The journey home

It’s 10am. I’m standing downstairs near my daughter’s apartment, surrounded by suitcases (“soupcases” in the dialect of twins) waiting for the taxi to the airport. We are going to the airport unaccompanied. We’ve said our farewells.

At checkin we watch anxiously as the kilos click over: we come pretty close to our shared 60 kg allowance. Then it’s through customs, a far more rigorous check than usual for Warsaw: everything out of plastic bags, a tray for each category, boots off.

We reach our seats and feel the usual horror at the smallness of knee-space. The third person in our row is shaping up to be a nuisance – she needs to get out twice before takeoff – but then she nuisances herself into a bulkhead seat, and we have three seats to share between two of us.

That’s how I see out the window, for the first flight time in ages: the wide expanse of the Black Sea and then the rugged spine of snow-droozled mountains; lakes beautiful in the pink light of late afternoon; and, as the sun disappears, twinkling towns in wide valleys.

Dubai turnaround is short, after a very lengthy bus ride from the plane. We lie in recliners chatting desultorily and watching the passing parade: men in keffiyehs twisted in complex arrangements; surprisingly cheerful children in prams; scarved and glittery women; young solitary backpackers; solid couples who demand with their bodies more space than I feel they are entitled to. We display our carry on goods – twice, but more casually than in Warsaw – and we’re boarding for the last leg. 

No upgrades to business class this time, but we’ve somehow scored the extra legroom of economy plus, which also explains why our seats were pre booked.  The window seat is occupied by a very Aussie bloke, who proves to be an oil engineer working in Iraq, 28 days on, 28 days off.  I manage to sleep for probably a third of the 14 hour flight, jaw inelegantly dropped, mouth uncomfortably dry. 

I watch “Dancer” and a documentary about the mounting of an exhibition at MoMa (“China: through the looking glass“) and build up a an insanely long listening list, although I only actually play a few Chuck Berrys, a bit of Johnny Cash and a fair amount of Pavarotti. We’re right at the front of the plane and can watch the comings and goings of the pilot: I’m not sure I find this comforting. However, the only bit of drama happens when I suddenly realise my glasses are not where they ought to be. After a lot of groping in the darkness I find them lying, miraculously unharmed, in the middle of the aisle.

Finally we land in Sydney, and are greeted by cranky customs officers who issue bullying instructions. But all four soupcases arrive; the opal card works on the airport train; and we’re in bed in the hostel by midnight, with the alarm set for 6.

Then it’s the seven and a half hour bus trip down the coast to Potato Point: the luxuriant spreading branches and bluey-green foliage of eucalypts; the white clouds in a blue Australian sky; the line of ocean reaching to the horizon; the friendliness of the woman in the Nowra salad bar and the Lebanese man in the gelato bar in Batemans Bay; the typically Australian joke when I buy an Australian SIM – “It was easier when we just used two tin cans and string.” I relax into familiar landscape and familiar language, at ease with both. 

Already I’m having trouble believing that I lived in Warsaw for a year.

YHA Central

Central Station

At the bus stop in Sydney

A half-hour stop at Batemans Bay

If you want an image of my arriving state of mind, try this photo from the bus window, all blur and mish mash.

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About morselsandscraps

A retired Australian who spends a lot of time in Warsaw, and blogs as a way of life.
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26 Responses to The journey home

  1. Thanks Meg for the tour home. I do hope all this writing is gonna be preserved somewhere. It must not be allowed to disappear. Coach all the way from?? to Potato Point?

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  2. Tish Farrell says:

    A fine account of your journey home, soupcases and all. Those twins are little treasures, aren’t they.

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  3. Heyjude says:

    Soupcases is adorable, that chair in the hostel is fab, I recognise the station and I have good memories of my last time with you having lunch in Batemans Bay. Seems like yesterday.

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  4. Suzanne says:

    Hi Meg, good to hear you made it home okay and that you are settling into Oz well. I haven’t forgotten that I promised you I would write about eco art and photography on my blog. Promises are one thing – execution is another. I have been going through lots of personal changes and my blog is changing alongside.

