“there’s no place like home…”
i’ve been back on US soil for exactly 14 days now. i wish i could say that the emotional turmoil of re-entry was getting easier over time…it is not. however, the silver lining here is that my time back in the states is temporary…and i have never actually felt that way and in all honesty, it’s amazing.
after a rough landing in the desert, coming back into life living with a parent for the first time in forever, i was having a rough go. i lined up a job interview down here in phoenix, with so much trepidation in my heart, still feeling like just a body in this country with my mind and heart back in australia. knowing that a job interview meant a potential hire or more interviews, it was decided that a visit back home to washington was a sooner rather than later need. so off i flew to seattle last wednesday and i actually felt nervous. with my beauty of a backpack packed lightly, we adventured into the seattle-tacoma international airport and as i stepped outside, the light misty drizzle warmed my heart and erased any anxiousness i was holding onto…i was home. my lovely grandma picked me up at the airport and we headed down to alki which happens to be one of my favorite places on the planet and as we rounded a corner on marine view drive, i looked out to the olympic mountains and the puget sound and immediately got goosebumps and my heart was warm and happy.
i rode over the river and through the woods to my beautiful hometown on the other side of the north cascades from the emerald city with my lovely aunt and uncle…it was so nice catching up with them over a quick dinner and car ride. the methow valley greeted me with a lovely sunset and wide open spaces to see the stars. again…i was home. my heart always flutters when i go home to winthrop…my roots are deep there and i still have two best friends and a gorgeous niece that live there…i felt so lucky to be from this place. spending time where so many memories have been made over the years, taking my niece to preschool at little star montessori where her mother and i met at age 8, 20 years ago, was a special treat, seeing the people who have helped me become me…my heart started beating again like it was in australia…it came into my body a little bit more. heading back over highway 20 to seattle with my beautiful kary, ignited chats and brainstorming…plotting really. how could i make moving back home to washington work? how would i be able to work to pay off debts, save money and pay bills at seattle prices? how would i ever be able to establish any semblance of happy in arizona when i hated the processed air? it was a conversation put on pause as we entered friday evening rush hour traffic…i actually loved the familiarity of it…loved the rain pouring down i-5, remembering how seattle drivers forget how to drive in the rain…ironic? yes, we know. i was just so happy to be back home. if i can’t be in australia where i really want to be right now, at least i could come home again.
photo credit: Katie Tucker
friday night was incredible as the most random mix of my friends from many different chapters convened at the new location for kangaroo and kiwi, a fantastic australian pub…news to me, but it happened to be the aussie rules grand final so there i was, at home in my home. so many australians there and american fans as well rocking their team jerseys, even saw an adelaide power jersey (gross, for all my wazza peeps…sorry trenwith crew)…it was amazing. my worlds had collided and i couldn’t imagine a better homecoming party. several coopers pale ales and coors light power towers later, a seattle dog was in order…i have never been happier to eat a sausage. yes, i just put that into writing. cream cheese, grilled onions, jalapenos and siracha sauce? yes. just the way i like it. the next day, i had to sort through some storage bins and boxes full of mostly clothes…which i haven’t thought about for over a year, give or take a few pairs of my fabulous boots and some other fall friendly favourites. what could have been a stressful, throwing things in the bin situation, was eased by a dear best friend not only just keeping me company, but helping the process and offering cold call outs and insights on what to let go of and what was worth keeping for all seasons. thank you kary…it was not an easy job, but our hangover american style brekky did help with motivation.
photo credit: everyone at my welcome home party
i got to spend time catching up with my incredible auntie who i have missed dearly in my travels, got to sleep in my old bed that now serves as her guest bed and slept like a baby for two nights. sunday was spent kicking off early to meet a darling friend for coffee and a catch up, seeing my nanny family…what a highlight. after not seeing them for over a year, they left last july for their around the world trip…two awesomely adventurous parents and 4 spontaneous kids jet setting and gaining worldly experiences…my vivibear, who was only 2 when i first started nannying for them (now 7!) opened the door and immediately jumped into my arms and got me sobbing like a baby. hugs all around kept the tears flowing when i held onto to my maggie pants (4 when i started, now 9!), my molly babe (8 when i started now a gorgeous 13 year old!) and my david boy (9 when i started and turning 15 this month-just went to his first homecoming dance!). more tears as i hugged the parents who employed me, welcomed me into their busy family, shared memories with me and have remained good friends and family members, only solidified how much this family truly means to me. sharing travel stories was amazing and everything i had dreamed our reunion would be, reminiscing over old photo books and framed pictures, momentos and old times brought more tears to my eyes. i was home and my babies weren’t babies anymore…they were growing up into gorgeous young ladies and a strong man…so mature and culturally immersed…i feel so proud to be in their lives.
photo credit: Gretchen Jones
as these experiences continued, i of course felt even more of a pull on my heart…the pieces that are slowly coming back into my body and just knew that seattle was where i needed to return. so i flew back to the desert to break the news to my dad that my heart needs to be back home in the pacific northwest, sort out my resume, look up job ads and share house options with rooms for cheap rent, network in with my wicked web of professional contacts and friends and enjoy some r&r time by the pool to keep this australia tan on my skin before i return to my beloved rainy emerald city.
they say you can’t go home again…but what i know is this…you can go home again, you’re just never the same person you were when you left. sometimes leaving and exploring new adventures just opens your heart more…and makes home an even better place to return to.