Home visits for Expats: a bitter-sweet experience

EXPAT LIFE: We have spent the last week or so in Sydney on our annual home visit, to get our US visas renewed, catchup with family and friends, and to enjoy an ‘Aussie’ holiday before the kids start back to school in September in NJ.

Sydney Owns My Heart

I love flying into Sydney. The sight of of the city from our plane nestled on the beaches on one side while seeing the familiar icons of the Harbour Bridge and Centrepoint Tower out of the other airplane windows, always gives me a lump in my throat and a feeling of exuberance that we are home again. I have flown into Sydney countless times in my life, and no matter how many times I do this, I always feel proud and excited to be landing in this beautiful city once more.


Sydney view from QANTAS flight into Sydney

Sydney view from plane as we arrive

As we land I have mixed feelings about the week to come, as I know, it will be a a bitter-sweet event. Yes, it is an extremely joyful experience to see the dear faces of my closest friends, many who I have known since I was barely a teenager.

Of course, it goes without mention that we will also indulge too heavily in those Australian delicacies we dream about: meat pies, sausage rolls and roast lamb dinners. We will marvel at the orgy of taste sensations of Italian food delights at our own ‘Little Italy’ in Sydney in a heavenly place called Haberfield, an inner Sydney suburb that offers some of the best pizzas, cannolis, coffees and gelato in all of Sydney.

The Bitter Pill

Off-setting this though, is the knowledge that this trip will be tinged with sadness as well. Just as I get to embrace my friends and their nurturing support, so will I be devastated as I leave them behind again, to return to the US, where I do not yet have the same support network, that has held me together all these years. All of us will be facing this challenge as friendships are renewed with kisses and hugs, then tested again, as we leave with promises to stay in touch.

This trip though will be especially hard, as it is likely to be the last time I see my father alive. He is slowly dying, and we have come to keep vigil with him in these last days. Despite the knowledge of all this, I cannot but dream of the luxury of being buoyed by the support of our friends and family, even for a short time.

An emotional roller-coaster begins.


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