One week until I leave for home. If home is where the heart is, that heart is a big, beautiful loud group of people on the other side of the world.
There are a few things (not many, thankfully) that I will never do again. Never again will I go nearly two years without seeing my family. Two years. Two years?! Too many missed memories, with a lot of living happening on all sides within that expanse of time.
It struck me recently how strange it is to be living such a full, rich life on this side of the world, so drastically removed from the people I care more about than anything. The group of friends, nay community, that I have developed in Brisbane has become a true family to me. I now have two families, with heartstrings stretched tight across the globe.
It feels like a double life, a mirror image separated by thousands of miles. When I speak to my Dad it’s generally on the weekends; I’ll be headed to the Saturday morning markets or yoga or a gig or bike ride and he’ll be wrapping up his work week with a few Friday cold ones at his local. When I talk to Diana or Mom we’re always at opposing ends of the work day, hers finishing and mine starting.
FaceTime has done wonders for us (we’ve come a long way since the New Zealand fuzzy webcam days in 2009), but there is a lot missing. My family have never been inside my house, met my coworkers or even my best friends. Most of them don’t know what Brisbane looks like, or the street I live on.
There’s nothing wrong there, but it’s a strange feeling. It’s a long distance relationship: full of sinew and love, but starved of shared experience. I can’t go to my mom’s house for dinner after a long day, or visit my sisters for the weekend. Were it not for the wonderful individuals in my Australian life, living here would be very empty.
I’ve come to realise that not everyone likes their family. I know a few expats who speak to their parents a few times a year and that’s enough to keep everyone happy.
My family is not one of those. We are a racuous bunch of misfits, far left and right, introverts and extroverts, religious and not-so-much between the lot of us. We make different choices (thus political discussion already being banned for any communal family times when I’m home), and lead different lives.
But the bones are there, the love is there. Family is family and you can’t not miss the one I’m lucky enough to have.
See you soon, North Carolina.