I was struggling for a word this week. I knew what I wanted to say but couldn't find a single world, I considered "greetings" and "farewells" but neither was quite right. I asked The Husband whether there was a single word that means saying hello and goodbye simultaneously. "Ciao" was the immediate reply. There was no denying he was absolutely correct and so ciao it is, although decorated in the Aussie green and gold rather than the Italian tricolour.
In the last week we had a reunion with a relative in Brisbane who we had last seen at our wedding, followed by a goodbye soon after. We flew from Brisbane back to Sydney to be reunited with all of the family we had left behind when we set off on our drive up the east coast. There was much celebrating for Australia Day with a huge family gathering and there have been some lovely days this week filled with recurring hellos and goodbyes with our family in New South Wales.
Then finally over the last few days and up to this morning (Thursday night in England) we had the bigger goodbyes. The final ones, for now, with so many people who have spent the last few weeks welcoming us into their homes and showing us around the sights. It is so bittersweet to grow close to relatives and find how well you get on only to have to say goodbye and travel so very far away from them. Important, instead, to be grateful for having seen them and made so many great memories; though that doesn't stop tears at the departure gate (and maybe just a few now, as I sit on the plane writing this).
But after departures comes arrivals, and the fabulous prospect of saying hello to my parents, and Millie too. After three weeks away there is a building excitement at the thought of being back where we belong, sharing stories and pictures with those closest to us and getting the chance for the much missed hugs from my mum. The wonderfully warm welcome of home awaits. There are longed for hellos to come, making the goodbyes that have gone more bearable. Ciao.