Living on the other side of the world from family and friends is something that doesn’t work for everyone. Sometimes, a person’s dream of living in another country can’t persist beyond that initial homesickness. It’s never easy, and like everyone else, I’ve experienced the highs and the lows of living far away from home.
Over the years, I’ve returned to my hometown of Melbourne for birthdays, weddings and funerals. Last week, an unexpected phone call from a family member gave me a new reason to return to Australia — heart surgery. Two days later, I was boarding a flight home, and I’m now typing this from the suburban sprawl of Melbourne. Within three days of my arrival, a loved one will be having a quadruple heart bypass, and I simply couldn’t imagine waiting for a phone call at 4am in France to hear that the operation was a success. So why have I included a photo of my cat, Squeak, with this blog entry? I’ll get to that in a minute.
The flight time to Melbourne was 23 hours, but the drives to and from the airports, the check-ins, the waits between the three legs of the journey and the customs clearance extended my journey to 34 hours. Had the operation been scheduled any sooner, I might not have made it home in time before the journey to the hospital. It’s times like these that home seems like a very long way away. Had I not jumped on that plane, it would have felt even further away.
Squeak the cat is a reminder that although I’ve reached my Australian home and family, my French home and family feel just as far away right now. I have an equally long and laborious journey ahead of me to see their faces, and any trip home to Australia really only feels like half the journey.