So, last week saw me making a brief return to Melbourne - a total of four days, which was originally three, but my return flight was cancelled!
Being back in my home turf was strange - like sleepwalking through a dream. It was all very familiar, but never felt real. I did a lot of the random things that I missed when I was away, like seeing films at the Nova and the Kino, or eating a souvlaki from Jimmy Grant's, or drinking from the tap, or just wandering through the leafy suburbs and taking in the fresh air. And it was cold - gloriously so! I've always been a cold weather person, which is partially why I wanted to go to Hanoi, being one of the least tropical of development work destinations (my other preferred choices being Ulaanbatar or Kathmandu). I look forward to the winter here.
It was also a brief return to libraryland, and I presented at the ALIA National Conference, looking at the various adventures that one could have with a librarianship qualification, including moving interstate, travelling overseas, and exploring related fields. Being at the conference was a bit of a blast from the past - the who's who of my professional past were there, and there was a bit of an ongoing game of "Where are they now?" It's also interesting chatting to other professionals who are at a similar stage in their profession, and I often wonder where I might be now if certain deciding factors along my career had been different. It's certainly a diverse field, and five years now I could be working anywhere, be it a research library, NGO, arts festival or with Indigenous communities.
But almost as quickly as I arrived, I was gone. This moment has already become a fleeting (albeit expensive) memory in my career, and I don't have plans to return until I've finished my assignment here. Upon my return to work yesterday, I was struck by how difficult I found getting back into the mindset of working here. It was like my trip to Melbourne had hit a reset button in my brain, and now I needed to go through the whole cultural adjustment process again.
It wasn't the best of days, but I know they'll get better again.