I have an idea that some men are born out of their due place. Accident has cast them amid certain surroundings, but they have always a nostalgia for a home they know not … They may spend their whole lives aliens among their kindred and remain aloof among the only scenes they have ever known. Perhaps it is this sense of strangeness that sends men far and wide in the search of something permanent, to which they may attach themselves.
After the coup of 1987, more than 150,000 mostly Indo-Fijians left Fiji for other countries, principally North America and Australasia. The best and the brightest have left and many more would if they only could, draining the country of the talents and skilled manpower it can ill-afford to lose. There is by now much information available on the sociology and economics of migration from Fiji, but rather little is known about the extent of rupture and emotional trauma that displacement entails. The following story aims to capture the private experience of a couple of Indo-Fijians who migrated to Australia.
One by one they all went, selling their dream houses on Vale Levu Street in Tamavua’s Namadi Heights. Once the pride of the most desired suburb of Suva, the place now looked deserted, unkempt, full of household rubbish on the side of streets and stray dogs wandering aimlessly looking for food. Soon after 1987, Ram and his wife Sashi had migrated to Vancouver, Anish and Chitra left for Auckland and Ravi and Vikashni for Canberra. ‘This trickle will turn to a torrent, you just wait, Bro,’ Ram had said to me one day. And he was right too. It was not too long after the May 1987 coup that long queues formed in front of Australian, New Zealand and American embassies. Anyone who could leave was leaving. ‘Immigration to Emigration, that should be the title of your next tome, Doc,’ Anish had said. Ram, Anish and Krishna were my school mates from Labasa Secondary, sons of struggling canefarmers, like myself, but who had all done well. They had finished their commerce and law degrees in Auckland and Wellington, and were steadily climbing the local corporate ladder. Getting ahead in the quickest possible time was their main preoccupation. They felt genuinely sorry for me and my choice of a career as an historian.
‘Why history when you could have done anything you liked?’ Ram had wondered aloud once. ‘Do law, Bro,’ Ravi advised me. ‘It is not too late yet.’ ‘And what, become a liar?’ I had responded half in jest. ‘Well, better a rich liar than a pious pauper,’ he replied with a chuckle. ‘Making a difference is what life should be about,’ I had added, somewhat pompously. ‘Yes, Mahatamaji. Making a fast buck will do me,’ Anish had said, tapping me gently on the shoulder. True to their vocation and ambition, the three bought the best blocks on the street and built their dream homes modelled on architectural designs imported from Sydney and Auckland, double-storey structures with polished dakua and damanu (Fijian hardwood) floors, impressive barbeque sets, liquor cupboards full of the best imported spirits and wines, framed Monet and Picasso prints on the walls and the best local handicraft strategically displayed in the living room. It was their version of high living with class. What really upset them most about Rabuka’s coup was that it so rudely disrupted their dreams of living long and well in this part of town. ‘Fuck Fiji,’ Ram had said when he was leaving. ‘It is losing this house that really pisses me off.’ ‘And to see some bloody Fijian living in it,’ Ravi had spat out bitterly.
For a while, we lost touch with each other as we all went our different ways. A few years after migrating, I heard that Ram had died in a horrible road accident while driving from Vancouver to Edmonton. I did not know Sashi well. Anish is doing well in Auckland and we meet every so often, but he has made a new start and Fiji is falling off his mental map. ‘Why hanker for something that will never be yours,’ he once wrote to me. I knew many migrants who felt that way about Fiji. Ravi remained close because we lived in the same town for a while when I returned to Canberra after a spell in Hawai‘i before he moved to the western Sydney suburb of Newlands. A slightly idealistic streak in him appealed to me when Fiji was full of lawyers with no conscience or public mindedness. Vikashni was distantly related, the eldest daughter of Uncle Shiu Prasad of Waiqele, and that kept the link alive. Shared anxieties about starting afresh in a new place, the lurking fears of failure and losing face, the common demands of raising a young family in an unfamiliar cultural environment, had cemented the bonds.
