Tuesday, 13 March 2012


Getting ready to leave Australia and move to another country long term takes a lot of energy. Most of that energy is taken up with saying goodbye. Goodbye to friends and family are the hardest, but I'm also saying goodbye to place, culture and way of life.

Here I have the freedom to ride to the beach, go for a walk on my own, sit and have a coffee then ride home. All of this is done without ever thinking about my safety, except for as a cyclist, when one's fragility is always clear. I expect that this will soon not be practical. Being a single white woman is a developing nation, I will have to be aware of my personal safety in a very different way. Going out alone, going out at night... some of these things will have to change. I am yet to learn just how much they will have to change and how I will deal with those changes.

Even though most of my family live hundreds of kilometres from me, it is currently easy and affordable for me to pick up the phone and call them. Skype is also a good tool. How much will these things cost? How reliable will they be? Although my family will still be distant, I wonder how much more I will feel this distance. It is the little people, my nieces and nephew, who I will miss the most. Adults can maintain a relationship over distance and time. With kids, it is harder. Finding creative ways for Auntie Hanna to be a real person in their lives, is a challenge, especially to the unborn niece/nephew who will be walking and talking by the time I meet them. That relationship shall be founded upon distance from the beginning.

'Home' has long been a concept I have pondered. It can be so many things to so many people. Although I struggle to define home, I know when I feel at home and when I do not. In this new adventure I will often be moving between places and not have a regular location to call home. This can be quite destabilising for me. To encourage me to make each place a little bit of home, I have completed a quilt. It is a honeycomb of fabric scraps that tell my story over many years. Numerous friends are stitched into the rug as I've used their fabric scraps or my fabric shares stories with them. I am taking this quilt with as a way to take my friends and family with and remind myself that I do not go alone, but carry the thoughts and love of precious people with me.

In light of these things, the rest of my preparations to leave are easy. I have a visa, I have plane tickets, I've been immunised. Sewing a culturally appropriate wardrobe is fun and an excuse to haunt fabric stores. Paperwork is slowly being put in order and signed. My commissioning is this Sunday (Mar 18) and on Mar 30 I'll be in PNG. So soon...yet it has been a long journey to this point and I look forward to the next chapter.

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