We have been back in Australia for four weeks, delighting in long days with family and friends, rediscovering our favourite haunts and unpacking treasures from the shed. In our pursuit of voluntary simplicity, a perfect day is the two of us pottering about the house and garden, skipping from one project to another, stopping for coffee, chai or a smoothie, and checking in with how each other's play time is progressing. When we feel the sea breeze swing and the sun is lower, we ride to the beach for a jog and swim, perhaps taking a book or picnic to have under the trees.
The re-entry process has been less painful for me this year, and I find daily delight in being at home. A sense of the arrival euphoria still remains. There are always initial shocks that amuse or amaze us (and sometime disgust us) - all day electricity, the water pressure from the hose, the width of the main roads and the orderly traffic, excessive choice at the supermarket (do we really need all these brands of toilet paper?), an endless supply of rolled oats, olives and dates (I am so used to rationing these that I still find myself counting out the olives for a salad), and the high cost of living in a booming state.
Over Christmas I read Nikki Gemmell's emotive book "Why you are Australian" and can relate to so many of her childhood memories and observations as an expat. The "hurting light", the "tall blue sky" and the smell of home. By the end of eight months in Indonesia, my heart yearns for the greyed green of gum trees, the dry easterly off the desert, the sound of magpies and cicadas and kookaburras. Both countries feel like home for different reasons, but there is a deep knowing and connection to WA that will always bring me back.