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Comparisons between two places ...


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Hi all!

I haven't been on the forums for some time - kind of got sidetracked by so many other things over the past 8 months or so. Life has a habit of doing that sometimes :ilikeit: Thought I'd pop in to see what's happening and got absorbed in all the various threads :ilikeit:

I had to go back to Melbourne for a week last year as my elderly mum passed away. She'd had a very good life of 88 years, and although it was a sad occasion, it turned out to be a happy occasion also in a way as all the family got together, a rare event in itself these days, and this was like mum's last gift to us all. I wish my wife could have come with me, but her health prevents her from travelling, the reason we live in SA and never moved to Aus.

It seems funny going back after so long ... having lived in Joburg the past 3 years it really made me see the difference. The first night I was back, it was too late to do anything much, so my brother (down from Sydney) and I went walking up Sydney Road (Brunswick - a northern suburb of Melbourne) late at night, popping into a few bars along the way to have a drink together and chat about old times and reminisce. A bit of a pub crawl I suppose you may say, just two brothers catching up after not having seen each other for so long.

It really struck me seeing the old town ... the old trams rattling up the centre of the road were so familiar yet so novel being I hadn't seen them for so long. There was no concern about getting mugged, and it really struck me how easygoing everyone was - everyone in the pubs we went into was as good as a mate. There were no mini vans posing as "taxis", no people riding on the back of bakkies, no beggers at the intersections. Popped into a fish and chip shop - maaaate! Those fried dim sims and potato cakes were heavenly!!! Almost 4 years without a dim sim - forgot how much I loved the things. Grabbed a four and twenty pie at the 7-11 on the way back to the motel we were staying at. And get this, the motel was being run by an expat South African.

It was great catching up with family, but it also made me realise how the littlest of things can be the things we miss most. A four n Twenty pie for cryin' out loud? It's nothing to rave about - very ordinary I suppose as I get pies from the local Checkers here that are better, but it was something I'd grown up with and missed. AFL footy ... watching my beloved Bombers take on the Blues on TV. Arnotts bikkies were another - I think my suitcase was half full of the things when I came back to Joburg and my wife and in laws loved the things :blink:

It also made me see Melbourne through new eyes - what I always took for granted had a charm and appeal to it I'd never seen or appreciated before.

Since being back in Joburg, the main house in front of the cottage my wife and I live at has been burgled once, with the three low lifes threatening to kill the maid (thank God they didn't think to go to the cottages as my wife was totally alone and defenceless there), and last month the guy in the cottage next to us was hijacked at gunpoint just outside the main driveway as he waited to come in.

Yet the other funny thing? When I was in Melbourne, I realised how much I'd miss South Africa if I knew I weren't going back. Despite all the crime etc, I'd miss my work place, my South African workmates, my South African in laws.

I miss Melbourne terribly at times, but I know I'd miss SA if we ever went back permanently. For all of you moving from SA to Aus, especially to Melbourne, I think "you lucky buggers" ;) Yet I also understand how difficult it would be too leaving what has been your home all your life behind. It's a funny thing, almost like having two homes.

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