Vinnie and I were driving to our 11th rental of the 2020 pandemic season when we that rare moment of silence and a gorgeous sunset to inspire the what ifs and give a little spike to the anxiety that underlies all of our current decision making.
Nothing in the car seemed real and at this point, nothing in this life seems real. Each decision we make brings a cascade of consequences that make my internal voice scream, WHAT THE FUCK ARE WE DOING.
I imagine we looked like a carefree family driving home from a holiday. Vinnie’s hair had just been cut but it was much longer than in our previous life. Three suntanned kids were snoring, packed into an SUV that was filled to the top with suitcases, bicycles, and sand. The vineyards and cow pastures and quick glimpses of ocean were met with the excitement that you feel on holiday. “Look how gorgeous!” we repeated, but we didn’t say “welcome home.”
At this point what is home?
Beatrix claims she’s from a bathtub or “from Chinese” because she knows she was born in a bathtub and can vaguely remember studying Chinese at her Singapore preschool.
Rocco has begun practicing a new accent. I can hear him deliberately dropping the harsh American ‘R’ (sugar) with a very odd, very Brittish-and-not-at-all-Australian ‘Ah’ (sugah). He’s struggling to work out where he’s from, which is more than a little difficult because he doesn’t look incredibly Singaporean and has never lived in the United States.
Every time we leave the house for longer than a few hours, the kids get curious and, I hate to admit it, a little worried. “Do we live here now?”, “Where are we going?”, “Is this Australia?” Only bubbly, chubby Oscar, who doesn’t mind where he is as long as there is food, doesn’t seem impacted by the upheaval of the past few months.
Our conversation on this drive was disjointed. On the surface we spoke about staying or leaving but we were dancing on a delicate spiderweb of questions about what makes us happy as individuals and together, who we are as a family unit, and what we want from life. How can we resolve any of this in just three hours?
Ten years ago we set out to explore Asia and we stayed. Ten months ago we came to Australia on holiday and we stayed (for the record: we got locked in, then locked out, and then we applied for a visa to stay.) It feels like we’re getting farther and farther from home and I’m just not sure where to go from here.