press the shift key


Winter in Australia!

Winter in Australia!

So we’re back in Ghana. Six weeks of chatting and eating and drinking, socialising and walking, and chatting and eating some more. The trips to the dentist and the optometrist ticked off for another year. New clothes, new books, new shoes…all done. Sourdough, goats cheese, milkshakes, sausage rolls, sushi, twisties, Hunter Valley Shiraz, cappuccino, steak sandwiches and broccoli. Yes, even broccoli. Glorious winter days under the cloudless blue vault of the sky. The particular light of Newcastle as the sun sets reflecting off the water and bathing the peninsula in a warm haze.

The best part of any trip, of course, is seeing friends and family again. The way cousins instinctively pick up and play together, special trips to see grandparents. All of us slipping into the details of old friends lives; whether it be ballet lessons, jobs, renovations, Scouts and school. Reconnected is such a cheesy word, but I really can’t think of a better one for what a trip home does. A chance to reconnect with the other life, the life that you carry around inside, amid the hustle of the daily life which happens wherever you are.

The trip home starts with such excitement, the diary fills up and it all becomes a lovely social blur. But eventually as I watch everyone getting on with their daily lives there comes the inescapable sense of living around the edges of your friends lives. The plans you make can’t last more than a few weeks. The date of departure sits in the calendar, a brick wall where the social whirl stops. But as the date looms closer, there is the tiniest of shifts, the smallest disconnect.

It’s the mental preparation of coming back.

Perhaps foolishly I rarely make plans before we get back, I’m not quite ready to press the shift key, giving myself a few quiet days grace before real life intrudes. Taking time to make the mental shift between the sweet ease of a visit back home; and the real life of school, and groceries, and driving, the heat, the delays. Holding onto the sense of home, not yet ready to commit to real life.

Each time we come back, there is the little culture shock. Smaller each time, but there nonetheless.

But of course now we are back, real life has started. Catching up with friends in Accra, the first shopping trip into Konongo, social plans for the weekend, finalising the house move and gearing up for a new year at school. In short, making plans.

And I know the mental shift has happened.

After all, this where real life is happening, it must be home too.


{Email subscribers: I’ve got a new banner and am doing some experimenting with a new look, so click on the heading ‘six degrees north’ and have a look on the webpage. Let me know what you think and what you’d like to see.}



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