After a frustrating last day in Seoul (it's a long story), we touched down in Sydney early Sunday morning. Not for a fleeting visit, for good. (Maybe.) We are home.
Here are some things I've been thinking :
- The first few days after a big move suck because you remember all the things you need right now (like health care details and internet banking passwords and so much more) that are currently in a box on a boat and won't be seen for a few months yet...I keep waking up at 3am in a mild panic thinking things like 'Oh no! My business cards are still in my filing cabinet (which is now on a boat) and ProBlogger is next week! Ughhh!'. (Thank goodness for moo.com's rush orders!).
- There is a massive gap in the market for corporate approved, pet friendly accommodation. Right now our dogs are in quarantine so they couldn't be with us anyway, but they'll be out in under a month and they'll have to go to a boarding kennel until The Big Project is finished. The company my husband works for is covering most of our temporary accommodation, which is really very awesome, but it does mean we have to stay with an approved provider. And not a single one of those are pet friendly.
- Spring has only just started and already half of Sydney seems to have misplaced their wardrobe. (File this one under 'reverse culture shock'.)
- It's rather helpful to be speaking the same language as the waiters and shop assistants and service people, but I really, really don't like being able to understand what all the people around me in cafes and restaurants and trains are saying.
- Just because you speak the same language doesn't mean things will suddenly be easy to sort out. Paperwork and red tape and ridiculous rules are universal. This is easy to forget.
- Related - during all the mad packing and organising in Seoul I kept thinking 'once I get to Sydney I'll be able to relax, for a few days at least'. Um, no. Not at all. It has been a ridiculously busy few days. Everything still needs to be done, and new things are constantly cropping up. Hoping the weekend brings a bit of breathing space...
- People aren't so friendly when you're all the same. In Seoul, whenever one of our young neighbours got in the lift with us they'd smile, giggle nervously, wave, say 'hi', ask where we were from. We stood out in Seoul, and people were drawn to that. I think there's also something about the community minded collectivist culture that you find across Asia, something that makes daily connections and polite hellos the norm. Also, in the expat world you kind of revert back to primary school friendship making techniques (basically 'hi, you look nice and we're in the same general vicinity, wanna play?'). You kind of forget that the real world isn't like that; that people tend to freak out when you randomly smile at them.
- Sydney doesn't know the meaning of cold (and I'm okay with that).
- Australian produce - dear lord I love you. I've basically spent every spare moment of the last few days wandering the supermarket aisles hugging fresh herbs and shedding tears over the perfect corn cob. And don't get me started on the dairy cabinet (ricotta! feta! cottage cheese!).
- Everyone welcomes you home, but to be honest it doesn't feel like home, yet.
The best description I can come up with for the past few days? Surreal. And exciting.
ps. Thank you all so much for the Sydney advice in response to my last post! So much helpful info!