Year 2 commences – Things missed from Oz…
After completing a year in Pakistan with the family, I am now in Melbourne awaiting my 6am flight back to Lahore for the start of the second year, and going solo with the family safely back in Canberra after their year in Pakistan.
Being home in Australis with the full West to East coast covered over the last couple of weeks, it has been great to experience some ‘Aussie normality’ before I return to the hustle and bustle of Pakistan again. As is usually the case when experiencing the expat life, you realise the things you miss about your real ‘home’.
Family and Friends
Its great to catch up with F&F’s when you come back home. Whilst this appears hectic and a hassle at times, there is never enough time to see everyone, or do everything, but I did manage to squeeze in as many as I could…If I saw you, it was great…if I didn’t, next time for sure….the hardest part was leaving today and leaving the family until I next hit the shores, and waiting for them to visit Pakistan in April. It will be tough for them, but I know Madi and Josh will step up and help out…but it will be tough…
Aussie food availability cannot be beaten, and food has been one of the challenges of living in Pakistan as you simply cannot get the quality or range you can at home. I basked on freshly caught lobsters, ate my weight in prawns,and had my fair share of BBQ’s and fresh veggies…yum!! My attempts to get good seafood in Pakistan have failed miserably…
I love my daily coffee (Large latte, extra hot in a take away cup!)…Whilst i have succumbed to Gloria Jeans, an Aussie Brand, it is simply not a s good as my mate Ali’s Coffee Guru coffee, and I got my fair fix in Canberra with Steve and Tracie still hanging out at the Bonner location each time attended…
Opening the ‘Den’
The Den is my shisha hangout where long time friend and ex-boss Nick comes to play with me and have life changing discussions whilst I have my shisha fix. Nick turned up each night at 9.30pm as normal, and was great to catch up as always…
‘Your home is your castle’ as was famously said in the Castle (an Aussie movie all should watch), and being home was good…not too sure about the jobs I had to do, such as replacing all my decks bistro blinds, cutting lawns, pulling weeks, unpacking and moving things back in, making a cricket pitch etc, but it was good to sleep in my own real bed…The pressure is now on Josh to manage the yard while away, and our lawn mower training didn’t go too well as he couldn’t start it!
I drove my car back from Melbourne to Canberra and despite a minor mechanical glitch all went well. It was good to drive on the aussie roads in a real car, and I must admit I did miss some of the Pakistani road rules, as it took some adjusting to stopping, not going the wrong way down a road, or having to give way, but it was good to get behind the wheel….hopefully no fines appear!
There are no safety fears in Oz….you can walk around without any stares, fear of the unknown or anything else, and there is a total absence of people with guns! This is the biggest thing that stands out when back home compared to Pakistan. We are so lucky in Australia and many take this for granted. Let’s hope the ‘bad’ people stay away….although I do fear the dreaded is only a matter of ‘when’, not ‘if’.
The Flying Kangaroo
I don’t like flying at the best of times, so you could argue my job choices at times are a bit strange, but it is so good and reassuring to fly on QANTAS versus PIA…Pakistan airlines are dodgy, so very dodgy….and the Perhaps I’ll Arrive mantra will always be with me, as I listen for the creaks, shudders and shales on every flight, wondering not just how they maintain them, but IF they maintain them, based on how other things work!
Power, Gas and Water….
In Australia the power stays on, the gas comes and the water is drinkable….in Pakistan power goes of for up to 12-16 hours a day due to load shedding, gas pressure stops and the water is full of arsenic…so another thing we take for granted…i must admit utilities are very cheap in Pakistan with my last gas bill being about $8…but you pay for what you get, so I mustn’t have got much!
These are a few of things that stood out for me in the last couple of weeks home…As I prepare to head back this will be a year on testing times I am sure…probably harder on the family than on me, as I will have work to keep me busy and no other responsibilities, whilst all the burden will be born on ‘The Wife’ back home…
Hopefully this year goes as quick as the last one, and remember there is always an open invite for visitors!!
Aussie In Lahore