I have been talking to friends back in Perth, Western Australia, where I was born and bred. Christmas and New Year greetings from afar. We went for a one year adventure in Shanghai...nearly five years ago. We now find ourselves in England with no idea of where we will be in the next five years. This is the first year since we left that we have not gone home to Perth for a post Christmas/New Year catch up. I am homesick now...for the first time since I left.
|Swan River at Bicton Baths...have been going here for my whole life!|
My little family always enjoyed our Shanghai Christmas together, before heading home to Perth, suitcases bulging with gifts. We would arrive and race out the airport doors, ready to breathe in the scent of eucalyptus trees...ignoring the diesel fumes coming from airport shuttle buses. We would revel in the heat of a Perth summer, Shanghai winters are bone chillingly cold. The big blue skies were overwhelming after the skyscrapers had surrounded us for so long.
|Many happy memories... I married my wonderful husband on this spot on my Mum's birthday.|
Best of all was catching up with friends. I had incredible friends in Shanghai, friends, like me, now dotted around the world, some who have drifted away with the moves of expat life. Some that will be lifelong friends, as an expat in foreign lands, you form strong friendships far quicker than at home, you become each others family, support network. Lifelong connections made.
|Point Walter, many memories made here too!|
I am starting to make new friends in England, but there is nothing like those friends that have known you for many years. They were there for all the life events that made me who I am today, good and bad. I have friends from the very start of school...it is thirty years since I left school this year...thirty years!!!
|The Aussie bush is like no other. All the more special when it is on the land of a much loved friend welcoming us to her little piece of heaven with open arms.|
Friends who joined my life at various stages. Engagement parties, weddings and babies can be reminisced over...babies who are now celebrating 21st birthdays and some are planning weddings! Friends I travelled with, worked with, did crazy things with. Friends that got me though my divorce and the loss of my parents. Friends that bought pizza and wine over and watched the baby and the toddler so that I could have a shower in peace, when I was a newly divorced single mother.
|The Indian Ocean, I smell that salty air and immediately feel at home.|
Friends I met through my beautiful babies, day care, Mum's group and school, fun watching all the kids grow and develop. Friends that played cupid and reunited me with my long lost love who is now my wonderful husband. Friends that were so happy and supportive when I grabbed life and jumped...to China with my two little girls and my new husband.
|The sun setting over the Swan river cleanses my soul.|
|Strong, solid Ghost Gum, my friends make me strong, able to withstand the winds of life.|
|Fishing Boat Harbour...I went every Sunday with my Dad to 'check the boat'...though looking back, it was a way to give Mum some kid free time!|
|Sleepy Aussie Icon|
|Willy Wag Tail, the cutest bird ever and my Mum's favourite. Whenever I see one I think of Mum.|
Perth will always be home...I will be back one day. I miss the fresh air, the beach, the lifestyle, the familiarity but most of all I miss my friends, the family I chose for myself.