    I did a little internet research to try and clarify my thinking about eco art. There is a lot out there but the essence of it all could probably summed up thus – eco art is holistic and integrated. It reflects the complexity of the environment and environmental issues. Some artists focus on environmental degradation. Others are looking creating art that celebrates possibilities for renewal.

    Personally I am looking at fractals at the moment but am still very much in the stage of brain storming. There is very little work that reflects my thought processes as yet. As a result the blog post is becoming more and more unlikely at present.

    Just thought I’d let you know what I’m thinking as you expressed an interest. Maybe you will find you own methods for conveying your thoughts and feelings about the environment through photography now you are back in Oz. One thing I did read that seemed like good advice was to pick a theme that intrigues you. This theme needs to be one that you are a)able to gather information on and b) is an idea where you can utilize your existing skills to convey your ideas to others.

    Hope that helps – Suzanne.

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    • Yet again I’m in your debt. You’ve given me heaps of food for thought. I’m good at celebrating and documenting the natural world through photos – that’s what most of my photography is, a tribute to beauty and what is, and sometimes an elegy for what has gone. Ecophotography seems to take it to a different level, a level of commentary and activism. Plenty to cogitate.

      I’ve moved back to https://morselsandscraps3.wordpress.com now, celebrating muddy tracks and fungi!

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      • Suzanne says:

        I think there are levels and levels to ecophotography. There is definitely a place for photos of life’s beauty. Celebrating muddy tracks and fungi is ec0 photography too. Those posts you make of multiple images on a theme like tree bark are very much in line with contemporary photographic practice. I’m sorting out my blogging life too. I will soon be putting my photos on a new blog and will put the link of Art and Life when I do.

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  5. Lucid Gypsy says:

    Gosh what a marathon, my brain would be scrambled. It’s good to read about your journey, apart from the length of time is sounds pretty good, but it must have felt really strange in a good way to step on Australian soil 🙂

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    • The strangest thing is not quite believing that I spent a year in Warsaw! As flights go it was easy – my son was vomitous on his flight, and then he had to drive 1100+ kilometres after he collected his dog.

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  6. desleyjane says:

    Welcome home Meg! What a lovely post. And all that airport/airplane talk so familiar to me. I’m sure you miss the family dreadfully but I’m also sure there’s plenty to occupy you now you’re home.

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  7. restlessjo says:

    I was reclining there with you, watching life pass me by. 🙂 I love the window seat! There’s always a ‘what if’ moment at take off, but then I’m captivated by the wonder of it all. You’ll settle again, hon. It’s sure to take time. 🙂 🙂

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  8. It must be pretty enjoyable to come home after a year. I’ve come home after twelve years and I really enjoyed reconnecting to the familiar. Has Potato Point always been your home?

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    • Mixed feelings, as you might imagine – no more twins nearly every day. I was born in Sydney. Lived inland from Potato Point for 20 years. Spent 6 years at Broken Hill. And I’ve been at Potato Point for twenty years. I’ve been home ten days, and I’m just beginning to feel as if I belong here again.

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  9. icelandpenny says:

    oh such a long trek home! and it will take your mind & psyche so very much longer to arrive than it did your body … sorry about that cranky customs man; my own memory of arriving in Australia (mind you, as visitor not returning citizen, always different) is very cheerful — charmed by the frisky dog nosing all around the luggage, even though I knew his serious purpose, he had things seem happy & cheerful & I enjoyed watching him, especially since he didn’t detect anything so nobody had to get all heavy — now give yourself lots of time to morph back to Potato Point

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  10. What a whirlwind! Thank you for sharing your Warsaw adventures, Meg. I expect you’re missing the twins terribly. Soupcases! Thank goodness we have Skype nowadays to keep in touch; so much better than long distance phone calls. Distant family feel so much closer when we can see them. I hope you’re settling in back at Potato Point and are getting over the jetlag.

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