My Warsaw odyssey is over. I'm home again after five months away during which I learnt to live without language, practise dependence and be a grandmother of twins. I have great doubts about whether I can call it absolutely home, though, since I've left my daughter and her family and part of my heart behind.
The flight I'd been dreading turned out to be not so bad. An aisle seat made a big difference. I watched a Woody Allen movie and a Paul Kelly documentary, and figured out how to create a music playlist for myself. The real entertainment was a delightful one year old from Dublin, en route to New Zealand, who became King of the Cabin from his drop-down cot on the bulk head. He grinned and gurgled and wore his plate on his head, and played with the 6 month old in the cot next door, and sucked a giant plastic ice cream dummy and went to sleep when the cabin lights dimmed.
Unlike me. I managed about 4 hours sleep out of 40 and didn't feel it till the bus from Nowra when I slept so deeply I failed to hear my mobile ringing. The bus was no doubt amused by the ring tone: my Australian granddaughter's voice mounting to a crescendo: “Nanny Meg! Nanny Meg! The phone's ringing. Pick up the phone! Pick up the phone!” while I dozed on oblivious.
The colour scheme of home took a bit of getting used to: green and blue, instead of the winter black and white of Warsaw. As I walked along the sandy track behind the dunes, I felt the parallel presence of cobblestones. The drive to Moruya was shadowed by the 116 bus from Plac Krasińskich to ul Kostrzewskiego. The sound of friar birds and surf cloaked the memory of Warsaw noises, police sirens and snow shovelling, the only sounds that penetrated the double glazing of the apartment.
There were babies everywhere. At the doctor's surgery I was charmed by chubby feet kicking from a pram. I itched to move so I could see the whole baby. Finally he threw Bert from the pram, and I got a good look as I recovered his toy and handed it to him. He was 6 months old, and I knew then that I need to return to Warsaw in July to see my babies when they too are half a year.
Thank you to Franki and Meg for flowers to welcome me back.