Soon after Pete headed back to Australia, I felt his absence. Within a few days he was back home and back into the routine of his life. We had already planned that I would visit him in July for the One Project – Newcastle. Despite knowing the schedule, Peter began to put little bugs in my ear, saying, Rachel, why don’t you come and visit me now? You should come out and meet my family. My parents would be so happy to meet you! And then the clencher was, My father’s birthday is coming;, he’d be so happy to have you here for his birthday.
At first it was easy to listen to Pete’s requests. They were consistent but not too frequent. However, with the passage of time, Peter began asking me every day, several times a day, until finally, I said Peter, why do you keep saying this to me. And he said, because I really, really want to see you again. I paused and thought for a second. All of the obligations I had, I could fulfill remotely. I reasoned my way through it and concluded, I could work on my projects from Australia. Finally, after all of Pete’s persistence, I gave in. We purchased my ticket for Australia. The plans were set.
I distinctly remember my father asking me, as I headed out of the house, How long will you be gone for? Three weeks. I replied nonchalantly. With that, I headed off to the airport.
What seemed to be an eternity later, I arrived in Australia. It was everything Peter had described to me. It was like someone had plopped a city in the middle of a natural paradise. I was enchanted, enamored, excited, emotional and every other kindof e-word I could think of!
Over the next few weeks, I found all of Peter’s family and friends to be so loving and welcoming. I initially went out to Australia on a fact-finding mission, with a sense of purpose. Within moments of arriving and seconds of meeting people, my defenses were broken down. I felt very loved, and I decided in my heart that this was somewhere I could live.
When I hit the three week mark, it was finally time to return home. We headed towards the airport, as planned. Peter was driving. As we got closer and closer to the airport, I felt a sense of dread and incompletion. I felt as though I couldn’t take the plane that was waiting to carry me back home. So I put it out there. Peter, I said, I don’t want to go home. He looked at me lovingly and said, I don’t want you to go home. Just stay here. We talked it through. I called home and spoke with the airline and hours later, I found myself in Australia spending another 2 months there.
Sometimes you have to follow your heart!