It’s a birthday of sorts for me today – a decade ago on this day my life in Australia recommenced.
I still remember the intense mixed emotions that eddied through my mind like a washing machine stuck on spin. Much like when I left Australia 18 months before, I spent the majority of the 28 hours transit burdened by a heavy heart. Because while part of me was thrilled to be back in my beautiful homeland and eager to reacquaint myself with long lost loved ones, I was now also suffering reverse homesickness for the life I’d been forced to leave behind back in the UK.
Then there was the not so small fact that my previously carefree existence as a backpacker – and ergo free from a live burdened by much in the form of responsibility – was coming to an abrupt end. Reality was about to bite in a big way and I was as ready to acknowledge that as I was the fact I was carrying excess baggage due to the “Heathrow injection” on my body! Denial was a far more pleasant place to be perched….
But fresh off the plane, and eager to keep the threatening jet-lag at bay, I took my first stroll through the streets of Lilyfield, grateful to have the hospitality of my cousin for a few days before I made my complete full circle trip back home to Coffs Harbour. Bound for the bus stop and a little jaunt into the city, the sun was warm on my skin and the scent of Jasmine lingered overhead, enticing my senses into memories of many summers gone by.
Once on board, I found the swirl of chatter around me to be almost abrasive. I wasn’t used to so very many Australian accents in one close proximity. For a minute I longed for the subdued surrounds of the London Underground – where ANY form of conversation was frowned upon (an unspoken rule if ever there was such thing!) unlike the cacophony of conversation I was now immersed in.
But then the bus veered onto the Pyrmont Bridge and my eyes were drawn to the reverential ANZAC Guard, standing tall, eyes downcast – and my first flutter of appreciation at being back was felt.
And finally, there it was. Exhaling with utter gratitude, I drank in the view unfurling before me: the stunning Sydney Harbour, the sails of the Opera House glinting in the September sun, the iconic “coat-hanger” Harbour Bridge imposing as it stretched out its own welcome my way.
Instantly I smiled. Without a background like this to embrace me on my first day back in Australia I could not longer deny it – I was happy AND I was home.
|A tale of two countries – happily (drunkenly) sporting my “bespoke joke” farewell gift from
my English workmates – The Union Jack Geezer cap meets the Aussie corks of the Aukbra.
The perfect present for someone who felt both places were “home”!