Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Old Country

I guess I can term it the "old country" now. I have been in the States now for 10 years, so Australia is no longer my residence, so to speak. But a part of my heart will always "reside" in Australia. I still have all my family there, so the ties are not broken, or weakened. But I know it is right to give respect to where I live, where I am raising my kids, and the birth place of my husband. So Texas is now my home, and I'm proud of it.

Me as a little cowgirl...destiny!

It is not hard, mind you. Actually, Texas reminds us both a lot of Queensland (where I grew up). The country, the climate (although Queensland wasn't quite as cold), the people (definitely!), the attitude (100%). My kids are American kids - born and (being) raised here. They speak with a (little different) Texan accent - some words are a little mixed - totally my fault :) They love their home, and they know their home is here. They are also aware that my family lives all the way over the sea in Australia, and often talk about wanting to get on a plane again for a visit. But there is never any confusion over where their home is, where they are from. And we like it that way - it instills a sense of value, a sense of place, a solid foundation, a security any child needs.

The thing is that I really don't feel disconnected at all. I'm always in close contact (weekely via Skype - LOVE Skype) with my family. They are fantastic. My parents have always respected our choices, and I know they love visiting us over here. And we don't really carry around our "Australian-ess" on our sleeves. I know you may hear it in my accent, but that's about it. My Australian family is the same way - that's what they are (Australian) but they don't limit themselves to it. Does that make sense? We are just people.

My family.

But there is that something special about Australia. It is always so weird when you go back after a long time away. You fly in over all the red roofs of Sydney. You get that first glimpse of the gum trees, the color of the earth, the way the light reflects differently. Then all that emotion of a heart that has been missing its home hits you. And all of a sudden you are HOME!

At the snow with my Dad.

I have been thinking lately about the little things I have forgotten. Time away slowly erodes those little quirks or habits. Fairy bread, lamingtons, roasted chicken for Sunday dinners, rhubard. Grandma's cooking, Nanny's pavlova, Poppy's green Holden Kingswood. Swimming in the sea at Christmas time, and camping on Australia Day weekend, celebrating the Queen's birthday. Oh, the good times we have had! Swimming in the dams, the creeks, the freezing cold rivers. Camping in the pouring rain, with the tent crashing down around you, and you blissfully unaware. Watching for spiders and snakes  and sharks and jellyfish (good times! what?). Waking in the morning hoping for a high tide so swimming in the enclosure (wire fenced in area to protect you from sharks - supposedly) was way more fun. The thongs, the bevans, Ugg boots (before they were cool and NO ONE wore them out of the house, except bevans). The sounds of the birds (especially the kookaburras), the smells, the beauty of the bush. The red earth, the black soil, the white sands.

Feeding the birds.
Cuddling a Koala.

Husband and friends being sharkbait!

Wedding transport!

Victoria - where we were married.
The beloved beach of my youth.

Pure bliss.

Happy Australia Day, mate!

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