On a recent trip to Europe I met my Uncle Hermann and Aunty Elfriede in the most stunning location, Halstatt, before travelling through Steyr (my father's home town) and then onto Kleinramming, the hamlet in which my mother was born and grew up. There I met my Aunty Edde for the first time, and saw the 700 year old house in which she still lives and where my mother was raised. (I also met Gudrun, my cousin, and her daughter, Lena - but that's for the next post!)
I can't explain the mixture of feelings, but one was certainly regret. Regret that my visit was so very brief. But still, in the short time I had, I experienced something I had not experienced before, and that was a real sense of having family beyond my immediate family. It's not that I have never met some of my relatives before, Hermann and Elfriede, Wernhard and Therese have holidayed in Australia, but this was different. I was on their patch, where their roots were, and there was a small part of me that seemed to lock into those roots, that felt an ever so slight but still palpable sense of belonging.