My husband and I have been wrestling with a big decision these past few weeks. And I think we’ve finally made it.
It’s time to go home.
I’ve called many places “home” over the past six and a half years. First we spent five years in London and then we had the opportunity to move to San Francisco. We’ve been in the Bay Area a year and a half already and I feel that we’ve started to put down some roots.
But really, I still call Australia home.
There are a few reasons for our decision. The first reason is family. Not just the family we left behind, but also the family we are about to bring into the world. I’ve not previously mentioned this on the blog but many readers know that we are expecting our first and second child in February next year. We would like them to know their extended family and have roots on Australian soil. We would also like to have the support of family while we deal with the demands of new parenthood.
The babies may not thank me later. By going home now rather than after they are born, we are foregoing the chance to give them dual US-Australian citizenship. On the other hand, that would be a mixed blessing – American citizens have to file a US tax return no matter where they live in the world and I think our son-to-be (but not our daughter-to-be) would have to register for the draft. I don’t think this is the end of the world – Australia is a good place to have citizenship and they can always come over to the US on a work visa like we did. Also, I think we might be eligible for the Australian Baby Bonus, which is about $5,000 per kid.
The second reason is career related. Australia’s economy and job market is much better than it is in California, especially for journalists. I also have far better professional connections back in Sydney. I don’t expect to be able to work when the twins are very small but I think there will be more opportunities a little down the track. On the flip side, one of the main reasons we are in California is for my husband’ job. The fact is that he’s not loving what he’s doing and would like some time off. That’s hard to organise when you’re living in another country on a sponsored work visa. If we go back to Australia, we can take the summer off to figure out what’s next and welcome the twins to the world in a relaxed and calm state of mind.
And then there’s the tug of home. Australia feels like home. I now have friends all over the world, but I still feel more connected to a community back in Australia. After all this time, it just feels like the right decision. We’ll go back to Sydney initially but I’m not sure where we’ll wind up in the longer term.
Meanwhile, there is a lot that needs to come together in the next month. We want to head back early to mid December before I get too big to fly, both in terms of comfort and medical safety. I hate moving and international moves are the worst! We are trying to sell furniture and the car, organise to ship boxes home and book airline tickets. I need to wrap up some work projects as well. Plus I still haven’t given up on writing that novel, even though I failed to update my Accountability Month project over the weekend. And I’ve no idea where we’re going to live and or give birth at the other end – but we’ll figure it out!
I’ll leave you with this song, which never fails to make me homesick. I chose the Qantas ad version for the landscape eye candy, even though that feels somewhat ironic given Qantas’ problems with failing engines this week.