The kids and I returned to Sydney last year after three (unreal) years in Asia. It was a super tough decision …. complicated by the fact that it would be sans my husband who is now ‘commuting’ between Singapore and Sydney!
The decision really boiled down to where we wanted the kids to call home. They had embraced the ‘third culture kids’ thing, but to stay was to almost guarantee that they’d become ‘global’ citizens and may never feel a strong pull to return to what we call 'home'.
Our return could not be described as seamless. Two unhappy kids, no husband, no extended family … you get the picture. The best metaphor to describe my life was as like a game of tennis. Unfortunately I was not standing on the base line returning well timed, perfectly placed forehands .... no siree..... I was standing right up on the net with a ball machine firing multiple balls straight at me. Many balls were missed altogether; some were slammed out of the park and the odd few actually landed on the court. Fortunately, I think that either my reflexes and aim have started to improve somewhat, or the ball machine has switched to a slower speed, as a few more balls seem to be landing on the court these days, the odd few even land in the right square (still my fair share of air swings).
The reality of no 'live-in help' also hit home hard ..... Newsflash: "plates don't walk to the dishwasher by themselves!" Predictably the sympathy factor amongst my Aussie friends for my absence of full time help was pretty low, so I bit my tongue and kept on ironing. I have taken to naming my major electrical appliances, given we spend so much time together. The washing machine is now known as "Mary" ..... because it’s a miracle if everything comes out the same colour!
Gone too are the days of exotic Asian holidays and offshore weekend escapes … not a pina collada or hammock to be found over Easter in Canberra! Reality hit home hard when the kids realised that not all school camps require a passport. On a positive note however, I now don’t need to contend with monkeys and cobras in the garden (for real) …. just big hairy spiders and cockroaches the size of small plates.
So, am I happy to be home? Most of the time. Has the transition been seamless? Absolutely not. Would I do it all over again? In a heartbeat.