Committing to it

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.

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Homesick

homesickI find the most amazing thing about relocating is how quickly you settle into a new way of life. Maybe it’s just me, because I’ve had so much experience, but usually there’s an initial six week period where everything is new and strange and the longing for how things used to be (however shitty they were) is at the forefront. You pine for people and places familiar and like a fish out of water, you’re left gasping for air at times, the homesickness is so strong.

But then, there’s a subtle shift.  Routines start to emerge. Streets start to feel familiar. You no longer need the GPS to know where the bloody hell you are. Before you know it, you’ve got a new job and a few friends and the merry-go-round of daily living starts up again.

I reckon our saving grace as human beings is our ability to adapt.  We are amazingly resilient as long as we have the basics – food, water, warmth and rest, according to Maslow.

I am into my second week of work and already the place and people are starting to feel like home. My job is very broad, from clambering under desks to plug/unplug computers to checking inventory lists to unlocking locked accounts to domain maintenance to god only knows what else. It’s a great workplace with a really fun atmosphere. People are passionate and work hard but they have fun while doing it.

I’m already getting used to the daily foot commute of 30 minutes each way (although this morning I may have been quicker as it was about 2 degrees!) and love watching the world wake up as I go. The one hour walk also keeps my phone fitness do-dah from nagging me about exercise and I feel justified in not spending extra time and money at the gym. I actually kept my phone in my pocket at work today and with all the running around I do, I easily made 10,000 steps. Sweet!

We are settling into a pattern at home as well. Shower, dinner while watching two episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine or something equally short and hilarious then NIH retires to watch something on his iPad and I catch up on one episode of something not to his taste (at the moment it’s Doc Martin) before we collapse in bed around 9pm and starting the whole process again with the 6am alarm.

I’ve adapted, you might say. But then, something will pull me up. A word. A thought. Or, as in today’s case, a website. I was using Google Maps to check out the postcode for an address in Melbourne to send a monitor to and out of curiosity, googled our former address. The picture above popped up and all of a sudden there’s a lump in my throat.

I miss it.

Yes, Emerald was very hot. I found it harder to deal with every year. Yes, it was quite remote, although when you’ve lived there for years, you don’t realise it until you move to a metropolitan area. Yes, there were few attractions to entertain you.

But as NIH mentioned at breakfast yesterday, we do miss our community – our tribe of friends and family. We’re fairly independent people and not much for living in others’ pockets, but it was nice to have people who like you to hang out with once in a while.

I know we’ll make new friends and will slowly build a new tribe here. But still …

So I guess this is a shout out to all our tribe we left behind.

We miss you.