Home Sweet Home { Return to Oz }

My trip to Australia was a whirlwind of family and friendship, sunshine and surf, love and memories. It made me homesick for the very place that I was, grateful for my culture, my heritage,  my birthplace and thankful that it will always be home, that I can always go back and find comfort and confidence in my roots. It also made me appreciate my new home too. It's easy to think that the grass is greener at home when you have conflict with the new culture you are assimilating too. But the clarity I had was of the ways that Canada has shaped me for the better, the changes in who I am because of this new and wonderful culture and excitement for all that is to come in our time here.

I had a pretty intense schedule while I was in Australia. The thing I wanted most though was to have quality time with my family and I feel like I managed that amougst all that we did. Family dinners, where the food is good and the company even better are just a part of life and we eased back into that comfortable rhythm. Seeing my parents bond with my children, and all of the cousins together helped me remember just how strong those bonds are and that no time or distance will alter them. My home sweet home.

Off to Market we Go { Return to Oz }

What I wanted most when I returned home to Oz was time with my family. It's what I miss most about living abroad and what I pine for in the hard moments. It's likely that no amount of time would ever be enough but my heart certainly got a good dose. 
On one particularly beautiful Saturday morning Mum, Courtney and I ventured to 'The Grounds' in Alexandria (hat off to Dad who was always so willing to have the kids for me). Sydney sure does Saturday mornings well. The food was amazing, photo worthy and even tastier than it looks. This place is impressively thoughtful, with beauty to fill the senses at every turn. It's what you wish you had for a local haunt and really you could spend all day just being ... there.
A day with my Mum and Sister is a happy day. There aren't many people in the world who really truly know me and love me for it, but these two do and I couldn't wish for more than that. 

Friends for Life { Return to Oz }

To us, Nelson Bay is heaven in earth. Just a quiet town with water all around, picturesque beaches and a pace that whispers .. it's okay, just slow down. We were very happy there for the five beautiful years we called it home. Part of what made it so wonderful for me was the beautiful friendships that I formed. Mainly through Finley. He was my ticket to meeting some of the most wonderful women I have ever known and forming some forever bonds. He too was lucky enough to find his own little tribe. It was so sweet watching him reacquaint himself with his little buddies, they all really have a wonderful affection for one another. They did see each other most days for three years running, so the bond is most definitely there. 

Primrose and Scout knew each other for longer as pregnant bellies than they did out in the real world but while I was there the little buds of friendship started to form and grow. It was so nice to slip into the old routine with them all - beach, pram walks, mainly music, kmart shopping and getting together with the girls. It sure is a sweet life. 

Finley also reconnected with his brother from another mother Ezra who despite the age gap he adores. And I got to spend the weekend at the Hammerl's in Buladelah, my favourite place to lounge on the deck, take in the sounds of the Australian bush and reconnect with my kindred spirit Nicky. It happened to be extremely hot while we were there so we spent one glorious afternoon at the local pool which was blissful especially considering how much I hate Canadian pools, weird but true! 

I also got a much needed afternoon with Val which was exactly what I dreamed of, familiar and comfortable and full of chatter and fun. Being back at church in the branch was so great and then an afternoon with the Smiths made the journey complete.  

Friends are good for the soul. 

Fun in the Sun { Return to Oz }

We all definitely got a good dose of vitamin D while we were home. The sun shone almost every day and the days that didn't, the rain came down hard and furious, just like in my nostalgic dreams. Nova Scotia rain sets in and drizzles, in a whole year we only heard thunder once and I can't remember even one time that it beat down so you could feel it. The familiarly of that sun and rain was like putting on an old worn jumper (but it my case more like taking it off!) and I felt like my old self, though noticeably changed too by the past year. 

The kids and I loved being in the water. We went to the pool a few times and the beach in Sydney, Queensland and Port Stephens. Diving into that salt water and having the sun beat down on my back was heaven and I savoured the moments, catching them in my minds eye so I could remember them in the winter to come. We ate icecream and patted Kangaroo's and Koalas. We went to old familiar places and played and had fun with grandma and grandpa and friends from all over. 

It's nice to know that home is there and will always be. There is so much security in that. It feels wonderful to be adventuring, learning another land and it's secret treasures. Nova Scotia is a place I have read about and thought I understood but being here adds so much meaning, things are real to me now and that experience is priceless. It changes you, adds layers to you. I'll forever be different. At my core though I am and always will be an Aussie girl - salt, sand and sun loving. 

Cousin Connection { Return to Oz }

One of the best parts of my trip home was seeing my children reconnect with their cousins. Finley remembered them all well and quickly returned to the fun and games, especially with Tristan and Hendrix. Primrose however was only a tiny 5 month old baby when we left, so really this was everyone first encounter with our little miss. She was besotted by them all and fell in love quickly. Her and Tristan formed a beautiful little bond and Cierra and Taylor were the perfect, dotting, fun cousin/aunties I hoped (just like Naomi was to me). Bindi the dog soon became as dear as a cousin too!

It's hard to not have this as part of our regular life. I loved watching the kids take over their Grandparents house like it's their own stomping ground, I loved seeing them create games and get into mischief together thinking we were none the wiser. I loved how they learn from one another and look out for each other.

Til next time wonderful cousins.