Recently, I received an email from a good friend who lives on the other side of the globe and she was apologising for not writing sooner, but she did say "I do talk to you A LOT in my head, if that counts". And it does. I like being a sounding board for someone going through their day, even if I'm not actually hearing her words.
The thing is I chat to her a lot in my head too. Does that sound crazy? Perhaps it does. I hear something and I can see her rolling her eyes or chuckling with me. I also write a lot of blog posts in my head too, because as much as I have to say and no matter how much I want to sit down and write, it doesn't always happen.
Living somewhere where I don't know many people and having a husband who works hard and travels a lot, not a lot of adult conversations happen in my world. So often I resort to chatting to friends and writing blog posts in my head. I know that I'm not alone, there are plenty of mums who are knee-deep in the nappy trenches, people who have moved to a new place or people who are stuck at home due to illness or a myriad of other reasons. Sure there's social media and I definitely do keep up with the chatter there, but the outrage and opinions does my head in at times. And there are only so many times you can chuckle at Trump meme.
A few weeks ago, we headed down to Sydney for the school holidays and my birthday party. It's always great to go to Sydney and catch up with all my friends and family. Each time, before I go, I have these grand plans of wonderful catch ups and quality time spent with good people I love. What usually ends up happening the kids get sick and tired and whingy from being dragged around. I only get to see a quarter of the people I want to and quality time turns out to be rushed catch ups and nothing like I imagine. I leave feeling exhausted and frustrated that things haven't turned out like I planned. More than likely pissing off myself and few others off in the process.
Then after the push and pull of being Sydney, I end up back with days filled with busy monotony, wishing I could transplant some of those catch ups here. It's like feast and famine. It's a feeling I've shared with a lot of other expats, it seems to be a common thing. And even though I'm not an expat anymore, in some ways I feel more like an expat now than ever.
Then you meet someone and they invite you for coffee and dinner and before you know it you have friends. You wave hello to people at the school gate, down the street and in the supermarket. You slowly, step-by-step, build up a life again and become part of a strange place.
A Whatsapp messages buzzes, an email dings or message lands on your phone and you're instantly in the thoughts of someone a city or world away.
Whatever happens, I still think those voices and unwritten blog posts will remain in my head.