Don’t Go

I’ve been telling myself for the past three days to stop thinking about our leaving date. I wanted to just enjoy what was happening now, and not think about it being over. I kidded myself that I was doing it, with a set of proverbial fingers in my ears I kept the mantra “this holiday is not over, this holiday is not over”. But, there was packing to be done, and the supplies in the pantry needed to be eaten. Cereal allocations served as a reminder each morning.

“We have two boxes of Weetbix, can’t you eat the Weetbix? We need to get rid of the Weetbix”

The mental list of what will stay and what will go lengthened as I made my way from one room to another. Will barbie be sacrificed for lego? What can be removed from its box and pushed into a ziplock bag? Do we have enough Vegemite? Should I bring the new shampoo? I can survive without the shampoo. Maybe I should just head to the supermarket and do one last scan. Leave the towels, take the goggles, one more trip to the beach, remember the goggles.

Tonight is our last night at the beach house. Tomorrow we will have our last swimming lesson, maybe go to the bakery for one last time, and then we’ll drive to Adelaide to spend our last night in town before getting up early to fly back to Qatar on Tuesday.

I don’t want to go.

This is the first time in years that this has happened, usually I’m keen to get back to a routine. I’m keen to have children back to school, keen to drive my own car, catch up with friends, and return to living in a world where things look a little different than my ordinary, my normal. But not this time. I’ve been home for too long, I’ve settled, I’ve soaked up the energetic colours, oh the colours, and inhaled the Southern skies. I’ve worn a shirt over my bathers and no shoes to the fish and chip shop, and not once thought I should probably be a little more covered. Not once have a caught the eyes of someone who is displeased with my bare shoulder or naked knee.

I’m Australian. Dinky-di, ridgy-didge. I’m sun-kissed. I’m a cheers, thanks mate, a pasty with sauce and an ice-coffee thanks, veg or salad, bloody hell! Ya joking!

And it’s not just me.

Yesterday I overheard G speaking to a mate, he was shaking his head in astonishment “FAAAARK!” He’s now swearing in Australian.

The expat gloss has dulled, perhaps it washed off in the surf and faded in the sun. And I have once again returned to the familiar world of geographical schizophrenia. I can see the life, I know I love it, and would miss it if it weren’t there. But, right now, just here, a voice in my head persists.

Don’t go.

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