Monday, September 3, 2007

Think: Now.

Written by Lavender of The Birds & The Beads

I never thought Id leave the United States. I loved everything about the Northeast, especially the land itself and its seasons. Lush green mountain forest filled with the scent of pine needles crushed underfoot. The hush that falls with a heavy snow, so nearly silent that the beating of a birds wings overhead seems nearly a roar. The way a tree trunks’ bark becomes so dramatically dark when soaked with rain, as if only to better show off its wonderful canopy of leaves. Springs’ perfect glory, a miracle which my words could never hope to adequately express. Many little things like these, I quietly observed and hoarded in my mind as treasures.

Then it came to pass, that I met and fell in love with a man from Australia. In time we married and the decision was made that we would reside in Australia. As in ten-thousand miles away. A twenty-one hour plane ride. In other words: Australia - its on the other side of the planet, Mate!

I knew Id likely be homesick from time to time. But having found my one true love, I buoyantly dismissed it as something Id “get over“. Talk about your “famous last words“. I had no idea that homesickness could feel so much like having your heart broken. More than once over the years I have sobbed myself to sleep, wishing I could “go home” like a child at their first slumber party. And I am so past childhood. The depth of the loss truly surprised me.

Its not that Australia or her people were mean to me, well, except maybe the people at the Immigration Department, but that’s their job. It’s a wonderful place to live, with exciting places to see and exotic flora and fauna to marvel at. And I do marvel at them, every single day.

But it wasn’t home. For example: birds here don’t sing as sweetly. In fact, the Little Wattle Bird that “sings” outside the bedroom window (just before dawn) doesn’t sound like a bird at all, but rather like a Volkswagon Bug refusing to start. In autumn, the leaves stay on the trees, while the bark falls off. Weeds sprout in the garden all year round. Roses blooming in summer are dried on the bush before midday. When you walk across your lawn, a thorny weed stabs the sole of your foot. The grass makes crunching noises as you hop on one foot off the grass and onto the searing hot concrete footpath. When in the summer you dry your laundry on the outside line, bring it in and take a great big sniff. Mmmmmmmm, Bush Fire Fresh!

Now, I’m the kind of gal that likes to use logic to solve problems. This constant comparing of ‘home of old’ to ‘home of new’ was making me miserable. There was only one real solution. I needed to change my thinking and find acceptance within myself that Australia is now my home.
It didn’t happen overnight, and I still catch myself comparing and judging from time to time. I try to be gentle with myself. (Slow and steady, wins the race!) But by being aware of my thoughts, I have been able to allow myself to love Australia just as much as my original home land.

Yes, they are different, completely different. But how lucky have I been! I’ve hand fed wild parrots and wild kangaroos. Spent days being tumbled in the sea, roasted in the sun, and then slept on the beach beneath a blanket of stars. Every time we venture out of the suburbs, my husband has something new to show me about this land, and it is as if we are discovering it together. And all I have to do, to enjoy every moment of My New World, is think about where I am NOW.


Now enjoying her life in Australia, Lavender share her photos of the interesting animals and plants from the land ‘down under’ in her blog, The Birds & The Beads.

7 comments:

Feener said...

a good friend of mine married an aussie and reside in Cali, she live in Aussie for a few years. i was lucky enough to visit her and it is an amazing beautiful country. however i was homesick the minute i got off the plane, i guess it is the distance that really makes you miss home. enjoyed the post

Annie said...

Now this is a post to which I can completely relate. I moved to the States from Ireland, although my Husband is also Irish. Your descriptions of homesickness, and the fact that you didn't expect it to be like that mirror my own experience almost exactly. I still struggle with it to a degree.

Lavender said...

Feener Thank you very much! I think youve got a great point there re: distance...it is such a long way away that it does play tricks on your mind.
How cool youve been to the land down under! I bet you will never forget the adventure!

Annie I very much appreciate your sharing that this has happened to you as well, I was hoping it wasnt just me! LOL
It may be that it will take a lifetime to master, but it surely helps to make me less homesick in the day to day. If nothing else, we now know that we arent the only ones. Cheers!

The Farmers Wife said...

I can really relate to this post having moved to such a different country myself. the same as you some days I have to remind myself to stop comparing the two and just enjoy being here.

Lavender said...

Aha, yes! You have "been there, done that" as well...kudos to you for discovering this method of coping too!
Arent we lucky, to have had the chance to experience a second country/culture? Its not for the faint of heart though...perhaps we are born adventurers?
Cheers Mate!

melody is slurping life said...

Great write. I'm just a little home-grown gal whose never lived outside of her home state. Moving from the gorgeous mountainside back to the city was traumatic for me!

Lavender said...

Hi Melody, Moving frrom the mountains to the city (or vice versa even!)I bet you got a good dose of 'culture shock'. Im sure it was not just the view but the whole pace of life, that would take some getting used to!
Thanks for reading and commenting - have a great day.

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