Ravi and Vikashni and their two young children lived in Canberra’s southern suburbs, in one of the outer affordable suburbs of the town where many young, starting families had homes. Nappy Valley they called it. Vicki had no difficulty finding a job as a nurse at the local hospital, and the two children were enrolled in Duffy Primary. Ravi was less lucky. He was without a job. He found it difficult to break into the fairly close-knit Australian legal profession. The leading law firms were full, so he was told, and there was no vacancy at the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions where migrant lawyers tended to get a start. He did odd jobs as a consultant, which in truth meant menial, mind-numbing work most lawyers passed on to their lowly subordinates. But mostly he stayed at home, picking up kids from the school and doing odd jobs around the house. Once a week he stuffed junk mail in the neighbourhood mail boxes. On weekends, he worked at the Jamieson Shopping Centre as a trolley collector, meeting and swapping stories with men from similar backgrounds from different parts of the world: Sudan, Croatia, Turkey, Ethiopia. Meeting these men helped Ravi know that he was not alone in his depression and desperation. Although from different parts of the world, they all shared similar experiences: frustration at not having their qualifications recognised, difficulties with children’s expectations of parents, trying simply to survive with dignity.
Ravi was always on the quiet, almost withdrawn, side, but there was no hiding his unhappiness. In Fiji he was an up-and-coming lawyer, someone people looked up to, a figure of respect in the community, a trustee of many community schools, with a career in politics in the offing. In Australia, he had gone from being a little somebody to a big nobody, and prospects for improvement in the immediate future did not look bright. But he had his family to think of. Abhay and Apeksha had no future in Fiji, and he had no right to stand in their way. At least Vicki was employed. And Ravi tried to console himself that he was not alone in his predicament.
Vicki could see that Ravi was unsettled, and that disturbed her deeply. The last thing she wanted was to see him unhappy. She knew the sacrifices his family had made to see him through the law school. He was the first one in the family to finish secondary school. His parents had borrowed money to send him overseas, hoping that a foreign degree might give him a head start. In the typical Indian way, it was expected that after completing his law degree Ravi would help out with the education of his younger brothers, all bright boys with the potential to go places. That was the way things were done in Labasa, people getting out of the unending rural misery by standing on the shoulders of those who had gone before them. But, after 1987, it was thought best for Ravi to migrate so that he could one day sponsor all of them. Everyone was thinking that way.
Soon after Ravi had migrated, his father died of the heart attack he suffered when he had been told one day that his lease would not be renewed and that he would have to vacate his 10-acre (4-hectare) plot (to be leased out, it was later learnt, on a sharecropping basis, to the ever avaricious neighbour Mr Ram Jattan, who had quietly instigated the nonrenewal). Ravi knew then that his plans to settle down permanently in Australia would have to be put on hold for a while. Uppermost in his mind was the welfare of his elderly mother, Auntie Sukhdei. There were no close relations nearby to look after her. Migration papers would take a long time to be processed. Even if she did manage to leave, what would she do in Australia, someone illiterate in English and unfamiliar with western culture, cooped up in a suburban home with no Indo-Fijians in the neighbourhood? Ravi had seen some elderly lost-looking people passing time in shopping malls during winter, lonely, objects of pity, gawking vacantly at the passing human traffic. ‘Waiting to die,’ one of them had said to him one day.
‘Maybe, you should return to Fiji for a while, Rav,’ Vicki volunteered to Ravi one day. Ravi just looked at her somewhat startled by the suggestion. ‘I mean, for a short while till Mum is settled down. I will manage things here.’ ‘But what about Abbie and Apes?’ Ravi asked. ‘Oh, they will be fine. They are like their father strong, or maybe I should say stubborn like a mule,’ she said as she planted a kiss on his cheek. ‘Oh Vick,’ was all Ravi could manage. It was a brave and heartfelt gesture of support, but Ravi knew how hard it would be for Vicki raising two kids all by herself, running a household and working full-time. But he also knew in his heart that Vicki made sense.
A week or so later, Ravi rang Daven, his former law partner in Suva, to see if there was still a place for him there. ‘Just for a short while till things settle down. May be a year or two at the most.’ ‘For as long as you want, Bro,’ Daven said encouragingly. ‘The business is down, but we could do with a good litigator. And you were just about the best we had.’ ‘Flattery will get you somewhere big one day,’ Ravi replied relieved.
