Sunday, February 23, 2014

Running Away or Running To?

Day 23 - Analyze this Quote:

"Why do you go away?  So that you can come back.  So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors.  And the people there see you differently, too.  Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving."  - Terry Pratchett

This quote was taken from Terry Pratchett's book, A Hat Full of Sky.  According to Wikipedia, it is a comic fantasy novel written with young readers in mind.  The main character of the book is a girl who is learning to be a witch.  Reading the synopsis of the book reminds me somewhat of Harry Potter.  That being said, I haven't read this book and I don't really know the context in which this quote was taken.  I know that Tiffany (the main character) had to leave home for her apprenticeship, but that's not necessarily the same thing as being an expat.  At least not in my mind.

In general, I agree with Terry Pratchett.  Except for the part where he says that you leave so that you can come back.  Especially if he is speaking of leaving any place.  I left home at 17.  Mr. Smith and I moved around the US a bit after we were married.  We never went back to any place we lived previously, except to visit.  Some places we know we would never go back and others we would definitely consider.  This is the first move we've made that could potentially be temporary.  It's also the first move we have made out of our native country.

We always made our move toward a new opportunity for Mr. Smith in his career.  Even with this move to Sydney.  Moving back to the states would be the same.  So I'd say we are always running toward something tangible and meaningful.

If and when we go back to the states, how will we be received?  Gosh, I have no idea.  People can be pretty unpredictable.  I think at first we would probably get all the comments you'd expect...

"Wow, you lived in Sydney?  Did you see a lot of kangaroos and koalas?"

"Why did you come back?"

"Did you throw a shrimp on the barbie and toss back a Foster's?"

"Which way does the water go in the toilet?"

After a while, things would go back to "normal," but you'd forever be known as that girl.  "This is my friend, Yvette.  You know, the one I told you about who used to live in Australia."

It's already a bit weird going home for visits.  My dad insists on introducing me to everyone as his daughter from Australia.  "Dad, I sprung from your loins.  Obviously, I'm not from Australia."  For some reason, little things like this bug me.  Say I live in Australia, but wait a bit.  If you lead with that, I spend the rest of the time trying to answer odd questions.  So I know that people are fascinated with what they don't know and that are completely foreign to them, but hopefully that fades fast.


  1. Thanks for the extra information about where the quote came from. I was too lazy to look it up. I can understand your annoyance---I think that really, what we all want is to be seen for who we truly are, for all of the many things that combine together to make us who we are. Where we happen to be living at the moment, or whatever exotic place we may have lived in the past, is just a small part of that identity. Having said that, my worry is that people won't want to talk about Australia enough when we go back. I'm thinking that they will ask, "So did you see any kangaroos?" and then move on immediately to how well the Steelers are playing.

  2. I think it is hilarious that your dad introduces you as his daughter from Australia. Lol. When I go home, sometimes people will ask, "Oh you're the one from Australia?" and I will see, "No, I'm from here. But, I live in Australia." It's a big difference in my mind.