Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Times of the Symes' - The interviews

Because we have had this weekend at home, rather than put out a very limited travelogue for the week (Wayne went to school and back, the boys went to school and back, Meg took the others to school and picked them up, she also went to a job interview) we thought it might be nice to hear from us how things have been going in the three months since we arrived in the UK. Wayne took the opportunity to ask Meg and the boys some questions. The questions, and their answers, are recorded below.

WAYNE - So Meg, what have you enjoyed about living in the UK so far?

MEG - I don’t even know, well, I’ve enjoyed the sensation of living in another country. I’ve enjoyed reacquainting myself with the children, but make it sound a bit softer than that if possible. You’re mean to me. I’ve especially enjoyed the four seasons.

WAYNE - In three months?

MEG - I’ve really enjoyed the weather changes. Although it is cold, provided you dress properly it is not a huge problem. You type very slowly?

WAYNE - (sounds of frantic typing, followed by) OK.

MEG - OK. so where were we up to.

WAYNE - (reading back) …provided you dress properly it is not a huge problem.

MEG - Something I didn’t expect to have enjoyed has been the friendliness of the people here. And the travel. Seeing new things.

WAYNE - Which place has been your favourite of the places that we have visited?

MEG - Home, because it now feels like home. The place I probably took the most from, and it is hard because you take something from each place, but it was probably Rochester.

WAYNE - Why was that?

MEG - I really did get a huge sense of the enormity of what we’ve done and what we’ve achieved.

WAYNE - What do you mean by that?

MEG - How many other people have walked through the gates, not just from this century but from others, and we could have walked through it as tourists, but we made a commitment not just to see the world but to see it properly. I’m really proud that we have been able to do that. And just the sense of history, I feel like I am a part of history now. Does that make sense? I have a place here.

WAYNE - What do you miss most?

MEG - The obvious family and friends

WAYNE - (Being deliberately obtuse) What only the obvious ones?

MEG - No, obviously family and friends. I miss the stability of monotony. But I am also relieved to not have it. I think it is the familiar things and you do miss them, but there is also a sense of adventure as you do realise that although something may not be the same it can be equally as good, it is just different. And I like that.

WAYNE - Is there anything else you would like to add to this e-letter?

MEG - Just how much we miss everybody and how we understand that they miss us, and that they would prefer that we didn’t go, but this was something we needed to do, and wanted to do. And we are so fortunate that we have been given the opportunity to do it, so we are going to do it well.

WAYNE - (finishes typing Meg’s answers)

MEG - Now, what are your answers?

WAYNE - (thoughtfully) 7, green and Appalachian.

MEG - (growing slightly frustrated at Wayne’s refusal to be serious) No. What has been your favourite part? I’m waiting.

WAYNE - I’m still typing too slowly. Um, my favourite part has been finding just how easy it has been for us to adapt to a different culture. We still come across some obvious things (words that are used differently and accents for example) but there is so much over here that is similar to Australia, that the cultural wrench hasn’t been as bad as it might have been. I’ve been really proud of the boys in particular for how well they have adapted and really fitted in well at school and in society.

MEG - Next question.

WAYNE - I’ve loved all the places that we have been to. Wells was great, seeing where Hot Fuzz was filmed, being in what is really a village, although it is classed as a city, seeing the Welsh border on the way there, and realising just how easy it is to drive to a new country. Rochester was a very beautiful place, as was Upnor on the way there. Salisbury was gorgeous too, but for me, my favourite has probably been Old Sarum, just being able to put a place to the history that I had read about in the past. I’ve been reading a History of Britain in the 19th Century in the last week or so, and Old Sarum has come up a few times. Now I know what it actually feels like to be there. Besides which, it is part of Thomas Hardy country, and I wrote my thesis on him.

MEG - Next question, is it what do you miss?

WAYNE - Not much.

MEG - If you took the people out of the equation it would be nothing?

WAYNE - That is correct.

MEG - (glaring at him) Could you give a proper answer?

WAYNE - Family and friends, but I am so shocking at keeping in contact with people that I probably talk to many of them as much now as I did when I lived in the same country as them. Some people have probably heard more from me in the last 3 months than they had in the 12 months prior to that. In the end, I miss Callum, Declan and Ethan. I didn’t get to see them very often last year, but there was a sense that if I could have got to Sydney, then I would have been able to see them. That isn’t quite as easy now, but at least I can talk to them on the phone regularly.

MEG - Is there anything you would like to add Wayne?


MEG - How about thanking your parents?

WAYNE - OK. Thanks Mum and Dad, for everything. And obviously I am really sincere when I say that. (he laughs)

MEG - Don’t say that, no one will believe you really are sincere.

For some reason the answers given by the boys were slightly shorter than the previous answers, but you should be able to tell from reading them that these are pretty much word for word what the boys said.

WAYNE - Quinn, what have you enjoyed most about living in the UK so far?

QUINN - Um, the people are really nice, and the cold weather.

WAYNE - What is your favourite place that you have been to so far and why?

QUINN - Probably Stonehenge because it looked really cool.

WAYNE - What do you miss most about Australia?

QUINN - I don’t know… Family and all the warm weather.

WAYNE - Is there anything else you would like to say to all the people that read this e-letter.

QUINN - Yes. Hello!

WAYNE - Brock, what have you enjoyed most about living in the UK so far?

BROCK - The people and the weather.

QUINN - Don’t steal my stuff.

BROCK - I’m not, I’m just saying.

WAYNE - What is your favourite place that you have been to so far and why?

BROCK - Stonehenge, because I wanted to before I died.

WAYNE - What do you miss most about Australia.

BROCK - Family and friends.

WAYNE - Is there anything else that you would like to say to the people who read this e-letter?

BROCK - I like cheese.

So, as you can see, we really are enjoying being here. One of the things that has made it easier has been all the people that have contacted us in one way or another. Thanks for your phone calls, texts, email, and even the occasional letter that people have sent us. We really do appreciate them all. Hope everything is treating you all well.

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