Wednesday, November 20, 2013


I watch through the glass in our front door. A small child with a woman who I rightly guess is her nana are crouched down low, intently studying our garden.

I step outside and say hello. The woman tells me that her grand-daughter is fascinated by our garden gnomes. This makes me smile.

Australian? I ask, picking up on her accent.


I wait for her to say You too. And wait.

So am I. I'm Australian too.

Oh, she says. You've picked up the American twang.

I laugh and we keep talking. She is visiting from Sydney, originally from South Africa.

It is happening more and more. The blank look when I say "Australian?", as if I'm just another busy body American playing pick the accent. I am no longer instantly recognisable as one of their own.

My sister calls. She asks if I have started buying Christmas presents. Not yet I say. We still have Thanksgiving to get through.

My life has taken on a different rhythm. American seasons and celebrations shape our days. Summer no longer means the long hot Christmas break. And for all intents and purposes the year ends in June rather than December.

My 3rd grader has been studying the Ohlone Native American tribe. He wants to know if maybe we have a grandfather or great-grandfather who was Ohlone.

No, I say. We are Australian so that wouldn't really be possible.

But I'm American, he fires back. And it's true. He is.

We all are. When we pass through customs we line up in the citizens queue. At both ends. I just have to remember to pull out the right passports.

And when the wheels touch down - in Sydney or San Francisco - I experience that sense of relief that comes from knowing that, finally, we have arrived home.


  1. Hello, I'm an American born in the Midwest, but I lived in the south for 10 years and that was long enough to pick up a bit of a Southern drawl. Now back in the northern states, I can tell it's slipping away as I return to my natural accent.
    Great post, home is where you're at I suppose.