To all those who are concerned about us wanting to come home:
Tomorrow I'll turn 30, though my mother says that technically I was born in America so I can celebrate both days, but really my birthday is when it's March 8th in America. I'll go with this plan since she gave birth to me and because it equals more celebrating.
The fact that we are living here in Australia, that we are not going home soon to our family and friends, that this is not an extended vacation, has been sinking in especially with the birthday here.
Brooks took me to the Blue Mountains this weekend, a gift to me. We found a little guest house to stay in, in a last minute find. Friday we packed up Miss Bianca and headed for the hills. They're not far away, about an hour at most. I'd been looking forward to getting away together, just the two of us. We were staying in Katoomba, a little mountain town that felt quite old. It attracts lots of tourists because it is home to "The Three Sisters" (which are 3 consecutive rock formations that have a mythical story) and "Katoomba Falls".
After locating the guest house we went downtown to find a bite to eat and do some shopping. An umbrella was our first purchase. It was rainy, soggy and dreary all day. Just the way I felt inside and why did I feel this way, I was supposed to be having fun.
At one of the antique shops there was a VERY strange man who was following me around, staring at me, real close. Thinking about him makes my stomach turn a little. It freaked me out so much I made a beeline for Brooks and latched on to his arm. As we exited we both agreed it was an odd experience.
We left shopping to check into our room. It was an old house. A big old house with lots of rooms. Eight to be exact and they were full for the night. As we walked up the stairs to our room Brooks looked back at me and said "don't get your hopes up." I said "what's that supposed to mean?" I was hoping he was teasing and that he really meant "get your hopes up because it's really nice." He wasn't teasing, though it was a bed with clean sheets and a shower of our own. I don't know if you're the kind of person who senses or gets a feeling about a place but I am and it happens quick. All I wanted to do was change my clothes for dinner and get out of there.
Before dinner we had time for a few more shops and some soothing hot cocoa that I wished was a bottomless cup.
Brooks had made reservations for dinner at a quaint little place that had a beautiful view of the mountains. Sadly, because it had been raining all day, a thick white fog had settled and that was our view. Dinner was at the Avalon above an old theater and it was the highlight of the day. Adorably decorated English style with soft hewed linens, tea cups, mismatched china and sweet eccentric waitresses with bright smiles. Our waitress had such an inviting face I wanted to give her a hug. I wished she would give me one because I could feel the homesick butterflies coming on. It happens the moment you realize you're not going home and that you are staying here. I realized my family and my friends wouldn't be at this table eating birthday dinner with me or singing the birthday song and a couple of tears fell into my chicken fillet.
You can try to reason with homesickness all you want but it will never work. It is what it is. I'm experienced in this area. I'm a pro. I was one of those kids who had to be picked up from the birthday party and summer camp. I've cried many a night longing for home. I feel so sorry for the pour souls who tried to console me. I've actually apologized.
We landed back at the guest house after our lovely dinner and delicious dessert. I was doing alright until we were laying in bed. This house felt like I was at my Grandma's or my Aunt Pat's without the Grandma or the Aunt Pat. When you're in one of those places you can feel the love. I wasn't feeling the love. So as it goes with homesickness, you ask to be held real tight as you cry yourself to sleep.
I had bought a sweatshirt because it was so cold that night and I wore it to bed. Since it hadn't been washed it was a bit itchy. I kept waking up wishing I had it off but kept telling myself to deal with it. Homesickness and being comfortable in this country feels like forcing myself to wear that sweat shirt and once I got up to take it off and put on the comfortable long sleeved cotton T, ahhhh, sweet relief.
In the night I was praying for sunshine. "Oh God please send some sun," I said. The next morning I woke to the wind and the sunlight, a bright mountain summer morning. Joy always comes in the morning. We dressed, found some breakfast and pointed Miss Bianca toward the mountain trails. We saw The Three Sisters, Katoomba Falls and panoramic views of the Blue Mountains. We stopped at Wentworth Falls on our way back and spent most of the afternoon and evening hiking her trails, taking pictures and hopping rocks. The cascade of the falls, the rush of the water, the cool breeze and the sheer of the cliffs was powerful and moving. I was glad to be there adventuring hand in hand with Brooks and didn't want the day to end. What a way to celebrate a birthday.
I woke up this morning thinking about that itchy sweat shirt and about how it's okay to long for home, like longing for your heavenly home. I don't have to beat myself up for missing home, for missing the ones I love, the ones I know and the ones who know me. You do the best you know how where you are until you get there. At the end of my Grandma Honey's life she kept saying she "just wanted to go home." I understood what she meant, she was homesick. Homesick for loved ones, homesick for her Creator. Her mind was set on it, like swapping the itchy sweat shirt for a cotton T. Oh, the sweet relief of it.