One of the things I appreciate most about my new life here in Sydney is that there are lots of moments that remind me of China – meals at Chinese restaurants, snippets of Chinese conversation with classmates, hearing Mandarin spoken about me almost every time I’m out in public… It really helps me on the days homesickness lifts its head.
I visited my grandparents for ANZAC Day. I wore my great-grandfather’s WWII medals, saw my grandfather’s WWII medals and more, and he also gave me my great-grandfather’s bible. AND it was my grandparents’ 63rd anniversary. It was a special time.
I mentioned in a recent post that I recently spent a week in Wollongong with a group from my college. The goal for most is to try new things, be stretched and challenged. Not so much for me. But it was what I needed. To be reminded that I have useful, practical skills I enjoy! It was nice to feel competent again.
A rainy day in Sydney is very much alive with colour and sound and beautiful clouds. There is the sound of rain and of wind, trees twisting in the wind, lightning arcing across the sky, the loud colours of living plants highlighted in the glistening wet. Not to mention the scent of damp earth, and eucalytpus. How can anyone not love all that?
This was the week I finally accepted something I already knew to be true, not just as an idea but as a reality. Repatriation is hard. It takes time – a lot of time. And there is no shortcut. It is challenging to invest in a place my heart is not attached to – my mind has been in the world that I have known and loved and invested in for more than a decade.
I was particularly looking forward to two things: 1) my mum’s cooking, and 2) the colder weather. I also caught up with a few friends and worked on my book. Over 400 people have now completed my survey – people from over 60 passport countries, who have lived in over 130 different countries/territories.
Call it transition, call it grief, call it whatever you like, the result is that I just feel tired. But I was inspired by a list of “used to”s – things she used to do, and things she’s getting used to now. I thought it was an interesting way to reflect on how different the details of life can be during a transition. So here are my own “used to” lists…
People keep asking me about re-entry, and whether I’m struggling to re-adjust. The problem is, I’m starting again, more than returning to something. One big difference community living rather than abundant solitude. One similarity is the international flavour of the community I am living in. It’s also lovely to start reconnecting to the culture of my passport country – its beaches and parks, at least!
I have now been at SMBC for a whole week – so here are some stories from my first week of my new life here in Sydney, Australia. I am amazed at how settled and content I feel just one week in. I do expect the weight of the transition to hit at some point, but I live on a lovely campus with lovely people and am enjoying the study so far.
My past two visits to Australia have been the easiest I’ve made in ten years. Were they easier because I’m already looking ahead to moving there? It’s still strange to think about not being in China, but I feel more at peace about the coming move.
I spent Christmas in Australia with my family. It was my first Christmas there in 5 years and I was so excited to go. The view from our units was pretty amazing! It was us, a road, the beach, and then the Pacific Ocean all the way to the horizon.
Broome is a town of about 15,000 people on the northwest coast of Australia, in the Kimberley region. I enjoyed both expaneses of blue – sky and sea – plus Cable Beach, Gantheaume Point Beach, Courthouse markets, and stargazing.