is currently very fresh at 17 degrees Celsius or pretty ridiculously cold in degrees Fahrenheit). A little beach town currently only mildly visited by tourists but otherwise busy with regular life in paradise just minutes by ferry, of course because it’s really the luckiest country, from a picture-perfect city. I am that girl. That aggressively friendly midwestern American girl whose made a nice life for herself being open to the adventure and the every day. Thank you to everyone that let me go for a while. Thank you to everyone who has taken me in for a while. I’m grateful.
love this from the kitchen wall at my dear friend Heather’s in Santa Monica
lovely long layover in LA
hours hanging out at my in-laws with my boys
slushy dark and stormies with Kelly in Chicago
Sara showing me her universe in Madison
I did this. Becky’s Mini and I survived.
A lot of this. He misses me, but won’t let on.
Climbed things. Up at the top in North Carolina.
Dreamteam reunion at Spencer and Lauren’s wedding. Excellent team effort.
One last stop to be sure I completed coast to coast. My brother’s beach in South Carolina.
Thirty-two years with this guy. He took me to Bali, as you do.
We were out and about and liked that best, as usual. And I’m home.