We are back in Australia physically, and trying to drag our heads and hearts here too.
When we got into Adelaide airport, our Elliot started singing Australian folk songs and saying, ‘G’day mate’ to people. They think it’s weird; he’s reaching for the little he knows of Australia.
Callum was astonished and a little scandalised when he asked for a drink and my mum gave him water from out of the tap. Both boys have taken to asking for ‘tap water please’ like it’s some kind of delicacy.
Things Elliot does not recognise: letter boxes, offering bags at church, orange witches hats, junk mail. If I explain something to him that he already knows, he is highly insulted.
Certain places are like anchors for our little boys: burgers at Mardie and Pop’s on Friday night, the sandpit at Gran and Grandpa’s (and the frozen yoghurt ice blocks they always seem to have on hand!), Morialta bushwalking, Richmond Baptist Church, the SA Museum. Each visit grounds them a little more here, and awakens memories that have lain dormant while we were in Tanzania.
I know children in distress throw their hurt at the person they feel the safest with, but I am exhausted by being the calm space for little boys whose world has fallen into the sea. We have been here a bit over a week, so 7 more feels like an eternity.
Arthur says transition means wanting to eat more, move more, touch more, sleep more. I’d add wanting to cry more.
Receiving help and love is something we are not practiced at, after so many years of self-sufficiency. But those muscles are getting a workout, with a freezer stocked with meals, friends offering their skills and services free of charge, people buying us stuff and lending us stuff, etc. That makes me cry too.
My younger sister’s 3yo twins won’t look at me. They’re confused about whether I’m their Auntie Red Twin who died.
They are each other’s world. Watching them puts right in front of my face what I have lost.
So many shops have TV screens and ads on them now. It’s like being in Times Square even though it’s just the OPSM store.
I think self-serve checkouts have improved in the time we have been away.
There’s a very different rhythm to shopping in a cash vs cashless society.
Clothes = dark, block colours.
It’s really frustrating to have to fit into pre-determined sizes rather than having things made to measure.
There are now more people who are younger than us who are also adults. When we left, we were much younger!
Singing at church is more emotionally intense when it’s in your own language.
I definitely work harder in group fitness classes than on my own in our lounge room.
Exercising in an air conditioned gym feels completely different on your skin.
I have forgotten how to set up an RPM bike at the gym.
The last time I did RPM was with Red Twin.
Categories: Written by Tamie
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.