There are so many things I love about Adelaide and Australia: some IRL friends I’ve made here, singing, the warmth of summer, the Central Markets, aubergines and mangoes (both available in NZ, but expensively so), Kangaroo Island honey, which really is rather special, my kitchen, our beautiful home, the generosity and support from some colleagues here, two in particular, the excellent public school our daughters attend, the robustness of Australian politics, Julia Gillard.
I will miss all of these things when we return home at the end of this year.
That’s right. We’re coming home.
Despite all the good things about Adelaide, I’ve been quite unhappy during the time we have been here, because I have been incorrigibly homesick. I have missed my family and my long-known friends, and I have missed the greens and blues and trees and birds and hills of home. I’ve missed kumera and manuka honey – both obtainable here, but expensively so – and Jersey Benne potatoes. I’ve missed being pākehā, and I’ve missed the cadence of te reo Māori. Aotearoa-New Zealand is in my bones.
As for exactly where we are going to… if I say that it’s not a main centre, and we will both be working at what I shall call Greenhills University (following HarvestBird’s exemplary soubriquet for Concrete University), does that give you enough to go on? I guarantee that none of you save those already in the know will be able to guess what I will be lecturing in.
One of the greatest delights of Australia for me has been the on-line community I found here, of wise and witty and feisty women. And some men, of course. I was thrilled to be invited to join the team at Larvatus Prodeo, and I hope to continue to blog for them from time to time, letting West Islanders know what’s going on in New Zealand. I hope that my on-line community here will come home with me, as my New Zealand community came to Adelaide. I shall miss meeting up with some of these wonderful women in real life, as has happened from time to time, but there are wonderful women and men to meet up with at home too, some of whom I have met already, others of whom I hope to meet for the first time (also one, two, three, four, and no doubt many more). I’m also hoping to rejoin my book group, albeit with a little bit of travel involved for me, and to see more of a beautiful group of women I used to meet for dinner every now and then. I shall miss singing duets with my friend Melissa, but at home, my friend Helen is a wonderful soprano, and we have songs to sing together.
We’ve told our girls that we will be moving, and they are both saddened and excited: sad about losing friends they have made here, but pleased to be moving closer to their beloved grandparents. We have tried to explain to them that it is possible to be both sad and happy at the same time, and that feeling glad to be back in New Zealand does not reduce the sadness of leaving Adelaide.
Lead times in academic jobs are quite long, commonly stretching to six months or even more. So we will be here enjoying Adelaide for some time yet. All going well, we will leave after the school year has finished, but in time to be home for Christmas.