After the buildup, the tension, the emotions and now finally being able to tick the box “Resident returning to Australia” – actually landing in Australia felt like a bit of an anti-climax. Without so much as a “welcome home” from the immigration officer, we were through and shopping at the duty-free before we knew it. We collected our luggage…all 19 pieces…and staggered out the doors without so much as a second glance from the Customs officials.
By now it was about 8.30 pm. Feeling tired and slightly eager, slightly apprehensive, we lugged our stuff to the meeting point and looked out for the taxi man who was supposed to collect us in his pre-booked people mover. To our dismay, he was nowhere to be found. Hubby grabbed my Singapore mobile and went off to investigate while I stayed put with the six bags, five backpacks, four suitcases, three kids, two oversized totes, one car seat and a computer bag. And so we waited…and waited…and waited until the moment I’d been dreading arrived.
“Mum, I need the toilet!”
Eying off the mountain of bags I knew there was no way I could shift them and the kids into a cubicle, no matter how desperate T was. Unable to spot my husband in the crowd, I tried to gauge how urgent the nature call was. He wasn’t quite hopping from foot-to-foot yet so I figured I had at least around ten minutes or so before I had to find an empty plastic bottle.
Eventually I spotted hubby in the distance, still on hold while the taxi company tried to locate the driver who was probably only ten feet away from us. I started to wonder whose kidney I’d sell to cover the cost of the call. I gesticulated madly for him to come back to watch the bags while we took off for the nearest toilet.
We took up residence again next to our bags and pondered what to do next as the power drained slowly from my mobile and my resolve to stay calm. But how friendly are Australians? A lady from another cab company must have sensed our predicament and wandered over to ask what the holdup was. I explained the situation and she knew the taxi company concerned. She jumped on her phone and finally, after another half-hour, we located the driver who was parked in a random coach bay about a ten minute walk away. By that stage we were beyond caring about why he wasn’t at the meeting point – we were just grateful that he was there.
So, lesson learned? Before you fly, confirm the meeting spot with the relocation company and/or the taxi company to make sure that both you – and especially the driver – get to the right spot at the right time when you land.
And so we were off and crikey, it was cold! After the haze and heat in Singapore, the air here was so fresh it hurt my teeth when I smiled. We shivered in the back of the van until the heating kicked in. The day caught up with the older two and there were a few tears along the way until S noticed the sky.
“Look Mummy, up there!”
The night sky was clear, studded with stars twinkling high above as far as the eye could see. A crescent moon smiled down, seemingly upon us and the tears dried up as the kids saw the Melbourne skyline lit up at night for the first time.
We were home. And I can’t wait for the kids to make it their home too.