A big change in the weather this morning. The temperature has dropped overnight, it’s almost chilly. The sky’s not quite its usual hazy blue, but paler, half-smothered in clouds. And the noise outside is gone too. No ear-stabbing traffic, no blasting stereos, no packs of roaming barking dogs. It’s so quiet, we might be at home.
But wait! There’s not one, not two, but three massive suitcases at the foot of the bed. And the bed is different too: firmer, wider, nestling under a heavy layer of blanket and quilt. That bike box, the one that started this all off, leans imposingly against the wardrobe – our old wardrobe, not the tubular frame one in Apia. And there’s a strange sound under the bed, a kind of meowing, familiar somehow.
Heck, no wonder it’s cold! We’re home. We flew back to Wellington yesterday, sneaking in late at night and going straight to bed. No-one knows we’re home yet: friends, family, neighbours. If we keep Mum for a few days, they’ll think we’re still in Samoa. And perhaps in our hearts we still are.
But it feels good to be home, back with all our home comforts, back in a climate we’re more used to. So much that we’ve learnt during our time away, how another culture lives, smiles and thrives. How going more slowly is sometimes better than going fast, and how doing nothing at all is not always necessarily bad. And more to learn still, as the seeds of our experience germinate and grow within us.
It’s not all over yet though. There’s all the unpacking, the adjusting, the meeting friends and boring them Samoa-less. There’s a heap of Samoan books – RLS, an account of the tsunami – waiting to be read too. There may even be a couple more blogs, already written but never published.
Plus we can’t forget all our good friends still over there in Apia, all the people living and working in our appartment block, plus all the ex-pats and local Samoan people we met. And black dog too. Hopefully one day we’ll return to see some of them.
Ted and Teresa remain there too, at least until December. And if Ted’s new business takes off, I’m sure we’re going to hear more from them.