We seem to have reached a crossroads in our Antipodean Adventure, to stay or to go, that is the question. It feels like probably the biggest and most daunting decision I have made since I decided that Arsenal Football Club were mine for life. Head says stay in the lovely hot country that is economically sound, full of opportunity and has national holidays for horse races. Head wins surely? You would think so but the stubborn heart yearns for things that Australia simply can’t offer, family and friends all wrapped up in a traditional quaint package and served up on a lace doily. Every time heart almost wins the battle, head will annoyingly force him to acknowledge the latest riot, protest, budget cut, tax increase or series of Big Brother.
If England was a girl she would be a complex character. She would play hard to get, teasing you with the promise of a dirty weekend away before getting cold feet and playing the headache card. There would be days (usually summer days following a walk in the country washed down with a refreshing pint of flat, warm ale) when you would gladly get down on one knee and ask her to marry you and then there would be others where you would insist on some fairly stringent pre-nuptials. Four years ago we decided we had grounds for divorce, the old magic was no longer there, I found her tiresome and unappealing and wanted to trade her in for a younger racier model.
Life in Australia is good, we eat out a lot, enjoy walks on the beach, throw shrimps in and around bbq’s, ride kangaroos to work and get called Poms (or miserable bloody pom, pommy bastard, whinging bloody pom), some sort of Australian term of endearment I think? If Australia were a girl she would be a buxom blonde, with a bubbly personality, but she might be a bit thick. For all that Australia gives, and she gives a lot and I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, scratch the surface and its a bit empty for me, with no memories or culture to value.
Apparently though it’s not all about me and it has to be the right thing for my family and for Max. Do I one day want him to say, “gday pops, wanna come down the oval and kick the footy with me and my mates?’ or is it to be “alright dad, fancy kicking the football around the park with me and some chums?”. Hhhhm, perhaps that isn’t a great example. Bogan or a chav? Meat pies or fish n chips? Professional Soccer or Aussie Rules player? Flip Flop or thong? Budgie smugglers or Speedos? Neighbours or East Enders? As you can tell this is quite a quandary.
A recent trip back to England was supposed to show us that she wasn’t all she was cracked up to be. We were surely looking back at her with rose tinted beer goggles. But she took us in, gave us a nice big hug and told us she was sorry. She was sorry for all the mood swings and promised she could make this work. She gave us the whole “come back and it will all be different” speech and turned our heads, the chemistry was still there, she had shown us a good time. For most men of course this is the stuff of dreams, two women, sorry countries, vying for your affection, two perfectly good countries, both attractive in their own ways. Not for me, I have always found that one women and/or country was plenty.
Regrettably I don’t have an answer; I have pointless metaphors and analogies about relationships with women. I have deliberations, considerations, contemplations, suggestions, propositions, reflections, observations and all sorts of other words that end in “tions”, but I have no answer.