Each year we’ve gone to Australia for Christmas, when we tell people how long we’ll be in town, it always seems like it’s such a long time. Three weeks! Wow! Especially when I tell my American friends and colleagues, they always make it seem as though I’ll be away forever. But alas, “forever” is quite fleeting when you’re working East Coast US hours part of that time, taking some time officially off to travel to places outside of Melbourne, and having fun exploring new areas and foods and also catching up with people you care about. Each year, we get excited to come, and each time this period is about to end, we talk about how quickly it all flew by, and we’re already packing up to leave to go back home. It’s almost like you want to freeze time just to savor the moment just a little more. But then, little things that are fine in the short term start becoming a little annoying: not having your own, totally private space; cooking in someone else’s kitchen where you don’t know where everything is (and some things may not even work…), feeling a bit stranded without a car because the house you’re staying in is in the true suburbs, and you need a car to get literally everywhere, plus listening to the bickering between Chris and his mother, which was cute during week 1, but by week 3, is so tiresome that you are happy this banter is coming to an end.
It’s a pleasure and a privilege to have this home away from home, in another country, continent, time zone, and hemisphere. But I wonder about a time in the future, hopefully far far away, when Chris’s parents will either decide to downgrade their home, or what is inevitable, when they will eventually pass on: what will that experience of coming “back” to Australia be like? What’s it like when the place you (or in this case, your spouse) calls home, no longer has a “home” to return to, or people to welcome you with the same open arms? I’m sure it will not feel the same, nor will it be as nice. But I suppose that is more reason for us to enjoy the current times and what we have now, for all the bickering and everything else that may be involved.