Ravi returned, rented a flat in Augustin Street and started where he had left off. The office staff welcomed him back warmly because they admired his kindly and compassionate ways. There was sympathy for him, perhaps more like pity. Soon life set into a routine. But charm and the excitement that had so animated life on the Vale Levu Street appeared to have deserted the city. Many of his close friends had left, were leaving, or making plans to go. Real estate prices were plummeting. The streets looked forlorn, full of potholes and filth, houses were unpainted and covered with soot and shops full of shoddy goods. His former suburb was a ghost of its earlier self; the promise of the early years disappearing without a trace. The old moral order seemed to be collapsing too. Incest cases had increased dramatically, the newspapers regularly carried horror stories about the sexual abuse of children, prostitution, suicide cases because of failure in exams or because of tangled love affairs, increasing divorce rates and domestic violence. Something in society was snapping—the sense of order and purpose and cohesiveness. Everyone seemed to be for themselves. Perhaps these had always existed, but they were becoming more visible now. Ravi found the sight of young girls and women from broken homes congregating at the Triangle or at the post office early in the evenings distressing.
Days were easy to pass, while he was occupied in the office or appearing in the courts. And there was the ever-present tanoa (kava bowl) and regular lunches at the Cottage, the local eatery. Nights were a nightmare for Ravi. It was not as if Augustin Street did not have nocturnal charms of its own. It was full of men, like Ravi, early to middle age, whose families were safely ‘parked’ outside the country but who had returned to resume their old jobs. There was plenty of duty-free liquor around, and boozy dinner parties were a regular feature of the street. Women were in plentiful supply too, single mothers, girls from desperately poor homes, university students earning much-needed cash on the side. ‘Buyer’s market,’ everyone said. Some men were secretly glad to have their wives out of the way so they could indulge their perverted sexual fantasies. But this was not Ravi’s way. He was a light drinker, and he missed his family. In an old-fashioned way, he believed sex outside marriage was sinful. He resolved that he would try and visit Vicki and the kids once every six to eight weeks.
These reunions were in the beginning joyous occasions. The kids enquired enthusiastically about ‘relos’ back home: Nana, Nani, about the neighbours and the kids, about Tipu their dog, and Rani the cat. Vicki cooked food that Ravi liked: spicy lamb and crab curry, various varieties of dhal. They frequented the Belconnen and Fyshwick markets for fish and fresh fruits and vegetables. Ravi went to Abhay’s soccer matches and to Apeksha’s musical performances. They hiked in the Brindabellas, had picnics at the Cotter Dam. Occasionally, they drove to Sydney for the weekend, and the kids enjoyed Darling Harbour. Vicki introduced Ravi to her friends, most of whom were working at the hospital. ‘The mystery man,’ they would joke. ‘Here today, gone tomorrow.’ An elderly man had said to him, ‘Be careful young man, Vicki is a real head turner.’ Vicki blushed, but Ravi never doubted her fidelity. Time flew. Before they knew it, it was time to return home. The goodbyes were heart-wrenching. Then the routine returned.
Both Ravi and Vicki knew that they would have to find ways of occupying themselves apart from work. Ravi joined the Rotary Club, Suva East Branch. Rotarians were progressive people doing good things, helping raise funds for scholarships, buying computers for schools and organising book bins for the community libraries. There was regular fellowship, which kept Ravi informed and connected. Periodic forays into the countryside, whether it was a drive to Rakiraki through Monasavu, or exploring the lush, craggy mountain ranges of the Serua-Namosi hinterland, opened up new areas that had been hidden to him, and to most people in Fiji. Some Rotarians were from Australia on various assignments in Fiji, and they brought along Australian newspapers and magazines to the ‘make-up’ sessions, which kept Ravi reasonably well informed about events in Australia.
Vicki, too, was keen to escape the ever-threatening loop of loneliness, and in this she was encouraged by her friends at work. She cut her hair short and began wearing skirts and pants rather than the traditional salwar kamiz (Indian women’s dress), which had been the cornerstone of her sartorial repertoire in Fiji, attracting disapproving looks from some of her Fiji friends. She began to take cooking lessons at a friend’s house in Garran, both out of choice as well as necessity. Abhay and Apeksha complained that their friends at school always made funny faces at them at lunch time. They did not like the smell of curry and roti. Some had called them ‘curry munchers’. ‘Why can’t you be like other mums, for a change,’ Abhay had once snapped at her, more in frustration than anger. ‘Pasta would be good for a start.’ Vicki was hurt, but not surprised. After all, they were the ones who had come to this country, and they should adjust and not always insist on hanging on to the old ways. And so she had a go at Italian, Greek and Lebanese cuisine. She also joined the Mums for Duffy Soccer Club, for which Abhay played. The club prepared sandwiches and coffee and tea for the weekend matches and little munchies for the boys. Sometimes she would accompany the team on their weekend retreats to Cooper’s Creek. She became a member of the Duffy Parents’ Association and helped out at the weekend fetes. Then there was the Duffy Mothers’ Book Club, which met on the first Tuesday of every month. All the weekend activities were exhausting, but Vicki didn’t complain. As things fell into a pattern, she actually looked forward to her various activities.
