It’s already 2020 back home. The new year has started while we wait for it to begin here.

I was going to head to a museum to distract myself from the absence of good friends, but our boy absolutely refused.

“No. No. Nope. Not another museum,” he muttered.

So we went shopping the post Christmas sales instead. We wandered around Kingston upon Thames. Bought a couple of cushions and a pair of shoes. Just killing time until the world moves into the next decade.

We Skype called friends in Sydney, texted my side of the family, and tried not to miss them too much.

On my phone, social media threw up terrifying images of old holiday destinations going up in flames; of fire fighters ducking for cover as the embers rained down and the fire roared.

Places of pristine white beaches were now covered in smoke and ash.

The authorities have moved entire townships to those beaches. They have asked people to huddle in the water for safety as the fire devours their homes and possessions.

As a disaster recovery volunteer, I may have helped out at one of the evacuation centres had I been back home. But I’m not there. I’m here. And I don’t know what to do other than pray for rain.

I can only watch on and do nothing; burying my head in the everyday distractions of this cold winter city half a world away.

We are going to brave the London crowds tonight. My husband finishes work at 10:30 pm. Our son and I am going to meet him and we are going to walk to Westminster to hear Big Ben chime in the new year.

A new year. A new decade. Time seems to be marching relentlessly on. Ready or not, in a few hours it will be 2020.

I moved to Sydney twenty years ago thinking I would only stay there a few years before coming back to my hometown. Then in 2000, I made a decision that changed my life. I came to believe that Jesus died for me. I realised that my life wasn’t my own to squander, but instead was saved for a purpose; to love God and to love others.

That purpose has transformed the decisions I’ve made. I left my career in publishing, began working for a church charity, started advocating and working with people who needed support.

I also married a good man. And in a blink, I gave up a job I loved and am here with my family, making a new home in a new country.

This blog, Nomad, has been a safety blanket during the last few years. Thank you to everyone who have stopped by and offered encouragement as I found people to profile and memories to capture.

As I settle and get to know this country and its people better, I hope to write more community profiles again. I am sure there are many quiet heroes doing good work behind the scenes here in London.

For all back home and around the globe, I wish you all the very best in 2020. I hope it treats you kindly. Don’t be too harsh with your New Year’s resolutions because you are plenty loved and forgiven, flaws and all.

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