A month in the U.S., 3 weeks back home in Aus, then back to the U.K for the remainder of this year. I loved America and look forward to returning. My brother and I managed to fit in pretty much all of the things we wanted to do. In some ways we got very lucky. The NBA lock out ended just in time and we got to see our beloved Trail Blazers play twice. Add to that last minute tickets to the Ice Hockey and a taping of The Daily Show. We experienced our first winter Christmas and made it so close to our traditional family Christmas that we barely noticed we were in Seattle. We rang in the new year listening to soul classics in a bar in San Francisco (and witnessing the incredible power our accents had on the opposite sex) and saw the Grand Canyon 2 days later.
I'm envious of my older brother and sister in law. I loved where they are living in Bellevue and think I would quite enjoy re-locating there for a few years. Having said that, I've experienced how hard it is setting yourself up in a new country, and my experience has been with a country where it's fairly easy for an Australian to get permission to work. Now I face a life split between Canberra and the U.K's South East, America will never be a possibility, but I look forward to going back for a visit. There still plenty to do and see. But with our time and money constraints, Scott and I made the most of the time we had there. No regrets. I'm very thankful that Scott and I were able to make the trip together. I'd missed spending time with him all last year and our interests in America popular culture are so similar that he was the perfect person to share this holiday with.
Had I known I was returning to the U.K, I wouldn't have booked a flight from L.A. to Sydney. Alas, all of that was locked in by the time I'd committed to staying in the U.K. for another year. 3 weeks back in Australia and a flight back to London totally depleted the pile of savings that I'd been working through all year. Having said that, my trip back home has made 2 years away much easier. Catching up with family and friends, including a brilliant trip to Melbourne with a stack of my nearest and dearest, has made me feel much less disconnected. I'll admit that I returned home with a fair amount of trepidation. Things change when you go away for a year and I was a little nervous, but the vast majority of my friendships are thankfully unchanged by my absence and I can't wait to go home and return to the social life and friends that I love.They are amazing people and I miss being a part of their lives. I have some brilliant friends here in the U.K, but only one who has known me for any length of time. Though history is not absolutely crucial, it can be pretty important.
Not to say that I'm unhappy about being back here. Quite the opposite. There were things that I'd intended to do here last year that I never got around to, generally because of time and money. Another year will give me a chance to tick a few more things off my list. Things are still a struggle. I miss my Australian salary and am tired of shelling out for the extra expenses here (council tax, t.v license etc.) that don't exist back home. Having said that, it already looks as if the job situation is vastly improved on last year. I've worked every school day since I've been back and at the moment have secured full time work till at least the end of May.
Despite employment worries, I can't ignore the fact that I've been extremely fortunate. I saw a huge amount of the world last year. The travel opportunities that have been available to me are available to very few people. My parents hadn't seen anywhere near as much of the world by my age as I have. The photos on this blog serve as a reminder to myself that I am incredibly lucky.