This past month I passed the inconceivable milestone of living away from Australia for more than half my life… So the question is – when so you stop being from somewhere? This interesting and somewhat perplexing question has been percolating at the back of my mind all week. I suppose I’m neither Australian or Canadian at this point but some weird hybrid with two passports. 🙂
To be honest I’m not sure what’s brought it about, other than the fact that I absolutely can’t believe it – where did the years go?
Inside my head feels like I don’t have an accent either way but sort of neutral, although depending on which country I’m in most people find this funny. Just off the boat when I’m Canada, and clearly “American” (to the untrained Aussie ear) in Australia. I just smile, but deep down it sort of irks me that in Australia I’m not considered Australian because of the way I speak, and although not quite the same in Canada I always get the same question “how long have you been here?”
Interestingly, when I drove out to the town where I was born I felt no affinity with the place. Yes, it was familiar but it held no special memories that make me think of it as home…it was just another place. I guess they’re right when they say “home is where the heart is”.
Whenever I’m back home in Australia I always go to the cemetery to visit my mum and dad’s grave. Generally spend a little time there thinking about them and saying a little something, and placing two stones on the headstone. This is something that I do for Zach and Sami as its a jewish tradition and I know that if they were with me then they would each place a stone on headstone, so I did it for them then took a photo and sent it to them.
Now given that it was a beautiful summers day (30C – 90F) I decided to take a walk around the cemetery. Incredibly what I found stunned me to my core… I discovered a couple of graves of kids that I had grown up with and gone to school with…WTF?!
As I’ve said before you just never know when its your time, but that being said I must admit it was a rather confronting experience and one that I wasn’t quite ready for! To be honest I hadn’t seen any of them since the late 1970’s so in one respect it wasn’t a total surprise but I think the sense of personal mortality is what freaked me out (just a little).
Fortunately, the offsetting experience was that the cemetery is adjacent to a eucalyptus forest and so the delightfully refreshing aroma was intoxicating. There is nothing like a bright summers day in Australia and the warmth of the sun on your skin, especially when you’ve left a cold North American winter.
I find that my senses seem to be more acute when I’m back home in Australia, such a sensory overload of smells and sounds. Walking through the bush with the summer heat as the sun draws out the eucalyptus oil from the trees thus providing an exquisite natural scent, not to mention the indelible smells of tea tree or Jasmine. As well, there’s something about being woken by a pandemonium of parrots (yes, thats the official name for a flock of parrots – crazy eh?) or the magpies outside my window warbling away merrily as my alarm clock at 6:30 am. 🙂
All so delightful, and its these things more than anything that make me feel like I’m at home again.
For those of you playing along at home, my mate Craig had his double hernia operation and everything went well…and although not particularly intrusive its always great to get the thumbs up after any type of surgery.
He and I spent the afternoon driving over to Daylesford which is about 35 km from Ballarat, checked out a few shops and galleries in and around the town before stopping for lunch at a local pub. One of the truly great things about our relationship are the never ending conversations and non-stop peels of laughter that punctuate these all too infrequent opportunities.
Also this trip I met my newest great niece – her name is Summer. Such an appropriate name for this gorgeous one year old. My sister Glenda and her husband Max look after her two to three times per week so I got an opportunity to spend some time with her – so cute. I’d almost forgotten how lovely they are at this age…or how much they drool (yes, she’s getting her teeth). 🙂
Although my short visit is almost done, its been just what the doctor ordered on a number of fronts. Spending time with your best friend and close family while enjoying the opportunity to wear shorts and a t-shirt (especially at this time of year) has been absolutely amazing.
I already know Sam will be making the case to come back for another visit very soon…maybe next Christmas. She absolutely loves Australia and how could I say no to that.