A new world was beginning to open up to her, expanding her horizon in unanticipated ways. She had a new and widening circle of friends, mostly Australians. That she found refreshing because most Fiji women had few interests outside home and most were caught in the ‘keeping up with the Jones’s’ world. Vicki found her Australian friends curious about Fiji. Several of them had visited the country and wanted to know more. Mrs Swinstead, the wife of the former Westpac manager at Lautoka, asked Vicki to give talks about Fiji to her friends in the University of the Third Age. At first, self-conscious, she quickly read up on whatever she could find in the Woden Library, and shared her thoughts and experiences, gaining confidence each time she gave public addresses. She talked about the Indo-Fijians, how they got there, the Colonial Sugar Refining Company (CSR), the coup. She helped her friends’ kids with their school assignments about Indian religion and culture, about which she briefed herself surreptitiously. Vicki was what you might call your model migrant: sensitive to the local environment, eager to learn new ways, to contribute whatever and wherever she could, ever ready to ‘have a go’.
Abhay and Apeksha too were adapting in their own ways. At first they were shy. Their English was not fluent, and they had a lot to learn about Australian culture and ways of doing things. But in no time, they had mastered the lingo and the local dress code, including pierced ears, trendily torn jeans and spiky hairstyles. Abhay was a natural at sports; good in soccer, as most Fiji boys are, but getting better at cricket too. Apeksha took to popular culture like duck to water. She caught up on shows like Home and Away and Shortland Street. She went over to her friends’ places for sleepovers, and boys came to Abhay’s place, drinking coke and eating ordered pizzas, lying about on the floor watching videos and playing Nintendo. Vicki bought a second-hand billiard table, which kept the boys at home within her earshot.
Ravi’s visits were still looked forward to, but not with the same anticipation as the first visits. Fiji was weighing Ravi down, sometimes against his own will. The daily news of harassment somewhere, the religious bigotry, the glass ceiling in the public service, the increase in incidents of violent burglaries, the regularly interrupted water supply and electricity, the palpable sense of despair among his people. In the courts, he did cases involving incest, rape, attempted suicide and domestic violence—all on the rise. It was all coming apart at the seams right in front of his eyes. So much promise, he thought to himself, so much of it gone to waste so quickly. When visiting Canberra, he continued worrying about events back home. But the children, and latterly Vicki too, had been showing less and less interest in what was happening in Fiji.
When Ravi mentioned this to Vicki one day, she replied, ‘Well, Rav, sometimes to move forward, we have to switch the lights off, shut the door and move on.’ It was not that she did not care about Fiji, but now there were so many other things to think about. The children, for example. ‘Do they care about anything?’ Ravi asked. They seemed to him to be obsessed with mundane trivia. ‘They do, Rav, but it is not easy being a teenager in this society.’ Vicki knew about the drug problems and teenage pregnancies plaguing the local schools, and was thankful her children were safe in the company of good, clean friends. She was watchful and observant. Nothing escaped her. When Ravi mentioned seeing Abhay with a stubby in his room, Vicki said, ‘Count your blessings if the worst they are doing is beer.’
There were many things that upset Ravi, but he realised there was no point raising them. Kids were staying up regularly till long past midnight watching television. Their rooms were a health hazard, with clothes, empty coke cans, junk food wrappers and magazines lying around. There was never any offer of help with housework or in the kitchen. Ravi dreaded talking to his children, fearing their sharp, snappy responses. Once he asked Abhay about his school work, and he had replied, ‘Not that shit again, Dad.’ ‘But that’s why we came here, Abbie, for you guys.’ ‘Don’t put the guilt trip on me, man. Look, school is not the end of the world. If I stuff up, so what? There’s heaps of other things I can do.’ Apeksha lived in a world of her own and, knowing her temper tantrums, Ravi thought it best to leave her alone. This was no way to live family life, but he seemed helpless.
