July 13

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Homecoming Rituals and Jetlagged Ramblings

There are so many places that I’ve called “home”; the most significant ones include: Warrnambool (where I was born and lived for the first 17 years of my life), Chapel Hill (where I have been living for the past 17 years; and more importantly where my wife and son are while I’m on my Pulse assignment) and Melbourne (where I’ve lived previously and where I’ll be living for the next 6 months). I left home in Chapel Hill on Tuesday afternoon to arrive home in Melbourne yesterday morning.  The trip was relatively uneventful, no major delays, 3 connections, totaling 29 hours all up.  I even managed to get upgraded to business class for the long haul flight from Dallas Fort-Worth to Sydney.  That was an unexpected treat – pajamas, duvet/pillow and almost lie-flat recliner chair.  Thanks Qantas!

During my taxi ride to my mum’s house, the taxi driver told me that road works have taken over Melbourne. There’s a planned extension of the public underground train system which will result in closure of major thoroughfares for 5 years.  The main image is the future planned public transit network with a train out to Doncaster.  This has been rumoured for as long as I can remember so I can’t believe it’s actually happening.  Also, quite ironically, there was a computer glitch yesterday which shut down every line and every train during the peak hour rush, leaving commuters stranded for hours.

After I arrived at my mum’s place, we went out for lunch. This is a ritual that has occurred whenever I’ve arrived at home for over a decade.  The first thing I do after arriving home is to go out for yum cha (dim sum) with my parents.  Normally, my dad picks me up at the airport, I doze in the car on the way home, then we go out straight away for lunch.  However, my father passed away in January.  So, yesterday mum and I went to yum cha with some of my dad’s friends.  One friend was dad’s business partner when he started the Oriental restaurant in Warrnambool over 50 years ago.  Another friend was a good friend from school and who I’ve met many times.  It was good to see them again.

The next thing after lunch was to figure out how to recharge my local SIM card. I can never remember the pass code, especially after the long haul flight.  After fighting with the system and resetting the pass code which I’ve already forgotten – I now have an Australian phone number.  For my Australian friends reading this blog, it’s the same number as I had last time, but different to the one I’ve been using for a few years because that one expired.

After lunch and sorting out my SIM card, the last activity for the day is to try to stay up as late as possible. This activity varies greatly depending on if I’ve travelled alone or with family.  If my son were here, we’d normally head off to the park to run around and get as much sunlight as much as possible.  However, yesterday was a dreary rainy, windy day so I stayed inside and chatted with mum, trying to keep warm.  Mum likes the fresh air (windows open – brrr!!).  I also managed to wake up my wife at 1am by replying to a message from my son on his iPad (oops, I think there a setting on the iPad that needs fixing).  I stayed up until 7pm before crashing.  However, that was not late enough as I was awake at 3am.  Jetlag is so cruel.  It is now almost 6am and I’ve practiced yoga, eaten breakfast, started today’s “to do” list and written this blog.  I’m so productive (and manic) when jetlagged.