Coming home after such a long time away is a bit of a surreal experience. The relationships with old friends and my family have been crammed into two week periods once every year two years for the last 11 years. It is now strange that when I see someone I can take my time. I don't need to feel rushed to hurry and catch up because I won't see them again for an extended period. We can meet for a coffee tomorrow, next week or heck, even next month!
It is also a bit anti-climatic, this moving back home. Traveling for six months and then saying goodbye to Australia, my friends and family there and packing up my life for the past five years was so harried, exciting and stressful (not to mention hoping that my husband, who got out of hospital a mere week before I left, will cope without me around). Then suddenly, hmm, it's all over. I'm here and not going anywhere for a while. I see people and I don't have anything exciting to report. I don't live in Australia, soon I'm going to be looking for a job and a house and settling into that routine. I'm not living out of my backpack and my next big trip isn't planned until sometime next year. Like I said, it all feels like a bit of a comedown.
To balance out the comedown, there are little pleasures, not as story-worthy as world travels, but fulfilling nonetheless: I watched my cousin who I've known since the day he was born dance with his beautiful new wife, I got to share stories with my neighbor who's known me since I was born, I've got to know my oldest niece as a real person and I am gaining a new appreciation of the place where I was raised. For the time being, these little pleasures are going to have to sustain me.