I’m in Adelaide as I write this, I was in Sydney yesterday, fly back there tomorrow evening and will be back there for a day or so before I finally fly home.
The timezones are messing with my head, it’s half an hour earlier in Adelaide than Sydney and nine hours ahead of London in Sydney. I went to bed at 10 last night and got up at 4am today…
Or… I went to bed at lunchtime yesterday and got up before dark. It’s all a bit strange.
It’s a work trip, it’s not been horrible, but for large parts of the day – or sometimes, the whole day, I’m a stranger in a strange land. I don’t mind that too much, I’m happy to stay in the shadows when it suits and I don’t feel any burning need to meet or talk to people.
Occasionally I’ve felt like a ghost, flitting my way through the living, walking quietly, unheard and sometimes unseen.
It doesn’t help that I miss these two monkeys and worry about them and all the people back home, but needs must and I’m doing everything I can to make this trip a success, doing hands-on IT work and playing geographic politics so that we can actually make some real changes.
I could easily be negative about the whole thing, but, in truth, this is a great opportunity to fix some things that would otherwise be very difficult and to do some long overdue catching up. I’m very fortunate that I have a few friends in the Sydney area and have done beers and dinner with them, along with a very special Sunday lunch where I caught up with a couple that I haven’t seen for over 10 years.
We drank, we reminisced, we discussed the dead and the living, we drank, we discussed ageing and the issues with ageing parents, we drank, we discussed careers and the trivial minutiae of living in Sydney / rural Shropshire, we drank, we discussed my stag do and the unique way that our Norfolk Broads boat was returned to the boat yard – holed above the waterline, missing some of the roof and scorched by a fire, we drank, we looked at old photos, we drank, we discussed their wedding and the beautiful location above a river where the ceremony was held – just opposite their house – and we laughed.
I left their house feeling as if the previous ten years somehow hadn’t happened, it was a great moment and I’m still smiling now.
We all need a personal connection sometimes, what’s struck me while I’ve been here is how friendly people are when you do talk to them and how much they seem to want to help, to be supportive, to make a connection, it’s probably due to the lockdowns and extended restrictions, but it’s evident in every shop and bar.
And it’s nice.
I’ll go for dinner (beer) with some Australian colleagues tonight, fly back to Sydney tomorrow night and go for drinks and dinner with my friends on Thursday before I fly back.
We’ll make a few more memories, laugh some more and hopefully they’ll be over to the UK this year.
I can introduce them to these two then – that’ll be interesting *
* possibly terrifying – but it’ll definitely be memorable. (I Hope)