No Immunity from the Quotidienne

If it is a virtual escape to the sunny tropics you have come for, read no further. A bubbly entry about mangoes and birds this is not.

Although we have seen rainbows on at least two occasions.

But enough of that.

We finished our second week and began our third still quite occupied with the tasks of settling in. I suspect moving is a headache no matter where you do it, but it’s been a while since we’ve done it. Our state of limbo has even extended to the kitchen. Here, though, I will brag that even with a spice rack consisting only of salt, pepper, cumin, and rosemary, hubs and I–ok, mostly hubs–have still been able to whip up some pretty good-looking meals.

Still, you know those weeks when it’s only Tuesday night and you are sure that Sunday was ages ago? It was one of those weeks. A lot happened: our application for a place to live was approved (yey!). I spent no less than five hours, most of it waiting, trying to set up phone/internet service for said place. Efficiency is under-rated in these parts, a fact that became painfully clear as I tried to occupy a three-year old at the same time. We began to look for a car, a process which included getting our Queensland drivers licenses.

A picture of some Australian bills, because I think they’re just so cool. How often do you see bills with windows in them? And it was a good way to spend the time while the license was being processed.

Despite all the mundaneness and headaches, there were a couple moments of transcendence. We attended church for the first time this weekend, and although there were probably no more than 7 or 8 families at this tiny outpost of a Coptic church, the visiting priest observed that 5 continents were represented. There were the Australians, of course, a German-Copt who’d moved to Australia several years ago, a member’s mother visiting from Egypt, an Orthodox Filipina, and us American Copts. If there’s one thing that makes my little heart happy, it’s multi-national gatherings.

Then, just last night, my husband called me outside to look at the night sky. Even with a little light pollution, it was absolutely stunning. Clusters of stars, some faint and blurred together, provided the backdrop for others, bright and innumerable. He pointed out Orion, and we might have seen the southern cross that appears on the Australian flag (we’ll need to employ the use of Google Sky to confirm this).

I am appreciating this new adventure, which is not to say that I don’t deeply appreciate the virtues of home and belonging. But it’s dawning on me that the line between the two is not as thick as I would have imagined. One evening, while I was burning dinner and the 3-year-old was screaming about some injustice I had apparently inflicted on her, it hit home that, yes, some aspects of our lives would remain exactly the same. Our children will unconsciously absorb much of their surroundings, true, but they will also be kids: kids who will test the boundaries their parents set for them, who need their parents’ patience, and who will look to us to help interpret the world around them and what they are to do in it. They will admire the new animals and plants in this new place . . .

 

. . . but they will not spend the energy that I am spending to try to analyse things like cultural norms. For the kids, this chapter will not be about experiencing a different culture. It will just be what it is. And perhaps, if only for now, that is what I too should let these early days be: the wonder and the mundane mixed in together, toddler tantrums and all.

5 thoughts on “No Immunity from the Quotidienne

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