She was born here. While she is technically also an American, to her, Australia is home.
It may seem strange that I am mentioning that fact, but I had not really given that much thought until this past week. You see, my ex-pat friend and her family have gone “home.” By home, I do not mean their house just a few minutes drive from ours. They flew back to California. For good. Like us, their family consists of an American mom and Aussie dad and their Australian born son. We met them on one of our very first nights after arriving in Melbourne back in 2008 and immediately clicked as friends.
They were in the same boat as we were. That American ex-pat existence where we could get together and celebrate Thanksgiving even if it was hot outside. There was a comfort in knowing that they were also thousands of miles from her family. It must be worth it then, right? Chasing the Australian dream? Even though as all of the kids grew we did not see them as often there was comfort just knowing that you could have coffee anytime. Hop in the car and hear that familiar accent sharing a sense of home.
What happens when those ex-pats sell pretty much all that they own and call it quits on Australia? I mean, although their reasons are not ours…neither for originally moving nor now for leaving, it stirs up the dust of doubt.
Upon hearing my American accent, I normally get asked two questions. First is “How long have you been here?” and that is followed by “Are you here for good?”
This month I am celebrating four years of calling Australia home.
And as far as those questions I get asked, the second answer is: “That is the current plan.”
I am starting the process to become an Australian citizen soon and that gives us freedom as a family to move quite easily. When we arrived, I needed to tell myself that this move was it. Despite the looming birth of our twins at the time, I just could not fathom more change. It was such a massive undertaking that required hard and fast commitment to see us through. Now we are settled and I love our home and life here, but I know that things can change. I accept change and we still see this as our “forever home.” However, if we need to go…if that is what is best for our family, then go we will. What I require now is more fluid than what got me through 2008.
Yesterday I checked Facebook and saw an update from our friends that they had arrived in California and that it was so great to be home. I took a deep shaky breath and felt happy for them.
March has become the time of year for memories of home and moving and contemplating the never fully healing part of an ex-pat’s heart.