Day 1. 13 pages, 4,665 words.
Well, tally ho and howdy do, motherfuckers. I’m back.
Actually, if I’m being honest, I’ve been back for a week – but I’ve been worn out and a little bit sick and I had to go straight back to work, so I just slacked off for a few days, getting back into the swing of it and getting my head around a few things.
Also, sneakily working my way back into the next book, as you can see – sneakily working my way back in with a bang.
Our trip to Australia was fun. No major crap-ups, no unreasonably frayed tempers with my family despite some pretty exceptional circumstances (not really ready to talk about it here). Heck, my dad and I even spent five hours putting together an Ikea bedroom set, and there was nary a discouraging word spoken. Although I did have to keep him on the read-the-manual rails a few times, when he was perhaps inclined to go from page 7 to page 19 because he thought he knew what pages 8-17 had on them. But still, for me and my dad, that’s pretty massive.
 There were a few old friends I feel bad about not making more of an effort to catch up with. But there’s always next time.
It was so nice to spend time with my brother, and my sister and nieces. The twins are growing up so fast, with their iPads and their Taylor Swift and their silks and acro. It was brilliant to get Wump and Toop over there to play with their cousins – they were so sweet together. It was especially nice to just get Wump over to her ancestral homeland, at an age where she’ll hopefully remember at least a bit of it.
Including, but not limited to, “the beach is awesome, waves are fun, and the water is salty so don’t drink it.”
Since moving to Finland in 2000, I’ve fielded a lot of questions – on both sides of the pond – about whether I’ll be moving back home, whether I like Finland more, whether I miss Australia, why I moved in the first place. For a long time I suffered that weird displacement unique to immigrants – wherever I went, I was leaving home behind. I was also going home, but I was doing so at the expense of friends and family, who I didn’t want to be without.
And a lot of that is still true. I miss my family and friends over in Australia. I love them all and it always excites me when we start getting ready to take a trip. I do like the place – it’s nice, even in the middle of winter – and there’s all that lovely fast food. And flavoured milks. Don’t get me started on flavoured milks. Finland, get your flavoured milk shit together.
 Actually, especially in the middle of winter.
This time was the first time I’d been back to Australia since 2008. An awful lot had changed. The Perth skyline had changed. I can’t say I like it. The place itself is much the same as ever, the people more or less what I remember. Perth’s a pretty small town and it gets a lot of stuff right, so there’s not much call for it to change. Politically, and socially, Australia is one of those places that I guess needs a kick in the backside, but I’m a white heterosexual male between the age of 25 and 55, so fair to say none of its problems are going to inconvenience me.
We went, we saw the sights, we caught up with friends and family and we filled our cases with gifts for ourselves and for our friends and family back in Finland. Then we went out the airport, I gave my mum and dad and brother a hug, and we took off. And I realised something.
I had gone on a holiday to Australia with my wife and kids, to visit family over there. I’d enjoyed myself, caught up with old friends, and seen the sights. I’d bought tuliaisia.
And then I’d come home.
I was going to wax philosophical about that for a few more paragraphs, but the whole thing just hit me pretty hard so I’m going to post this now and have a bit more of a think about it.