And so my UK adventure was coming to its end.
I trained back to London from Chester and stayed my final night in London repacking my bags to contain all that remained that was mine. Monday morning, 1st April 2013 I swiped my oyster card and rode the underground train through the city's tubes for the last time. I boarded the plane--a massive double-decker kind--at Heathrow Airport and farewelled England, tossing over various experiences of my time of living in Kensington and travelling all about this corner of the world in my mind and tucking them back into the treasure trove of memory space. We lifted off and my homeward bound journey began.
Roughly 24hrs of travel with a stop over in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, I entertained myself with movies, sleeping and enjoying the airplane food. (Yeah, I get a thrill to receive the little containers of goods and finding out what's inside and it usually tastes quite alright too. At least on Malaysia Airlines.) I got a buzz to finally touch down at Melbourne Airport, stepping out for the first time in two years with Australia beneath my feet the air filled with the homely Aussie accent. There are plenty of Aussies around London but the part that intrigued me most was hearing it come from the staff, not just the accent but the mannerism of Australian style too. And then those stainless steel doors... The stepping through, pausing slightly to quickly scan for familiar faces and deciding randomly which side to step to so you don't block the doors. And then.... "Kelly! Kelly!" A familiar voice turns my head and I quickly spot waving arms. Family. In the flesh. My parents there to pick me up.
Ah, family. I missed them a lot. I missed most of all just being able to hang out with them. Not doing anything in particular; just chillin' and chatting and laughing; just being with them. It was great to catch up with all of them in the following month. The adults don't change a whole lot in two years but little kids do. The most definite, biggest changes I had to catch up on were the two new members of my family. It was a joy to meet my two new nieces for the first time at 7mths and 15mths. The littlest instilling new titles on my younger brother and his wife. It's been fun to see them in their new roles as parents.
It's been great to have the time again to visit my brothers and sister and their families and to spend time with my 9 nieces and nephews. I'm also ever grateful to be able to live with my parents while I have no income. April was a month of catching up including a trip to Sydney where my older brother and his family live.
I found it strange that it didn't feel strange to be back in my hometown. Everything was so familiar and despite a few changes about, I found myself feeling almost like I'd never been anywhere...except for an amazing store of memories I now have. Lives have changed more. There's been some moving house, a number of weddings and a swarm of babies born in the time I was out of the country. It's been fabulous to catch up with just about all my friends and just spend time with them again. It's been good to return to my home church and the home group that I love. They are some terrific people and I enjoy our discussions.
A month of travel; a month of visits and catching up; a month of looking for work and bumming around. I'm ready for my next adventure; just this week secured and the cogs put in motion.
Next stop: Nannying in Sydney, New South Wales.