Around The World and Back Again

Getting back into this blogging thing is easier said than done, I’m finding. And it probably hasn’t helped that I’ve been away for the past three weeks on the other side of the world. Apologies for being late getting back to comments, too!

So, where have I been?

Back to my husband’s native Australia, to see family and friends we’ve not visited for seven years. It’s a trip that was a long time coming, house renovations and life getting in the way of previous plans to visit.

I confess, I was a little bit nervous about going back. Australia is a wonderful place, and there are a lot of people I love living there. But it’s a VERY LONG flight, and I’m not the biggest fan of flying. Plus, I found that, despite all the work I’ve done sorting myself out over the past few years, it turned out there was a bit of emotion to unpack about the idea of heading back to the place where I lived for seventeen years. As I said to friends when we were there, I have three passports and a lot of issues.

People often comment to me that I’ve lived such an interesting life, moving around the world, travelling and seeing different places. And I agree – I’ve been so fortunate to have lived in some wonderful parts of the world. But that has come at the price of roots, of continuity, of having a place that feels so familiar that, no matter where you are in the world, it feels like home. All the moving around I’ve done (24 different addresses, six different cities, three continents) has left me with a deep desire for a place that is mine, that won’t change and doesn’t move, where I know everyone and they know me. Returning to live in the UK seven years ago was full circle for me, both physically and metaphorically, as it’s where I was born, and where I feel most at home. Living in Australia was wonderful, definitely, but it was also tough, as I was (literally) half a world away from many of the people I loved most. Going back there brought with it a whole host of emotions and I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn’t going to stay there, that I was coming back.

That sounds awful, doesn’t it? As though I hated the place so much I couldn’t bear to stay there. This is not the case at all. If you’ve been to Australia you’ll know how beautiful it is, how blue the water, how bright the sky. Some of my best friends in the world live there, as well as family. It’s a country I truly love.

So, once I’d worked through all of that, I was able to face the flight with less stress and, when we finally touched down in Melbourne, I could enjoy the city for how wonderful it is. Our first day was a perfect Melbourne day – seeing family, walking through the Botanic Gardens to the National Gallery of Victoria to have lunch and see the Escher exhibition (quite a mind-blowing experience with jetlag), then dinner that evening with dear friends. And so the days unfolded, one beautiful experience after another, but each of them then tempered with goodbyes. And that, perhaps, is the key to my struggle. The endless round of goodbyes.

Well! This started out as a post to say hey, I’m back from my trip, but it’s turned into something quite different. As you can see from the photos, I had a fantastic trip in a wonderful part of the world. However, I’m glad to be back home again now (and I will be getting to comments, too!).

If you’re in the UK, here’s wishing you all a lovely holiday weekend. Also, May the Fourth be with you 😉 (Yeah, I said it.)


May The Fourth Be With You

I wanted to use a flashy Star Wars image but copyright and all that. So instead, here are my fabulous bubble gum cards :-)

I wanted to use a flashy Star Wars image but copyright and all that. So instead, here are my fabulous bubble gum cards 🙂

Oh yes.

Today is the day when I share with you my deep and abiding love for the original three Star Wars films. (Let us never speak of the other three episodes).

Why today? Well, it’s International Star Wars day and, while I haven’t put my hair in donuts or got my light sabre out (what?), I may sit down and revisit a time long ago, in a galaxy far, far away.

I remember the first Star Wars movie coming out (yes, I am dating myself), and I also remember the magic of seeing it for the first time. My brother and I were instantly hooked. I can recall the huge excitement of being taken to see The Empire Strikes Back in the cinemas – the trailer before the main feature was for Alien and it terrified me. And I remember the absolute fever pitch that came when the third movie was announced – Revenge of the Jedi. This was the original title and oh, how I wish we had bought merchandise that featured it. It was changed quite quickly to Return of the Jedi, as Jedi knights don’t take revenge.

My brother had all the stuff and sometimes, he’d let me play with it too. He even had a Darth Vader head that opened up to reveal compartments in which to keep all his action figures. He had a Millennium Falcon big enough to put your mini Han Solo and Chewbacca inside, plus an X-Wing fighter and countless figurines. He had a light sabre and a whole bunch of other stuff. I think he sometimes wishes he still had them, to be honest (I’m sure he won’t mind me saying that).

I still have my complete collection of Return of The Jedi bubble gum cards. My brother and I spent our pocket money for weeks on end, both of us trying to get the full set, trading with each other until we both got there. I don’t think it’s worth much – you see them quite often on Ebay, but to me it’s a reminder of a time when Luke Skywalker’s blue eyes and all-black Jedi outfit stirred something in pre-teen me, when Han Solo kissing Princess Leia was a pretty big deal.

I also have the DVD’s featuring the first set of changes made by George Lucas, when the magic of the originals was still allowed to shine through. (I refuse, absolutely refuse to entertain the idea of Darth Vader shouting at the end when he stops the Emperor killing Luke). And so I shall sit down today and watch them, the thrill of those opening credits in yellow rolling across the darkness of space one that never fades, the familiar music making me smile.

And I am ridiculously, childishly excited by the prospect of the new Star Wars film. It looks to have captured the feel of the original. So how about my fellow bloggers out there – any Star Wars fans among you?

Happy day, everyone. May the Fourth be with you. xx