I am now back in Scotland, after a wonderful extended stay in Australia, a detour to Chile and a fleeting reunion with friends in Florida.
The time in Australia went by too fast. We had two birthdays to celebrate, a houseguest from America and a visitor from interstate, plus Christmas and all the busyness involved it that. It was fun, but I felt deprived of time. There wasn’t enough time to catch up with my friends and family. And there is never enough time to spend with my children. Still, we did our best with the time we had.
Christmas was a wonderful, drawn-out affair, beginning early – on December 15. Unfortunately, my boys were visiting on different dates from different states, and we only had one night where the whole family was together. I cooked a special Christmas dinner that night. It was pure pleasure to see my kids sitting around the table, chatting, laughing and enjoying each others company. I’d like more meals like that in the future.
On Christmas day, we enjoyed our Australian Christmas morning drinks – a tradition that goes back thirty or more years, to when our children were small. The home we lived in for twenty-eight years was blessed with wonderful neighbours. Those neighbours were our friends, and their children were my children’s friends. As our children were always keen to show each other their Christmas goodies, my friends and I decided to formalise the event, and have a bit of fun ourselves. Christmas morning drinks became the highlight of my Australian Christmases, and something I will always remember fondly. Sadly, Monica and Judy, the mothers in those families, have died since I left Australia, so it is a real treat for me that when we have an Australian Christmas, Judy’s son and his wife continue the tradition. It is made all the more special by their small children. Beautiful evidence of the cycle of life.
Next, we returned to our house-sit to have Christmas dinner with our American visitor. He had to leave us that afternoon to fly to Sydney.
As my youngest daughter was working at that time, we had the ‘real’ family Christmas dinner at dinner time.
Our final Christmas gathering was on December 30th – yes, we made Christmas last for over two weeks! This time, it was the extended family gathering, with my siblings and their families. The group was smaller than usual because my eldest brother and his wife were in the UK, a niece and her family now live in Coffs Harbour, and one of my sons was working in Esperance,, but it was still wonderful to see everyone.
I was reluctant to leave Australia. However, once Tony dragged me onto the plane and we were on our way to Santiago, I realised that this was the last time I would be leaving Australia to go home. That was a good feeling.
Santiago, Chile was also busy. We were there for an annual conference Tony has been involved with for many years, which inevitably meant we spent a lot of time catching up with people from all over the world, as well as fitting in some sightseeing.
I adjusted to the time change only a day or so before we left for the next leg of our journey – a fleeting visit to our friends in Florida. Once again cramming as much in as possible into a small space of time.
Despite the six weeks of sun, it was good to finally get home to cold Scotland and stop rushing around.
I have unfinished business here; a house to pack up and friends to say goodbye to. I’m sure these next six months will fly by.
It will be nice to once again live in Australia, and visit other places.
Are you homesick for anywhere?
Dorothea McKellar understands. Here’s the fifth verse of her poem, My Country.
Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold –
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.