My father broke my mother's heart and left her for a younger, thinner woman.  In retaliation (or you can even say in self-hate), she married an Australian religious zealot (I am, alas, a quarter Australian through my maternal grandfather, so this wasn't so outlandish) and shipped us out of the US.  My father fought, but did not win, and had to be content with the occasional summer trip Tammy and I took back to the US.

After nearly 5 years, my mother's homesickness forced us back into the States, where again we would face the obstacles of being foreign children (our accents were thick and we used words other kids had never heard of - we learned to fight quickly).

I wouldn't trade the experience for anything, because it did give me a knowledge base that not many others around me have.  I was exposed to a completely different culture, and for awhile, was dirt poor.  I became a child fighter. 

But this time did not come without pain, and I missed my father horribly; the man I was raised by would rather use a fist than a hug to communicate.  But you cannot change the past.  I am who I am because of it.

 

The first picture is Tammy and I in our first house in Brisbane, Australia.  We are helping Mother in the kitchen.  The second picture is Mom, Tammy and I on some amusement park ride.

The first picture is Mother, Tammy, me and my grandmother through my step-father's side.  My Australian grandparents are wonderful people.  The second picture is Tammy and me visiting our cousins and grandparents in their house in Brisbane.

Brisbane became a memory after two years, when my parents accepted the position of overseeing the religious camp up in the mountains, the beginning of the Great Divide in Queensland, Australia.  The first picture is of me standing barefoot outside of our "house", the caretaker's shack - it was tinier than my first apartment, tin roof, and the bathroom was wide open (the window right there looks into the bathroom).  The "amenities" aside, Tammy and I loved it, because there was so much land, so many weird creatures (Koocobarrows, snakes, trapdoor spiders) and we would just run and play like crazy.

The second picture is at our one room school house.  It was an hour drive, and we had to wear these puke brown uniforms.  I hated that school.

The first picture is of me and Tammy touching a Koala at a park somewhere.  Yes, nice hair on me; Mother was in that bowl-cut stage.  The second picture is Tammy and me in a US airport on one of our many visits back to the US to see our father.  My Australian, maternal grandfather is with us.  He would come with us sometimes, back to Australia, to see the rest of our extended family.
 

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