I’ve been planning this post for a while now, as a celebration of our upcoming visit back home to Oz. It was just going to be a list of all the things I miss about home – Smiths original potato chips; Allens Jelly Beans; teabags with string; decent free television channels; a bathtub and straight roads being my “Top 6 Things I Miss About Home”.
But recently, a group discussion made me question how I really felt about our life here in New Zealand.
At our last weekly Space session we were talking about the principles of respectful parenting and asked to share an experience that we’d found challenging but eventually succeeded at – the point being that our babies are constantly meeting challenges but will get a great deal of satisfaction out of succeeding on their own and at their own pace.
I shared my experience of finishing my degree whilst raising three kids, managing a home and working simultaneously – it took me 10 years but I eventually got there and it’s something I’m immensely proud of.
Others related stories of sky-diving; having twins and coping largely on her own and travelling overseas alone. But something one of the ladies shared really struck a chord with me.
She talked about the time she made the decision to really commit to settling and making a life in New Zealand. It was difficult, she said, but in the end she realised that she’d been here long enough that whichever way she went, she was going to miss someone. That resonated with me and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.
In the famous words of Peter Allen, I still call Australia home, even though it’s been over a year. In my mind, I’ve realised I’m still treating this time in our life as a brief sojourn overseas and haven’t committed to the idea of living here ‘forever’.
The other day NIH and I were discussing what we’d do if we won the lottery and our lists were fairly comparable – pay off the mortgage currently giving us grief; travel around NZ and really see everything (we’ve barely scratched the surface!); buy a bigger car; find a bigger place to rent – but then I finished off with “or move back home”.
NIH stopped and looked at me. “Really?” he said, “I haven’t actually got to the place where I think of going home yet.”
Maybe it’s because I miss my ‘big kids’ so much.
Maybe it’s the emotional and physical demands of a new baby combined with the financial stress of one income to tackle a mortgage and rent.
Maybe I’m just bad at commitment.
Whatever it is, I’m not quite there yet.
When I use the logical part of my brain (rather than the purely emotional sooky-lala side), I realise that moving back to Emerald is not the solution. As NIH put it, we’d be taking a huge step back rather than moving forward. The only things I miss from there are my kids and friends.
So if we did move back to Australia, we’d be living somewhere with a more favourable climate … but I’d still be in the same boat, missing the kids and friends.
And I’ve realised I actually rather like it here. The climate suits me. The surrounds are beautiful. We have access to all sorts of services and events that make life more interesting. I’ve even started to build a community of mums with bubs as well as strengthen good friendships from work.
All in all, where we are is really good … I just have to commit to it.