It's quiet in our neighbourhood, with winter setting her sights on us and the sun clocking out early. It's a funny thing to go from so many people all around, because of house-sharing with four kids under 3 and the crowded spaces of an Asian city, to a neighbourhood that's virtually deserted by 5pm, unless you are in a bar or looking for a sexually exploited woman. We miss having a bustling night market a street over, where many evenings afforded us a one dollar smoothie or bubble tea. It's good to have my kids back in car seats when we are driving but I miss the togetherness of crazy traffic, with all the people going somewhere in a culture where relationship matters more than anything else. It feels a bit lonely, a whole apartment to ourselves and dark, empty streets.
|my boys, no seatbelts.|
Our first night home, when we realized we suddenly had to start cooking food again (after eating most meals in very, very cheap restaurants for two months) I took Saf up the street to the little Macedonian grocery store, where the owner and her husband have kept watch for 40 years. I always wonder if people will remember us when we've been gone a couple of months. They do. They asked about our trip, remarked on my son's growth and showed me pictures of their first grandchild, seven months old now. I picked up the milk and veggies we needed, also a can of beans and said we would see them again soon. Our next door neighbours were very excited to see us and to hear we didn't have plans to leave again anytime soon. "You're true, blue Aussies now! We just have to work on yer accents!" It's a good thing to be known.
Every time I've arrived home, wherever that place is, it's much relief with a touch of sadness, always, every time.
My kids will turn 17 and 34 months soon. Jubee will be half of Saf's age, for the only time in their life. Is that interesting? She'll also be the age that Saf was when she was born and that is crazy to me as she seems like such a bay-bay and he already was a big brother, learning to be independent from me while still needing me so much.
I've really enjoyed thrift store shopping since being back. I've scored some pretty cool stuff, including "Winnie The Pooh: The Complete Collection of Stories and Poems" for $6. Also red boots and red shoes for Jubee that are beyond adorable. My kids live in generous, high quality hand-me downs and gifts from people so I very rarely buy them anything, not even second hand. I was happy to find that my daughter actually needed shoes for this winter and that I got to treasure hunt in four second-hand shops for them.
I've been reading a couple of books lately, "Daring Greatly" by Brene Brown, on vulnerability and shame. Also "An Altar in the World" by Barbara Brown Taylor which is wandering and beautifully written, on the practices of life that make up our daily grind but are an invitation into the holy. I'm not quite finished with both but highly recommend them. My husband also read a book, his first in a good long while, "Naked Spirituality" by Brian Mclaren. I think it took him about a year to finish, but he loves it and would read me large chunks of it, so I almost feel like I read it to. Chris wants it to be the next on my list.
Chris got us a vegetarian cookbook app - Green Kitchen - because we ate way, way too much meat while we were traveling and my husband likes to swing to opposing extremes. We are no longer buying meat, apparently. Tonight we had a vegetarian chili with dark chocolate. That sounds yummy and strange, because it is. Both kids gobbled it up and there wasn't even MSG in it.
I'm hoping to put my roots down in this writing space a bit deeper, I want to be more willing to hit "publish" and less obsessed with feeling extremely proud of everything I write. I just want to write more. I'm also trying to get Chris to guest post on here sometime. That boy won my heart with his writing but he acts like two crazy toddlers and a demanding wife doesn't leave him with much time to create. Hmph. He says he doesn't want to share the blog with me but I'm hoping he will at least become a regular contributor. We'll see.
Here's to getting the grease flowing on the old blog again. Cheers.