Tuesday, February 14, 2006

4 Weeks Today

Happy Valentine's Day one and all!

Ian and I spent the morning pottering around the house then headed off to Greensborough Shopping Plaza for a bit of lunch and a movie. We saw Walk The Line, the Johnny Cash biopic starring the fabulous Joaquin Phoenix and the surprisingly vocal, Reese Witherspoon. It was a great film with one of the most romantic marriage proposals I have ever seen. Go see it!

I have not blogged for a while now and it’s not really due to anything other than wanting to be anywhere other than sitting at a keyboard. Time has flown however and things have been happening so I'll try and do an Ian and list things out;

Job Hunt

I have an interview tomorrow at an ad agency I will name if I get the job! My brother-in-law works there and felt that due to my experience and sheer force of personality (my emphasis not his ;O)) that I would make a great account manager. Well, after reading my CV the general manager felt I was too senior for the position so wants to interview me for a job as a SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER!

So at 11pm the night before the big interview when I should be in bed I am up blogging and watching the cricket highlights. Which leads me nicely to...?

Cricket

It has been so much fun being back in Oz and supporting Australia in the cricket. I am so looking forward to the Ashes later this year which will bring a few of you over to Melbourne for the Boxing Day Test. We hope to be in our own place by then with space aplenty so get your flights booked folks and let us know how many tickets you need cause at this rate, we will be the only one's able to get you them!

Oh, and keep an eye out for Ricky Ponting's absolutely MAGIC catch taken today in the final against Sri Lanka. We won that too by the way...

Summer

I love summer. I love the bright sunlight and big blue skies that typify summer in Australia for me. I love everything about summer, the sounds - the crickets and cicadas in the early evening, the magpies churdling and cooing whenever they feel like it. The smells - suntan lotion, bbq's, jasmine, gum trees and the odd moment when a bushfire is burning somewhere and the smoke is hanging around...

There is just such a great sense of space that I only ever feel when I am here.

I just love knowing this is going to last for a while and not just stop being warm one week and then it be time to drag out the winter coat the next. Apparently last year it was still warm in April - bring it on I say!

Home

As Ian mentioned this is my home. Home. An interesting word and a rather complex concept. England was my home for 6 years and it became more so as the years went by. But as I always knew my life in England was finite I did not have to relinquish too much of my life in Australia for I knew I would return to it eventually.

Now it has not been a simple matter of picking up where I left off. For starters I am married and my brother and sister are parents! Melbourne has changed greatly since I last lived here and Australia has endured a conservative government for the entire time I have been away. Enough said.

Then there are friends who have moved on or left the state which obviously alters dynamics in those relationships. Having said that I have simply picked up the phone and seamlessly continued with where we left off with the special few. That has been such a blessing.

The most wonderful part of returning to Melbourne however has been regaining that sense of belonging that I only recently realised had gone. I come from a very large family. I have 40 cousins on my mother's side and as many again on my father's. This makes for a rather large safety net of people and places to stay and shoulders to cry on and hugs on tap and the odd cash loan and the occasional meal ... you understand what I mean? So to leave all that behind was rather scary but I survived and Ian and I built a life of our own.

What I did not realise though was that I lived with an underlying sense of loss during my time away. Obviously I was not alone - I had Ian, I had wonderful friends and colleagues and my life was full. However it did not replace the fact that my people were so far away.

You see not only am I Australian but I am Maltese first and always was. When I got to England people heard me speak and declared me an Aussie. I know that sounds odd but growing up in a very multicultural city, meeting people my own age always entailed that conversation around what nationality you were. We all knew we were Aussies but most of us were first generation so our roots were not that set and I guess we were all figuring out who we were and how we fit in. So my answer to the inevitable so what nationality are you? was always I am Maltese but I was born here.

With all that in mind I lived in England, in South Manchester among the English. It was rare that I heard anyone speaking Maltese or Greek or Croatian - the languages of my youth and the ones I can swear most profusely in.

I digress. This essay was about home and belonging so I'll get to the point.

Our friends Anna & Kev lent us the DVD series of an Australian program called LOvE my WaY which Ian and I watched compulsively over about 4 days. It is some of the best telly I have ever seen but aside from that it moved me deeply. In case any of you ever catch it, I won't spoil it for you with details however, towards the end of season one there is a death. As I watched each member of the family unit, shambolic as the relationships were, for this family were not all bound by blood, I found myself sobbing.

Ian asked me what I was crying about as he realised is was not just a reaction to what was happening on the screen. Perceptive husband. The thing is he was right, I was not crying because a character had died. It was slowly dawning on me that as I watched each person drift in and out of their own private grief, they remained strongly bound to the unit they called their family. No matter how badly they behaved or how far they flung themselves from each other, they were still part of that unit and therefore, always connected to it.

And there it was. I was suddenly reminded again how badly I wanted to feel that I belonged. Then I realised something. I already did. What I had been missing and searching for was here. My family and my people. I knew then that no matter how crap life got, I belonged somewhere and to something and that made it all okay. I cried because I had missed that so much and I was so happy to be back.

As hard as the wrench from England has been for Ian, my hope is that he will one day he too feels that he belongs here. Not just to this place, the land and its culture, but to the people here. My people.

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