Books stacked on shelves.
Tea cups laid out and dusted.
The dust has settled, and we are too. Slowly. Surely.
The Sunshine House is as we left it, more or less. There’s a tree missing, blew down in a storm, and a few things amiss and a’broken. We’ve rearranged bedrooms, and emptied the house of everything everything we don’t need. After cozy Dutch houses, our own house, small by Australian standards, suddenly feels enormous.
But that’s the funny thing about perspective.
Like that one time, we went away to Europe for ten months, and it felt like forever, but now we are back, it felt like it barely happened. There’s another language floating around the house now, and a store of images and pictures and memories and feelings. But did we ever actually leave?
Before we left Europe, lots of people asked me how I felt about going home. Now I am back, lots of people ask me how I feel being back. Truth is, if it weren’t for the fact that people ask, and I like to give as honest answer as I can, I wouldn’t really think about it.
As we drifted from place to place this year, and reshaped ourselves into various rooms and houses, it all felt good, and it all felt right. If circumstances allowed, I could have stayed in any one of those places for a really long time. I could have called any of those places home.
So my answer was, and is, that I was happy there, so I assume I’ll be just as happy here.
Happiness goes with you, and all that.
But under the harsh Australian sun, in the heat, unpacking boxes, and popping down to the less than inspiring town plaza, with its fluoro lighting, it’s hard not to miss Europe just a teeny bit.
Things I will miss, include words like wanderling and pantoffel. I will miss fresh haring, with onion. I will miss mountain walks in fresh air, and getting strong without even trying. I will miss not wearing sunscreen all summer, and sitting out in the heat without frying. I will miss playing in the forest, and looking for fairy houses. I will miss beautiful houses. I will miss old things. I will miss an easy, communal way of life, where people just look after each other, no question. I will miss long mornings and so, so much time.
I will miss our Dutch and Austrian family and friends.
But there are so many good things here, too. Like family. Like friends. Like the sea and the beach, and a beautiful school. And home.
‘I don’t like the Sunshine Gypsies,’ my youngest gypsy declared in the car the other day. ‘I like the Sunshine House.’ She’s the home loving one, and has been counting down the days until we returned.
And now we are back, and the dust is settling, and it is very homely.