It has now been about four weeks since we returned to Australia.
It is a very strange feeling being surrounded by everything familiar, but feeling disconnected at the same time.
We have been hugely impacted as a family by our time away, but at the same time it can often feel like we have not been away.
It is nice to go to the grocery shops and understand what you are buying, but I am often surprised when I hear people speaking English.
The return to driving on the left has gone without hiccup although I did decline the offer to drive home from the airport after our 27 hours in planes and airports – I think I may have been a little rusty. Surprisingly SWTTM seems to be having more problems from the passenger seat, sometimes going to tell me I am going on the wrong side of the road when in fact I am on the correct side – it is strange how our brains work.
We have enjoyed catching up with family and friends and have been slowly getting around to everyone, made more difficult by the fact that as we had cancelled our phone accounts before we left the only common theme is our email address.
We have enjoyed going to church again.
It has been great to be able to stay at my parents’ place while we got our house back in order, with lots of unpacking and sorting as well as trips to the dump in an effort to get the yard back in order. But after a couple of weeks we are in our house and starting to get sorted, although the house still looks a little like a bomb zone.
It has been rather confronting to deal with the massive amount of stuff we have. We have essentially been living with what would fit in our car, or what would fit in a motorhome for the last two years, so getting all of the stuff that was crammed into our shed out really brings to light the volume of stuff we own, but obviously don’t really need (after all we have not had it for two years). So we will be having a few garage sales this year.
When we left the Netherlands the daily high temperature was about 10 degrees, since we have returned we have sweated through a couple of mid to high 30 degree days which is not much fun.
We have yet to go to the beach for one of our family breakfasts that we all love so much, but hopefully we will tick that off soon.
So our return has been one of happiness and sadness: one of enjoying family, friends and familiarity while missing the open road, the palpable reliance on God and the closeness from having only our family of 5. Our Year in Europe is an adventure we will not quickly forget and one that we are going to strive to retain the memory of as well as the benefits it brought our family.
We thank God so much for the opportunity.
On a different note we have been amazed at the families that have contacted us, telling us that they are planning a similar adventure. We have had the privilege to write back and forth with some of these and hopefully pass on a few tips we learnt, in an effort to make their adventures go that little bit more smoothly. We really enjoy being able to help people in this way.