EXPAT life

The Return Home

posted by jodiemellor July 1, 2017 0 comments

Sunday night home alone. Baby is in bed after a very trying day (cold, teeth, leap and me generally ignoring him at brunch… 🙂 and a few Sailor Jerry’s deep….no wonder I’m in the mood for writing.

We made the decision earlier this week to move home at the end of June. Pete’s contract is up and he is not in the right place to re-sign. I am absolutely elated! I cannot wait to get home and set up our home again! I have never set up a room for Lachie as our future has never been set in stone. There are so many things I am looking forward to. Home, fresh produce, affordable/drinkable wine (and those who know me know it takes a lot for me to turn down wine), our dog, family and friends, hockey, clean air, driving, trashy T.V. (that’s in English!)… The list goes on and on. This time in 5 weeks we will be back in Australia! J J

So. Tell me. Why is there now part of me that isn’t ready??

Now that we have decided, yes, time to go home, there is part of me that screams NO, Not Yet! There are many great things about our expat life that I am not ready to let go yet. We have not travelled to all the places we said we would before going home, I currently don’t wash, iron or clean, and I have a wonderful group of friends that are in the same boat as me, an expat Mum looking for a chat.

Of all the things I love about being home, there are also many things that discourage me about going back. Most of all, the remnants of our life before we left. It was so great…and we can never go back. Every time I am in Perth I become profoundly sad that I will never have that life back. In particular my job. I genuinely loved my job. There are many reasons I will never go back to it but it never seems to get easier. I guess as my babies grow I will become more involved with their activities that I will forget what my life before them was like. I am so grateful that I don’t have to work and I get to spend my time bringing up my child/ren, but I feel like there is something more I should be doing.

I cannot wait to spend so much more time with my friends than I ever did before. Distance makes the heart grow fonder. Such a true statement. In my last few years in Perth, I became a homebody, preferring a nice red on the couch watching MTV Classics on a Friday night. Don’t get me wrong – this would still be my ultimate Friday night (after watching the Cowboys win) but I would have my friends over to enjoy it with me. There is a certain loneliness that comes with moving to another country. You can chat on the phone, via text or throw yourself into social media, but it is never the same. I have however, discovered who my true friends are after this stint away. There are people who have always taken the time out to write a message or dial my number, or tag me in a meme on facebook, just to let me know they are thinking of me. Thank you. You really have no idea the effect you have had on me.

The year before we moved (or had any idea we would move) I had decided I was done playing division 1 hockey in Perth. I was no longer interested in training in the cold and wet at midnight (ok, anytime from 7-9pm), twice a week. I had lost heart. I loved playing but I was burnt out. However, after being forced to rest for a year (being out of the country and pregnant!) I now have that desire back. I spent a few weeks in Perth recently and with the prospect of us moving back post July, I wanted to have some games under my belt so I could finish out the year if we did go home. I started in 3’s as I really didn’t want anyone to lose their spot just so I could play. It’s not fair that others train hard every week, for me to just jump in. In all fairness, I didn’t think I was up to anything higher this year. For the last 8 years my division 1 team has struggled for depth and I would have easily walked back into the team. This year however, we have an awesome team led by a phenomenal coach and there just wasn’t a place for a has-been mumma. I loved playing with the 3’s ladies. I can definitely see myself playing in this team long term. One training a week and a lovely bunch of girls. Only because of ease did I find myself at 1’s/2’s training. Pete wasn’t in town and either were his parents so I found myself without a babysitter. One of my good friends that normally plays 1’s was injured though and offered to watch Lachie while I trained. Perfect. By sheer default, the next few games saw the top team short of regular players. After a week of training, I got the call-up. It was the Friday night blockbuster. To say I was nervous would be a gross understatement. I was starting on the sideline thank goodness. I had a few minutes to get myself in the game. As soon as I stepped on that field though, I knew I was where I wanted to be. I felt fearless and for the first time in long time, I felt like I belonged. I scored 2 out of 3 goals and we secured the win 3-1. I was on top of the world. I cannot wait to go back to full-time training and find my place in one of the teams to finish out the season…hopefully with a finals berth.

This time away has really shown me what true friendships are and given me the time to truly appreciate them. While there are some friendships that I believed would have lasted a lifetime and some that I wish still would have, there are some that have flourished. There will always be those that don’t need maintenance. The ones that would go to the ends of the Earth for me after no contact for months. The ones that know all my faults and stuff ups and still call me their friend. The ones that have never met my baby boy but still ask for updates and photos and when they tell me they can’t wait to meet him, they are genuine. To these friends, thank you. From the bottom of my heart. Please don’t change. I love our relationship and though I wish we could spend more time together, I know our love is unconditional.

The friendships that are convenient. These aren’t so bad and I think are a necessity. Whether it be another childs’ mum at the park, or the lady at the local dress store that invites you in for a wine after the doors close, there is always a reason for this relationship. It may be that you need someone to understand that you just aren’t up to the task of putting your baby down in their cot to sleep as its easier to go for a walk and for them to fall asleep in the pram – for the 4th time that day, or someone to have a mindless conversation with about the names their nieces and nephews call them by, over a wine, or 4, just so you don’t have to go home to an empty house.

The friendships that are by default. These are some of my favourite. Friends of my husband, their partners, mothers group, relatives that are more like friends. These ones are always fun because there is generally a common ground to converse about. More often than not, the mischief my husband gets up to. It’s generally an entertaining story the day after…or week after, but never at the time. Luckily for us, a lot of our ‘default’ friends have had babies recently, so we are all in the same boat. Late lunch/early dinner and home by 6pm! In this category are also my expat friends. We are all in the same boat and without friends, we would all be very lonely here. The difference with my group of friends is, we actually really do enjoy each other’s company. I will really miss them when we go. I have no doubt there will be an annual catch up somewhere in the world every year.

The allrounder. My best friends. The ones that fit into all categories. The ones that just.get.it. The ones that call, or don’t ;). The ones that answer the phone to me with an insult. The ones that send me no holes barred (pardon the pun ;)) sms’s of their night before. The ones that tell me to pull my head in when I need it. The ones that have a permanent slot blocked out in their calendar to catch up with me (generally Friday from 3.30pm). The ones that tell me their darkest secrets and trust me wholly to keep it just that, their secret. And the ones I tell mine to. These friends are found in all sorts of places. Some you are forced to hang out with from a very young age and you can never shake each other. Others you gravitate to during your teens and let’s face it, anyone that is willing to hang around after that awkward stage should be given a medal. There are those that you do dumb shit with as a young adult. Those that you cross paths with, only for those paths to then run parallel. Those family members that you love like your own blood or actually are your own blood and you choose them to be your friend. And those that you genuinely didn’t see coming. A random night on the town that turned into you using ridiculous words like ’Bae’.

The older I get, the fewer people I have that fit into each category. But those that are still there are the backbone of life.


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