Thursday, 6 February 2014

Here for Life...I think

Today's post is a query: would you move to another country after this?  Sounds exhausting.  I've already lived in 5 countries, and it's hard enough to pack up and head out with a couple of suitcases and a few extra boxes of stuff.  I can't even imagine moving house, much less to another country.  Sure, it would be nice to experience a new place for more than a few weeks at a time, and if I had a chance to live and work somewhere for a few months, I might leave my husband to his own devices for a short while, but another proper move just wouldn't happen, unless there were very extraordinary circumstances.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Meanwhile, at the airport...

I used to put pictures of my travels up on the blog.  Now, they end up on Facebook instead.  Instead of a handful, there are hundreds, and it's where I go to look first for my holiday pics.  This past weekend, I headed to Canberra for a couple of days.  When I first asked people for recommendations of things to do there, I was told to 1) watch the traffic lights change 2) check out Costco and 3) see if the Rex Hotel is still around and whether they do break in those little flower pots still (Bill Bryson reference and on a sidenote, if you haven't read his book about Oz and live here, it's a must read). I'm glad I've paid attention over the years to the one or two people I know who went to Canberra and loved it.  It's definitely a museum nerd and wino's paradise.  There's even some spectacular food and beer, so I'm not sure what there is not to like.  Anyway, this is how we felt about Canberra.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

In Hindsight...

Today's post is meant to be a reflection; looking back at my 5th post ever on this blog, over 8 years ago, I can't believe how quickly the time has flown.  I can vividly remember all of the experiences I describe in that post, and how exciting all of the mundane elements of life were, my first week living in the UK.  The individual bits and pieces aren't as important as the overall experience, and the small things were key.  This is probably why my writing has slowed down.  All of the little new experiences have just morphed into the everyday. The expat experience isn't as exciting to write about anymore, as it's just normal life these days.

Monday, 3 February 2014

An object that makes me feel at home

Mentally walking through all of the rooms of my house, and at the same time reminding myself that the word home doesn't necessarily mean the place of my origin, I settle on my bookshelf.  It's one item that contains many.  I spent years after moving abroad looking through second hand adverts online for a bookshelf with character; my antique barrister bookcase back in Chicago, which may or may not eventually make a trip to Australia, still contains many of my most beloved books.  I bring a few back with me every time I visit the US, and am amassing a collection on this end as well in the meantime.  They needed a home, preferably one with glass doors, and nothing too new.  It took me 4 years to find a bookcase I liked, and when I did, it took us two trips to collect it from an hour away (it didn't fit in the truck the first time around) and a lot of manpower to get it into the house. It's now a solid, sturdy home for many of my treasures, which include more than just my books.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

"Not all those who wander are lost." - J.R.R. Tolkien

The theme for today reminds me of a quote I keep on my blog home page, by James Baldwin: "I met a lot of people on holiday. I even encountered myself."  In some ways, I feel like I've grown into my adult self since moving to Australia; becoming a wife, homeowner and permanently settling in my forever home has not only been confronting, but stabilising.  I always knew I wanted to live somewhere other than Chicago, even if just for a trial period.  As much as I wanted to experience living in another country, I also wanted to escape the bitter cold of the Midwest winters, which keep you inside for months at a time.  Add that to my love of travel, and it was a given that I'd end up somewhere else.  In the beginning, it's all an adventure.  Then one day, years down the road, you look up and realise...this is it.  The adventure is over, and it's just plain old life.  Same shite, different country, but you're all grown up.  The past 10 years have blown by, your greys are getting well and plenty, and people back 'home' say you talk different now.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

The View from Where I Write

This month I'll be attempting to keep up with the Expat Blog Challenge.  28 days in a row seems a bit ambitious, given my lack of writing over the past few years, but a kick in the pants never hurts.  The theme for each day will be in the subject line of the post, and today's topic is the view from where I write.

Whether I write in my cosy office at the back of the house, or sitting on the sofa in our front room, when I look up, I see eucalypt (gum) trees soaring overhead.  They tower over the neighbourhood homes, constantly dropping nuts, leaves, and sometimes even branches as thick as a body builder's leg and longer than a pick-up truck.  The interesting thing about gumtrees is that no matter how big they get, whether they threaten to fall on your house or person, you cannot cut them down.  They're protected, and once they get to a certain size, as beautiful as they are to look at, they can become a real pan in the arse.  I could spend hours every week cleaning up after these monsters, clean the gutters three times a year, and have enough kindling to last all winter.  It's a love hate relationship, similar to expat life.  Something to enjoy the beauty of, you never quite get over the uniqueness, but the labour of it all can be exhausting at times.