The World Has Got Smaller

December 11, 2013 at 6:52 am 1 comment

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Did you notice that the world got smaller?

As I am working away in Australia for a couple of months it gave me pause to think about how much smaller the world has come in just one generation. Traveling over long distance is more affordable and quicker than it has ever been. Maintaining contact with people in across time zones and distance is also much, much easier.

When I was a kid I lived in Birmingham in the UK. I lived with mom, dad, my sister, and my nan. I lived on the same street as my dad’s eldest sister and her husband, who lived in the house where my dad was born. I lived on the same street as my mom’s elder sister and her husband and my three cousins, until they moved round the corner – literally five doors away – into the home where my uncle’s parents had lived until they died. And my own grandma and granddad (mom’s parents) moved into the house that they vacated. My dad had been best friends growing up with my uncle who married my mom’s sister.

Are you keeping up? Despite how it seems, we came from a fairly diverse gene pool, and were not accustomed to the sound of a banjo playing in the background…..

But, suffice to say that the world I lived in was fairly small back then. The rest of the world was much bigger and far, far away. My dad and my uncle (the best friend) worked at the factory at the bottom of the road. Junior school was walking distance and grammar school was a bus ride away. The only time we left Birmingham was to go on holiday. Holidays were spent in the UK and we often went with my nan, my grandma and granddad, my aunt, uncle and cousins and the odd other (or should that be “other odd”?) relative along for the ride. The much bigger world was unattainable and unaffordable. It was a long way away.

Australia was much further away back in the day. On Sunday mornings there used to be a radio phone-in show on BRMB radio where the prize was that the station would pay for a phone call to a relative that had emigrated to Oz or New Zealand or some other far-flung vestige of the Empire. And, now we have Skype, Face Time, email, etc.

But the world has shrunk. Everywhere is much closer and getting there is much quicker.

And so now, one of those cousins who had lived in the street where I grew up lives in Auckland. And, one of his daughters – a Kiwi – works as an au pair in London. I have another cousin in Perth. My baby sister-in-law lived in Vienna for a year. My mother-in-law is spending Christmas with another daughter who now lives in Doha having recently been in Bangkok for six months (we suspect her husband is running away from a dark secret!).

By the time I leave Australia I will have, over the last thirteen months, spent one hundred and thirty days outside of the UK and fifty five days working away from home in the UK.

There are certain aspects of the good old bigger world that I miss – my wife, the cat, my bed…..

My sister on the other hand lives within walking distance of the house we grew up in as children and holidays in Tenby every year……..

 

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We Should Have Booked…. British and Proud!

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