Tuesday, 10 May 2016

What's it like being home?



I have had this question asked so many times over the past few weeks. "What's it like being home?" It's a difficult one to answer because, well, am I actually home? Yes, I'm Australian and I'm in Australia, but I'm living in a suburb I've never lived in, in a city I've never lived in, in a state I've never lived in. If we hadn't moved to Dubai, then this would've been a big move away from home, not a return.

I'm in a place where people understand what I'm saying and (most of the time) I understand them and that is actually comforting. Not trying to think up alternative words for 'esky', 'singlet', 'thongs (meaning shoes)' or not saying something that might offend. There was the one time recently while buying meat with Darbs when the butcher said: "Would the little guy like a cheerio?" I stared blankly for a second, wondering if he was going to call out hello to Darbs or offer him a single piece of breakfast cereal. Before my silent gap was too long, I said to Darbs: "Would you like a cheerio?" Darbs looked at me, looked at the butcher and shrugged his shoulders. In an instant a small frankfurter was put in his hands.
Aha, I had suddenly remembered Skip saying something about getting footy franks given to him by the butcher when he was a kid.

For the kids coming "home" to "Brisband" has been interesting. They're not too sure about the plethora of bugs, ants, spiders, moths, geckos, bush turkeys and possums that inhabit our garden. They do love bubblers though. It was strange explaining that if they were thirsty at school they could take a drink from the bubbler, now we have to make a five minute stop at every bubbler we see so my little camels can keep themselves hydrated. There have been more than a few: "Why can't we just go home?" and having to explain that this is home and Dubai may never be home again.

They have sold Dubai to their new friends as a place of wonder where you can buy glittery bags at the hypermarket but you have to buy water in bottles as there are no bubblers. It's a place of warm "puffy" bread and hommous. Where the canteen sold hot Indian and Arabic dishes and pancakes for breakfast. Where you had months off for holidays and a time of year that you couldn't eat in public. Where you had to get up before the sun to go to school, I often hear them say to each other "If we were in Dubai we'd be at school now, not just eating our breakfast."

For us adults, Brisbane is a wonderful place to live. Cosmopolitan, yet relaxed. In one word, simple. Life is simple.

So for the kids, it's step-by-step to settling into home. Making a new friend, one step. Playing AusKick, another step. Being invited to a party, one more step. After a while Dubai will be a memory and this life will take over as "home". Though I'm sure the longing for warm puffy bread will never end.

When we landed in Sydney I felt like was asking everyone, "How's life? What have you been up to?" Everyone updated me with the comings and goings of their family and work and life. One friend instantly replied: "I've just been really getting into Bieber." This was my all-time favourite answer. So next time someone asks how I'm settling in I might just steal this answer.

3 comments:

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