I don’t think it’s possible to move to the other side of the world without a wobble or two.
I’ve certainly had a few over the past four weeks, and yet somehow because I’m in the place I want to be, I don’t feel I should have the ‘right’ to have anxieties, stress…. worrisome wobbles.
The men of the household arrived on Christmas Day, exactly as scheduled. Bearded and bleary-eyed, but happy to be reunited with the girls. We had a crazy Christmas. Miss Fliss made some chocolate brownies, I forgot to bring out the Christmas crackers and we all ended up jumping in the pool together despite the rain – remnants of Cyclone Evan that decided to hitch a ride on Santa’s sleigh.
We exchanged pressies, which were humble, and appropriate for the humongous amounts of money we’ve spent moving the family to the other side of the world, and for a moment just relaxed in each other’s presence. Their arrival was truly the best Christmas present of all. Ever.
But it hasn’t all been sunshine Down Under. Some of the problems we were struggling through in England have resurfaced here, albeit with a suntan and dressed in beach wear. The sun may be shining (at times – it has been an unusually wet Christmas) but we are still anxious about work, and income and resettling and finding a car and all those deeper worries – like recovering from what has been an enormously difficult year.
Some of us still need Prozac, yes even in paradise…though hopefully we’ll manage to grow through that as we settle.
Everyone is asking: ‘Is it easier going home?’
The answer is of course, both yes and no.
On the yes side – coming home to friends who love you, hell even like you! Knowing that you can shout out to people like Jane and Marty, Jo, Penny, Linaire and others (including my wonderful family! Thanks Kim for the Christmas Eve pizza!) helps you feel not quite so alone, even when your husband is on the other side of the world. Other yes’s include – knowing your way around, knowing where to buy cheaper things and provisions, knowing how to get registered with a doctor and having bank accounts all set up, and knowing how to find work opportunities. Of course, living in a beautiful place also helps….more than I can really measure. Somehow sniffing that salt air and lying in the sun I am reassured that it will be OK in the end.
On the no side – things have changed. I spent an anxious half an hour completely lost on a country road I thought I knew well, picking up the pets from quarantine, until Dark Princess pointed out that I was on State Highway 2, not 1. No one had told me that they’ve built a completely new highway in the four years I’ve been away. Little things have changed…there’s a new petrol station called Z, the council now changes for ‘wastewater’ (seriously?) and even the big shopping malls just seem that much smaller. As for charging $21 for two roast chickens!!!!! Extortion. Most noticeable of all – people have changed, and possibly most importantly, so have I.
I’m no longer as confident as I was when I left. I wish I were. Would I have the courage to move across the world with three kids, two pets and twenty boxes of books to live with a man I met in Paris, if I had to do it tomorrow?
Of course you can see that as a good thing, and as a bad thing. Life provides us with experiences that help to caution us as well as those that help us grow. I may not be as bolshie as I was but perhaps I’m a little kinder, wiser, more grounded..No one said growing was easy.
A week or so ago my Englishman pointed out that if you read my Facebook statuses it would appear that life was all gin and lying by the pool. In a way I’m sorry if I gave that impression. It isn’t entirely honest, it’s lying by omission. I’ve forgotten to mention the anxiety of knowing that I have to make this work, of worrying about finding work and paying the rent and how the kids are coping and how we are coping with the inevitable separations – my Englishman and I.
I was watching a seagull in flight this morning off our deck. We have a magnificent vista from our deck that spreads from the Sky Tower to Rangitoto across the Tamaki Estuary. I love watching the yachts and the rowers in the early morning and the ferries as they toot their departures and plough through the waves en route to Auckland city and Waiheke Island.
But most of all I love watching the birds.
I was watching this seagull flapping its wings like mad as it was buffeted by the strong wind (yes we have another cyclone passing over us). It would flap frantically and then it would soar, riding the currents, propelled by all that energy it invested in its flight, moments before. But the thing was…it didn’t fall out of the sky when it stopped flapping those wings. It remained airborne and unconcerned.
I need to remind myself of all that flapping I did over the past months, and remember that like that seagull, despite my wobbles, I’m not going to fall out of the sky.