Today is Australia Day, and I have so many mixed feelings about it – about being an expatriate, and about the date itself.
“Your worst You is coming”… I remember the very moment this hit home for me. I’ve decided to tell you the story. It’s a story that most people enjoy – except me! … This wasn’t my worst “China day”. This was my worst ME day in China.
Recently I’ve written several drafts on cross-cultural life for my ‘work’ blog that are more personal in nature, more emotional in style. I think the decision to make writing my outlet again somehow overflowed naturally.
Blogging is a discipline that reminds me to connect – to look around, to notice, to appreciate. To focus on small details. To tell small stories about real life. I used to write those sorts of small stories about my life in China. I think it’s time to start telling them again.
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.
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…
I leave Cambodia for Australia tomorrow morning, 11 years since I first moved to China. I have crammed a lot into those 11 years! My whole adult life, the whole span of time lived outside my parents’ house. My entire career. All the things I did on my own, as an independent adult, I did in those 11 years.
I enjoy having an outlet for my thoughts and I am constantly surprised that many other people are interested in those thoughts. As this year comes to a close I’ve been looking back over this year’s overlap between what I find interesting and what you find interesting – the posts that received the most traffic in 2014.
This is the fourth country I’ve spent Christmas in, the tenth time I’ve spent the day outside Australia. Christmas is celebrated differently everywhere, so here are some decorations and some of my favourite Christmas videos – just for fun!
I lived a third of my life in China; I miss speaking Mandarin on a daily basis. I’ve been feeling very in-between. I feel far from China, and far from Australia, but I know I don’t totally belong here, either. Australia is looming closer. The more I think about it, the harder it hits that I have left the only life I know, and am heading into something very unknown.
Soon the Cambodian Stars became one of the last things packed and first things put up whenever I moved. And when I myself moved to Cambodia the Cambodian Stars came home. I hung them in my bedroom – a promise, a reminder.
Yesterday was a big day – I send the first draft of the book to my publisher/editor. I had my first Khmer (Cambodian) language lesson. Finally, it was a big day because it marked one month since I arrived in Phnom Penh.