When Ravi mentioned his conversation with Abhay to Vicki, she felt genuinely sorry for her husband. This was no way to talk to their father, she agreed. ‘I will talk to him,’ she promised. But there was a deeper point lurking in Ravi’s head. What hurt him most was that he could not talk to his own son in a language that he could understand about things that really mattered to him. He simply could not enter his son’s world, try as he might. All he had was his own experience to go by. ‘That’s all I know, Vick,’ he said one day. ‘All we can do is to be here for them when they need us,’ Vicki replied. ‘That’s all, and hope that things will come good.’ ‘Thank God, we at least have each other,’ Ravi said. When Ravi came over in the early days, Vicki would adjust whatever she had on in her calendar to suit Ravi’s schedule. His happiness and satisfaction were her priority. But now she had her own routine, which she was loathe to break. Thursday evenings would be her yoga classes. On Fridays she went to the gym. Then there were regular outings with her friends. On these occasions, Ravi would have to make do with whatever was left over in the fridge or order a pizza for himself. Cooking was never his forte. In Suva, his house girl took care of all his domestic chores. All he had to do was to issue the order for the day. His grocery shopping was done for him. His clothes were washed and ironed, shoes polished. But in Australia, all these chores he had to do by himself.
Small things magnified the growing difference. Vicki, very health conscious, would have a light dinner of salad and soup, perhaps, or even Asian noodles, whereas Ravi had gotten used to home-cooked roti and spicy curry. He was indifferent about breakfast and lunch, but dinner had to be taken in the traditional Indian style, eaten with fingers. He really couldn’t ask Vicki to cook every evening for him, and yet he missed his routine. Vicki had her own favourite television programs, soaps and serials, which she watched religiously, asking friends to tape the ones she missed for whatever reason. She would try to get Ravi involved by telling him about the various plots and how they were connected, but they had little meaning for him. Once or twice he thought to himself: ‘The world is going to the dogs, half of humanity is mired in desperate poverty and here everyone is glued to meaningless, juvenile love entanglements.’ Whenever he tried to switch on to the news channels, he felt that his family was merely tolerating him. ‘I have had a hard day,’ Vicki would say, a cue to watch something light before retiring to bed. Local stories that stirred public opinion and filled the airwaves meant little to Ravi. Kangaroo culling was big news, which had been picked by animal liberation people in many places, including Japan, as did passionate stories about the closure of primary schools in emptying suburbs, the construction of jails and roads close to inhabited areas, stories about the wayward ways of local and national politicians, about refugees and boat people and asylum seekers. What mattered most to him, Fiji, was hardly ever mentioned in the news and yet Ravi knew that Fiji was churning.
In the early days, Ravi could talk to Vicki about Fiji, but now her interests were captured by things closer to home. She cared deeply about what happened in the neighbourhood about which Ravi could not care less. For Vicki, Fiji was beginning to fade from her mental radar, just as it was beginning to imprison Ravi. Family connections too were becoming tenuous. Many of both Ravi’s and Vicki’s families and friends had already migrated, or were planning to. Vicki saw little point in hanging on to the memories of a place that had caused such rupture and anguish in their lives. Vicki became gradually aware of Ravi’s unsettled behaviour and tried to introduce him to her friends from work. Once or twice she organised barbeques at home. She invited him to drinks after work, to the occasional Sunday picnics at Cotter. Her friends were decent, well-meaning people but with limited experience. They asked simple questions about Fiji and told him about people from there they had met. The outings were nice, but they only temporarily alleviated Ravi’s growing sense of isolation. ‘Pity about Fiji, mate. It didn’t have to be a four letter word,’ a man once said to him. It was a cue to change the subject.
Reestablishing links with the Fiji people might help, Vicki thought, and on several occasions they drove to Sydney to participate in festivals, musical evenings and fundraisers for various causes. Ravi knew some of the people, but they had all moved on. Some of them talked about house prices, playing the share market, golf and overseas holidays. Full of pretension, living well for them was the best form of revenge. Fiji was furthest from their minds. Others remembered the trauma surrounding their departure from Fiji and said, and hoped, that things would never improve there. Revenge and retribution was what they wanted. For Ravi, there were few points of contact and exploration.
