Blogging is really feast or famine for me, and I apologize for that. My hubs arrived home today after a ten day business trip. With him comfortably situated on the couch, my brain suddenly finds the room to sit down and write, that eluded me while he was gone and I was occupied with making sure I didn't drop anything important.
What I want to stop in and say today is not polished, but just a thought I want to record as part of my expat/repatriate/dual nationality experience.
When people find out that we have moved to Houston from Sydney, their reaction is inevitably the same. "That must have been a work transfer." "Why would you do that?" "How's that working out for you?" The theme of peoples' responses is that Sydney must be infinitely better, and we must be struggling to find anything enjoyable in Houston.
For the last year my answer has been the same every time. I explain that we're here to be closer to family for a season. I describe our approach to life - that we can make a beautiful and full life wherever we are. These things are true, and I believe them.
Recently springtime arrived in Sydney, and school dismissed for the holidays. Suddenly my Facebook stream was filled with blue skies, beaming faces, sparkling seas, and gorgeous plates of food. All the loveliest places, the best of friends, the tastiest of treats, and the most beloved holiday locations scrolled under my thumb, as if on promenade.
There are moments when I want to throw my phone, and throw myself sobbing into a pillow. There are moments when I want to answer people's inquiries with questions of my own. "Why did we leave what is, to me, the most beautiful place on earth, to be here, in the heat and mosquitoes?"
That's the tricky thing about this move. All the above are true. We are here to be closer to family for a season. We already have stacks of memorial proof that it has been a good decision, a good move. We have seen my family more in the last year, than in the last 5+ years in Sydney combined. It has been good, and worth it.
We have built a pretty decent life here. We've found beautiful places. We've made friends. We've carved out a cozy place.
It is also true that our hearts murmur Australia with every beat. Sounds melodramatic? Sure. But it's true. In Australia my Dutch husband and I found a place that felt home down to our bones, and we created a family there. We miss it, deeply. And even though I am pathetically inept at making and keeping Skype calls, and most of my Aussie friends aren't active on Facebook, my heart is completely tied up with friends there, one in particular who is the Diana to my Anne (or am I the Anne to her Diana?).
Five years from now maybe Houston could be that for me? It's possible. This isn't my first rodeo though, I've lived abroad and moved back twice before. I've never felt as at home anywhere in the world as I felt in Sydney, after I'd truly found my stride.
I just wanted to write it down, because maybe in a year from now it will feel different. Maybe this is a predictable point on the arc of the expat experience. Maybe I'll fall out of love with Australia over time.
But today, these weeks, I'm thankful no one has asked me "how's that working out?" when they hear about our move, because I'm having trouble delivering the answer that is true, in light of all the gorgeous holiday moments that are pulling my mind and imagination back towards my own Australian memories.