Reeling from the weirdest jet lag ever (18 hrs asleep, 18 hrs awake) seems like as good as time as any to reflect on travels to Istanbul, London and Leeds. Don’t know if this is meaningful for anyone else, but if you’re even thinking of relocating, esp. if not in first flush of youth, then maybe these experiences are informative… Anyway, it’s been a brilliant couple of weeks. Professionally, an enjoyable and useful European PR conference in Istanbul, with plenty of papers in my field of professionalism and a couple on ethics, as well as interesting discussions with fellow academics around the world on trends and issues in the field. My presentation was well received and I picked up a really useful methodology for future research, so good trip. Plus Istanbul is a marvellous  city, made me want to be a 20 year old arts student on a course there; something about the chaos and noise and old and new, Europe and Asia, Byzantine ruins and bike repair shops. I love cities, the way everything crashes together , past and present. Definitely worth a longer look later. Photos show bits of book Bazaar, tea stalls, roof tops and dawn over the Bosphorous.

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Also managed to spend a few days in London and a few in Leeds, catching up with family and friends. Somewhat full-on with many meetings and a tight schedule – next time I’ll take more leave and move at a more leisurely pace. Managed to meet a new baby and say hi to old friends, which felt important however brief – a way of renewing ties, stating the commitment to friendship whatever the distance. I notice few friends ring or email me but I think that’s a bit like when a friend starts a new relationship and everyone assumes they’re too busy for chats. Not true in my case, but that’s OK. What I felt very powerfully is that I do have a continuing existence in their lives, as they do in mine. It was really, well, nutritional, to feel so valued. It was also very reassuring that my UK life is still there at the other end of a plane journey, that tea with my Dad, take-away on the sofa with siblings or an afternoon in Leeds Tiled Hall, is easily arranged. It all feels much more accessible than before, which is crucial just now as I am in the middle of deciding whether to stay on for longer than the 2 year contract.

I had also been concerned that visiting my house with tenants would be weird – either it would be trashed or I’d have lost my connection to it, but neither was true. The place is scruffy, with three PhD students’ mess, but feels really lived in and the guy I met said what a great home it was, not just a house. So again, if I am away for longer, I sense the house will be fine and it’ll still be there when it’s time to come home.

So, if I was worried I’d be more homesick after a visit, I was wrong – I feel much happier being here now. Also I’ve heard myself say what I like and don’t like about being in Australia and that’s helpful. I can value being in a small town as a great place to work and as a base for adventures;  I recognise that I have fallen for the high open sky and wild bird song; and that whatever the ups and downs, I feel very alive.

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