One day, about two years ago, Ravi distinctly sensed that his visits were not as warmly welcomed as they once had been. The children now barely acknowledged his presence. Fiji was fast becoming another country to them. They were losing the language and whatever they had learned of traditional Indian culture. They now only vaguely recalled the names of their younger cousins and extended family members. They lived in a virtual world of their own. And Vicki had created a network of friends and associates who were a vital source of support and encouragement for her. They were almost like a family, perhaps even closer than the family she had back in Fiji.
Now sometimes the kids asked, ‘When are you returning to Fiji, Dad?’ The question spoke not of concern but of relief at the return of routine unhindered by the presence of a vanishing figure in their lives. Ravi realised, sadly, that he was a guest in his own home. ‘We can’t go on like this, Vicki,’ he said one day. ‘This is no way to live a family life. I seem to have become a stranger to my own children.’ The growing distance between Ravi and Abhay and Apeksha had not escaped Vicki. And she understood, although it was unspoken, that Ravi would prefer Vicki to live with him in Fiji. ‘This is home now, Ravi,’ she said to him. ‘We have nothing back in Fiji.’ ‘But what will I do here,’ Ravi asked, not really expecting an answer, wondering aloud. He had a job in Fiji, a lifestyle he liked, some friends with whom he had shared much over the years. Despite everything that had happened, he still had a presence in the community. People looked up to him, and he liked helping out whenever he could: filling forms, witnessing documents, giving free legal advice to community and charitable organisations. Life had a purpose and a meaning beyond simply the act of living.
‘It’s always about you, isn’t it?’ Vicki said.
Always. ‘What will I do?’ Have you thought about us, me and the children? What will we do there? Abbie and Apes are still in high school. I can’t simply abandon them just like that. They are too young to be left alone.
And they had other obligations to meet as well. They had just renovated their house, with a big loan from the bank. The new car had to be paid off. Apeksha was preparing to spend an exchange year in Japan, and money would be needed for that as well. And Vicki had a secure, satisfying job, which she was grateful to have. Ravi knew that Vicki was sensible and rational. Why would anyone give up a secure job to return to uncertainty? They talk about bloodless coups, Ravi thought to himself, but some things are worse than death. He was exaggerating, but only just. The thought of rupturing his relationship with Vicki never once entered his mind, despite all the turbulence and uncertainty of recent years, nor did the thought of keeping two kitchens, as the expression goes, ever enter his mind. ‘You play the hand you are dealt’ was almost his motto. He thought he would remain a commuter, a frequent flyer for the foreseeable future.
But then, two years later, fate intervened in the form of George Speight. The fraudulent Fijian nationalist overthrew another democratically elected government, derailing the process of reconciliation that had promised to restore hope and opportunity to an ill-fated Fiji. ‘Indians are different,’ he told the world with a smirk. ‘They act different, they eat different and they smell different. They are heathens.’ ‘They will reduce this place to rubble,’ Daven, Ravi’s law partner, said of the coup makers, ‘and finally claim this country as their own. Fiji for the Fijians, finally.’ ‘Democracy is indeed a foreign flower here. We have no place in it,’ he said ruefully on another occasion. ‘We will never belong, Bro, never be invited to belong.’ He was selling his law practice to relocate to Auckland. ‘Life is too short for this shit.’
Labasa was emptying, reverting to bush, as people were moving to the mushrooming squatter settlements around Suva. Joining the exodus were Ravi’s own brothers and nieces and nephews, embarking on the first step of a journey that would eventually take them to foreign shores. Auntie Sukhdei’s death finally settled the issue for Ravi. Fiji, with its unending saga of violence and treachery and racial hatreds, lost its hold on his soul. It no longer felt like home anymore. There was nothing left for him in Fiji. I’d rather be a little nobody in Australia than a big somebody over here, Ravi finally resolved. Life would not be a bed of roses there, he would have to learn and listen hard again, reconnect with his family, reenter their world on their terms, not his own. ‘I will always have my memories,’ Ravi thought to himself, as he packed up, thinking about his childhood, chasing his cousin around the cane fields, meeting Vicki, the birth of his children. He knew of the long and lonely road ahead, full of unpredictable twists and turns, but he was glad to give up the life of a frequent flyer. He was finally going home.
1 W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence (New York, NY: George H. Doran Company, 1919; London: Vintage, 1999), p. 177.