Astonishingly six months have passed since I arrived in Australia – all travellers know that time slows down as you observe every blade of grass, every unfamiliar birdsong, fragrance, the intensity of light, the high, high sky, to say nothing of the Southern Cross and Orion face down across the heavens. Even the supermarket is a place of mystery and adventure – what’s a TimTam? Why are jellies made by Areoplane?

In those first few weeks I found a house a car a bank a phone a TV, all that STUFF I’ve gathered in so few months. i’ve made it to Sydney for Xmas and found an escape to woods and water in south NSW where I can hang out with gum trees and kangaroos.

I’ve also shifted from a mainly home-based independent researcher to a full time employee, with an office and colleagues and, groan, an endless sea of emails. I’ve written papers, learned most of my students names, discovered that Australians can tick an organ donation box when they get their driving licence (student projects are SO informative).

So many new experiences and until recently a great sense of expansion and possibility.  Perhaps La Traviata by the harbour was a high point. For various reasons, the last month has been a season of shutting doors, closing options, diminishing expectations. Perhaps it coincides with some 6 monthly dip experienced by relocators, I don’t know. And winter is creeping in with freezing mornings (the house is less insulated than a tent).  So, a period of confusion and disappointment just now  –  I don’t want to do a relentlessly upbeat blog, so here’s some downsides: small town anywhere can be oppressively domestic, working for organisations can be financially rewarding but creatively restrictive,  the people who offered academic adventures can leave, and of course, while being away from home can be liberating you don’t stop missing the people you love.

But this too is the point, to be conscious, to gain as much from this experience – good and bad – as it has to offer. My next goal is to probably to reduce the academic output that’s so difficult to juggle with teaching, leading to long days and short weekends, and find more ways to have FUN.

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