or in my accent, thyme and spice

My former arch-nemesis having retired the field, I have decided that my new arch-nemeses – plural – are Time and Space. Many factors influenced this choice, including but not limited to: my father-in-law’s illness; my own parents’ advancing age, not to mention that of my appalling but much-loved cat; the cost of flights from San Francisco to Sydney; and weirdly enough, the 20th high school reunion that, like the tenth, I didn’t attend.

I will say I have a cool cohort. Last time around, mainstream media produced Romy and Michelle’s and Grosse Pointe Blank to coincide with my first decade outta school. This time it’s Liz Lemon in 30 Rock. She approached the event with the same nerdy trepidation I feel. High school was awful! Everyone was mean to me! Why would I want to go back? What Liz discovers is that her wicked comebacks scarred all her enemies for life. At this point I was falling off the sofa, laughing so hard there were tears in my eyes. For me, that would be something of a dream come true.

I have nothing but goodwill for all of the people who just friended me on Facebook in the wake of the Forest High School’s 20th, and several of whom I can almost recall. One, Steve Mackay – quite possibly the curly-haired Christian boy I pretended to have a crush on, to conceal the fact that my sexy dreams were all about girls – put it best when he asked: “What are you doing in America? You missed an awesome reunion!”

It’s not an easy question to answer. As a kid with no money for a plane ticket, how I loathed Germaine Greer and Clive James and their casual assumption of expat superiority. As a twenty-something grad student and then geek migrant, how casually I assumed expat superiority myself. Turns out it makes no difference whether you stay or go.

In superficial ways, sure – you leave one set of people behind, make new friends where you arrive. But I think about how my life and Jeremy’s would have turned out if we’d stayed – look at the friends in Sydney we are most like, and how things turned out for them – and I am forced to conclude it is a wash. Our Australianness asserted itself here, just as our not-Australianness would have asserted itself there. Wherever I go, there I am. Serves me right.

As it is, I miss my mum. I love San Francisco. I wish I could hang out more with my friends in London. I’m still trying to get lead remediation finished on the house. I have a frantic couple of weeks of work left before the end of the year. Claire finished her first piano book and started on her second. Julia got the memo about turning three, and has become a tiny, adorable banshee. Jeremy is as delicious as ever.

As for you, space-time continuum: you are On Notice.

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