The chaos of Hong Kong silenced; nothing but the sound of birds chirping and the faint hum of peacefulness that comes from
During the flight, I wasn't sure I'd even make it... I had visions of a death certificate that read:
Natalie Murray passed away after choking on the toxic breath of an old Chinese man in next seat.
I wanted to offer him gum, but he didn't speak English and I feared communicating his 'issue' with a ferocious wave in front of my mouth might have been a tad too much, considering we were coupled for nine hours with the closest exit seven rows away. I realised Mr China-breath hadn't flown much when he puzzled over his compartmentalised meal and attempted to pour his custard dessert over his salad - which I graciously leaned over and stopped him from doing, whilst breathing through my mouth.
But we both lived to tell the tale, and here I am, back in my old bedroom.
Seeing family again has been rescuing. Not that I needed it - I've been perfectly happy in Hong Kong, albeit a few career woes. But, whether you require it or not, family are relieving - their lovely faces and warming company wrap you up like a big cosy blanket and give you a good squeeze.
With B back battling the responsibilities of Hong Kong, I get to eat my mum's cooking and sleep in my old room - I feel like I'm a kidlet again; everything is as it was.
And that's before I even get to see the rest of my family and close friends. There's much rescuing still to be had.
I feel like I had almost forgotten Sydney. Of course not the people and the familiar places; but I had lost sight of the clear blue skies, the space to breathe and QUIET. For anyone who considers Sydney a pulsating, noisy city, pull up a pew on a Hong Kong sidewalk - and bring your earplugs.
The noiseless pace of spacious Sydney is glorious - I had never really noticed it before.
No car horn symphony outside, army of chattering Cantonese, business folk rushing to work, shop owners clashing their morning load around. Sydney feels just - still.
What a fabulous sound silence makes.
I'm luxuriating in each and every heavenly moment.
But, of course, it's hard to get too attached. Reality's wicked knobbly finger hangs over your head, pointing out what you already know to be true. Like a cacophonous freight train whooshing along in the approaching distance - this will all be over all too soon. And Sydney-Nat will again become Hong Kong-Nat, and I'll slowly but surely supress the beauty of home and resettle my thoughts back into the presence of my life in Asia.
There's plenty of time for reflection here, and while this may sound somewhat contradictory and leaving family and friends will be ambitious to say the least, I do have a certain sense that I am tremendously happy I left. At least temporarily. I did the right thing.
There are so many memories here that I have been able to wipe clean with resettlement abroad. Each and every street corner seems to whisper a story of my past - good and bad. I find it all a little too much, now that I have reinvented myself in another place.
Those who live abroad are spoiled; we can become who we like, and discontinue who we don't.
But that's another story... for now, I'm back to the girl I once was.
Today I'm off to have lunch with my grandmother. What a privileged person I am. There's nowhere else I'd rather be.