Home – Where The Heart Is

We were at Alex and Li Har’s on Sat night and left relatively early. Kiddo was arriving from Singapore the next morning at 6.30. Also, we’d been working on the garden a lot earlier in the day.

After a week of strangely cool and wet start to the summer, Sat was gloriously sunny and mildly warm. We were itching to start working as early as 8am but we thought we’d be inviting poor reaction from our neighbours if we powered up the tools that time of a Saturday morning. So we did some internal work – vacuuming and the like for an hour or so until we heard someone else up the street with his mower. So I stopped the vacuuming (Tress took over) and went out and started the hedge trimmer. That was just after 9am.

It was just after 1pm when I got into the house and after catching up with Mitchell Johnson’s heroics against England to have us sitting pretty to wind the second Test in Adelaide, I washed up and we went to Madam K’s as usual. After lunch we got the groceries we needed for the dinner at Alex’s, then went home and watched some more cricket before skyping with Kiddo before she pushed off to Changi Airport.

At Alex’s as is often the case, we caught up with some people we hadn’t met for a while but also made some new acquaintances. Malaysians continue to make their way to Australia and make a life for themselves away from the fecundity of corruption, bad practices, racism and bigotries that characterises the administration of the Malaysian BN government as well as the civil service. Having lived here for nearly 10 years, the novelty and the attached romanticism has well and truly be shorn off to reveal the warts and all that. And yet I’d sooner put up with such imperfections than cop the Malaysian malaise.

A family we recently came to know, and who have only been here a couple of days, have just told us their eldest son has been offered a postgraduate course in medicine. They are very happy – we met the young man before and he is a pleasant, courteous, responsible, hardworking and intelligent person. In other words, just another blot that represents that massive brain drain that has been taking place for decades now. I don’t think any of the families we met at Alex’s on Saturday night thought they made a wrong choice in moving to Australia.

We woke early on Sunday morning, made coffee and toasts, and just as we were about to leave, Tress read a face book message from Kiddo saying they had landed around half an hour earlier. She was making her way through immigration and customs so we shot out the door, got in the car with the little black jedi, and tried not to drive too fast as we headed to Tullamarine.

Kiddo ended up waiting for us, but soon we were home and it felt wonderful to have her home again. We had time to shower, changed and then went to church as always, to listen to a next segment on the Advent Conspiracy. ‘Spend Less” was the challenge and last night at home we had on the Better Homes and Gardens program and a segment was on getting gifts off the store of a sponsor, Big W. The message in church was ringing at the back of my head and I wonder how retailers would react to something like Part 2 of the Advent Conspiracy. Wouldn’t a thriving retail industry bring benefits to the society at large in any event? Wouldn’t the multiplier effect of some sort work its magic through the economy so that the intended beneficiary of “Spend Less” of the Advent Conspiracy would in fact be better off if people not heed the call and instead, do as everyone else does at this festive season – ie spend the average of $1,200 per person on gifts? There’s always a counter argument isn’t there?

And so I was glad when Jordan Hitchcock quoted CS Lewis in his sermon on “Spend Less’ segment of the Advent Conspiracy, and said our charitable work must be such that it impedes our own enjoyment of resources entrusted into our stewardship. Until we are prevented from doing something because our charitable work consumed our resources, we have not done enough. I wonder if this is simply a better challenge to meet than to simply spend less.

As soon as church finished we left. Kiddo had been struggling to stay awake, having been awake for probably more than 20 hours at that stage (could be more…) We went to lunch and when we got home, the lounge soon became a snoozing space, as even I, as I watched Day 4 of the Second Ashes Test in Adelaide, fell asleep. Surely Australia was going to win and I had been hoping we could do it in 4 days but Joe Root was resolute and the Aussie bowlers looked like they were starting to tire at the grind and proceedings became sleep inducing. I had a glass of tonic water drizzled with a tiny splash of gin so maybe that made it easier to join Tress, Kiddo and LBJ as they wandered through dreamland on a warm Sunday afternoon at home.

It occurred to me then, that we often did that while living in Malaysia – ie snoozed at home on a warm (hot) Sunday afternoon. Not for the first time, the saying that home is where the heart, rang through. Seeing Tress, Kiddo (and LBJ) snoozing in the lounge made me feel I was truly at home as I knew that was where my heart was then.