This morning, after nearly 24 hours in transit which I am working on blocking from my memory, Tim asked me how it felt to be back in Luzern after three weeks in Australia. More specifically, he asked if it now feels like home. During my holiday, as well as on the drive back to our apartment from Zürich Flughafen, I asked myself the same thing.
The bad stuff about the trip out of the way first: the flights, of course (even though manageable, and we always had at least one spare seat next to us, they were never going to be pleasant), the molars my little girl cut while visiting her new cousin, the jet lag and subsequent sleepless nights that won’t likely let up for a while yet, the ear infection I didn’t realise she had (mama of the year) which resulted in a (now understandably) grumpy bub for well over a week. I wasn’t well myself during the trip, and that coupled with a sense of constant rushing, the feeling of needing to maximise my short time there, and still not seeing nearly everyone I’d hoped to, made it more stressful than is usually associated with a holiday.
The good stuff, as always, outweighs everything else significantly. The girl and her cousins. The girl and her grandparents. Cuddling that brand new boy and his giggling, adorable older brother who has finally learned my name. My dear friends, who I’d missed exactly as much as I knew I would. Sydney, that old heartbreaker, with her spectacular coast and laid back vibe and ridiculously friendly and helpful people (on my first day back, jet lagged and armed with a rickety stroller I had to take two large suitcases to be repaired. This included a walk, a ferry ride and another walk, during which no less than eight people stopped me to offer help. I had forgotten how goddamn nice Australians can be and in my fragile post-traumatic flight state, I nearly burst into tears each time). After eight months, good coffee, which also nearly had me in tears of joy particularly while managing said jet lag. And the eats. Of course, the eats. There was not an Asian restaurant within a five kilometre radius of me that was safe.
But the question of home lingers. It definitely felt like a return to home when I arrived in Sydney, however the longer we remained the more this feeling dissipated. She’ll always be my city, but Motsy’s absence was keenly felt by both the lass and I, as was the slower life we’ve carved out over here. Things have changed there, too. People have switched jobs and addresses, lost and found partners, welcomed little ones; moved along as life should and inevitably will. Such things never matter with old friends but they emphasise the distance, and reminded me that we’re not locals anymore.
Arriving back yesterday afternoon was tough. I’d barely slept (my tall, wriggly girl doesn’t fit in the bassinet and therefore all sleeping was on me, punctuated by tosses and turns every half an hour that ensured at best only patchy snoozes), felt decidedly unwell, and was covered in 24 hours worth of Baby Muck which made me smell and look exactly as fabulous as it sounds. Ads and I were well and truly over each other, and I’m fairly sure she had her grizzle button flicked to ‘low yet constant’ for the last ten hours of transit. Naturally our bags were late during which that switch got turned to ‘high and tantrummy’. Hotel’s arrival was the best thing that happened to either of us that day, and her little face lit the already Swiss-shiny airport even brighter when she saw her dad. The two of them haven’t stopped giggling since we got back (I have been working on sleeping, and pleased to report I am doing quite well at it).
It’s greener since we left; warmer too (and as I found out today, in a gasp-worthy surprise while looking out at the Alps, we have a nude sunbathing neighbour in the garden apartment below us who obviously likes to take advantage of the sunny weather). The lake is as lovely as ever although definitely more boat-filled, and we’ve already trotted down twice today to look at the ducks (her), be scared of the swans (me) and eat a cheese, pickle and random one-slice-of-egg sandwich (shared in the sun). There are too many wonderful people and things in Australia for it to fully feel like home proper here, but it does have the colossal advantage of having Tim and our simple, peaceful day to day life. Both of which can be anywhere, of course, but for now I guess they’re – we’re – in Luzern. So in answer to his question: it was a fabulous holiday, and it’s wonderful to be back. I am just never, ever doing those flights again. We’re getting the boat next time.