Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Irony of Ironies

Yesterday, I brought our items up from the storage unit to get them prepared for the movers. The irony of ironies is that most of the things we brought with us were never unpacked, but in order to get the items back to the US and through customs with little hassle they need to be removed from their boxes so the movers can repack them. Customs officers in the US are less likely to flag shipments packed by professional movers than they are by ones packed by individuals. There's nothing of concern, but it would be a bloody pain in the ass to have someone go through it all, item by item. By volume, it's not a lot, but it is a lot of little things: artworks, books, personal papers, tools, etc. When we moved to Australia, we purged big time by giving away or chucking most of our things - it was quite liberating. I did a similar exercise when I moved to Washington, but not as drastic. There was a point yesterday that I secretly wished there had been a tube leading to a rubbish bin, so I could toss it all into oblivion. Sentimentality has never been thing. However, there were items I came across yesterday that I had forgotten I had. And that made me smile.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

We have a date

After dragging out longer than anticipated, we have a date for returning home - June 19. So, basically this time in four weeks, we'll be in the air. It doesn't seem real. The irony of ironies is that we have around 16 boxes in storage that were never unpacked. In order to have these items shipped back to the US, we will need to unpack the items from their boxes, so the movers can repack them for shipment in their containers. The reason is to prevent any issues with customs when they arrive in California - border guards are less likely to worry with personal effects that have been pack by a professional moving company. Of course, this won't matter one bit if the shipment gets marked for random inspection. The moral of the story is, if you are planning to move overseas, don't take anything with you that you can't fit into a regular suitcase.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Trip to Killcare NSW

This past Saturday, we went north of Sydney to Killcare via Sydney Seaplanes. It was a going away gift from a friend. The views were spectacular and it was one of the most amazing things I have done since I've lived here. David took most of the photos below, but of course, I had to muck around with them a bit.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

It Is Real

So, around 6:10AM this morning David came into the bedroom and tapped me on the shoulder with his iPhone extended towards my face. He said, "Read." I struggled, because the light was too bright. I took his device and held it at a length so that I could actually see the text. He seemed happy about something - did we get final word on a date for a move?!? Then, the words came into focus: OBAMA SUPPORTS SAME SEX MARRIAGE. The first words out of my mouth were, "Is this real?"

It wasn't long after we moved to Sydney in 2008 that Prop 8 passed in California (my rant, here). The punch in the gut that David and I experienced on that day was devastating and we quietly swore that we would never return to the United States to live. Over time, our anger and hatred towards many of our fellow countrymen subsided (well, at least the hatred did) and we grew to understand (painfully, at times) that our home was in San Francisco and that we would be returning there at the end of our visas in 2012.

I've spent the better part of the morning trying to understand what I'm feeling. I've read all of my favorite pundits and have sifted through the banter on various websites - some of it earnest and some of it nasty. Poetically, today's announcement by the President brings my expat experience full circle. People will spin this thing into every direction possible, but I know deep down in my heart that the country I'm going back to is a little better than the one I left 4 years ago. It is real. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Winter Approaches

Winter approaches and I realize that I'm going to be able to skip it again for an entire year, a luxury. Our timeline for returning should be finalized by the end of this week (though I've been saying this for 4 weeks now!) and chances are likely that we will be back in San Francisco by no later than the second week in June. When we moved to Australia in the last week of August in 2008, I had no concept of what living without winter for an entire year would be like - and by living without winter I don't mean cold weather, but day light hours. When we first arrived, there wasn't a huge difference between the hours in a day between Sydney and San Francisco - we were coming out of the end of summer and going into the end of winter. It was quite a magical experience to have waning days turn into waxing ones in the blink of an eye. My mind played tricks on me the entire first year and I could never really grasp what season we were actually in. After going through a few cycles, I'm now used to it, however there are months that I still get a little confused on the season, April/May and September/October being those times because of the equilibrium of day light hours between autumn and spring. This is compounded by the fact that most of the people I know live somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere and are constantly posting on Facebook during late spring or autumn, "Summer is around the corner!" or "Ugh, winter is upon us." It is easy to forget where I am and go with what I know, rather, have known. The difference this time around is that all of my friends' clamor back home about summer being around the corner is true.