Once the children had started school and settled into a routine, I was left largely to my own devices. This is when the little imaginary homesickness caterpillar really comes into his own. He crawls stealthily into your ear and sits there, whispering smugly and magnifying every doubt you’ve had about whether you made the right decision to move halfway across the globe.
‘You haven’t, you know,’ he will opine. ‘You’ve just made a really big mistake that you can’t undo. Look at everyone back home, look on Facebook at their lives, don’t you wish you were there too?’
‘Look at the other people you know who have moved overseas. They’re doing well, they have no regrets or doubts. They’re all out with their new friends having a lovely time while you sit here with tears bubbling down your cheeks and snot dribbling out of your nose. Who’d want to be friends with you, Miss Snotty Blotch Face?’
The Husband would come home from work every weekday and enquire kindly as to what sort of day I’d had. Just hearing the quiet desperation in his voice, the hope that I might say ‘Its been good, thanks,’ was pitiful to witness. I felt terrible that I couldn’t love this place, as he and our children clearly did.
This beautiful, breathtaking country was not mine; I wanted familiarity and comfort. More than anything, I wanted my mum! The homesickness caterpillar was right; I was a sobbing, snotty, boring mess who wanted to go home more than anything in the world!
I had immense support throughout this time. A long standing friend who I had ‘met’ virtually through an emigration website was a source of common sense and comfort through my tears. She is English but had lived in Australia for fifteen years at that time, her daughter not much older than my own children when they had moved.
She seemed to have an uncanny knack of knowing when I was at my lowest ebb, no matter what time of day it was. She would phone out of the blue, beginning by asking me how I was. She did not believe me when I lied that I was fine, and allowed me to talk freely about how I felt and then reassuring me I was normal.
She is a very plain speaker, and doesn’t allow you to believe that you could fail. She made me laugh many times despite myself, and I know if she’s reading this now, she knows who she is.
Other people came equally to attend my exclusive Pity Party for One, offering sympathetic and sensible advice, or even just asking how I was that day.
To all of these people, and you know who you are too, I am immensely grateful. They number everyone from Mr and Mrs S, who you met early on in the blog, to my mum, sister, in-laws and friends of old who could see through my protestations of being ‘fine!’ as easily as they would through a fishnet stocking.
Even DM, my old friend and one-time boss who is not renowned for his outwardly soppy side (except where dogs are concerned), checked on me a couple of times via Facebook. He may not remember this but I do, and I always will.
As I’ve probably mentioned before, none of the people who feature in my blog have asked for their inclusion in it. I have therefore tried to allow them some degree of anonymity by choosing alternative identities for each of them.
Amy Pond, to whom you’ve also been introduced (but who will be undergoing a name change in the coming instalments because she “doesn’t like just being the Doctor’s bloody sidekick’) provided many much-needed laughs and company. As a new Australian arrival herself, I hope that I was able to support her as well as she did me at that time.
However, I’m not yet sure whether I should allow Amy to choose her own blog name, or whether I should throw it open to suggestions. I may even pick another name for her myself, in which case she may wish she’d stayed as good old Amy Pond…but we will see where that takes us next time!