A few weeks back, I returned to Australia. My flights took me to Perth, a whole side of my vast nation I had not travelled to before. I stayed long enough to transfer to the domestic terminal, send a few emails and board the plane. A few hours later, I spied Mum waiting for me at the baggage carousel.
Now, I’m back in my childhood home, but in a different room. Gone are the deep turquoise walls, replaced by a soft shade of grey. It’s my favourite colour right now and makes it feel like a whole new room. The art I had collected prior to moving overseas is hanging, framed, on the walls: pictures of ballerinas, Melbourne trams, and photo of one of my favourite horses (and winner of the 2001 Golden Slipper), Ha Ha. A collection of my favourite travel books are stacked on my desk to inspire me to keep doing what I love. On my bedside table, a thunder egg and piece of pink-coloured quartz perched atop Frankie, a (new-to-me) magazine aimed at inner city female hipsters. Whilst I don’t quite fit into that category, I took a punt on it because it looked interesting.
I place an emphasis on keeping my space tidy, clean. The bed is always made, the clothes in their place. It’s livable and inviting. Such a contrast to the way my room used to be!
The doona cover is white with navy cross-hatched polka dots. Six pillows of alternating stripes and dots. A thick, soft navy throw graces the end of the bed. The set up is luxurious, a far cry from the accommodations we had in Asia. I feel so calm, so relaxed in this room. As someone who can’t stand going to bed, having such a luxe set up has been revolutionary. I now want to slide under the covers and lay my head down. This is something I am really looking forward to recreating when I return to the Bay Area.
Since arriving, I have not ventured too far from my family’s home in southern Sydney. Staying put usually makes me antsy, but I’ve enjoyed adjusting to the slower pace of life in the suburbs. It’s so quiet. Parts of the area haven’t changed, and others are completely different. Overall, the feeling is one of familiarity, like my favourite PJs.
I’ve been into the city only a handful of times since returning a few weeks back: to meet up with one of my best friends from SF (who was visiting her family in Sydney), for an interview, and to enroll back at Uni. I’m taking a few classes online this year, and we’ll see where it leads. Classes start next week. I look forward to learning new things and stretching my brain again.
But along with getting to experience the Australian summer, I’ve been so blessed to be absorbed back into the lives of my friends and family. And it’s such an exciting time! New engagements, news of new babies to arrive this year, hens parties, weddings, new romances. Life in Sydney continues, but I feel as though it’s open wide enough to let me in for a just a little while before I head back to San Francisco.
It makes my heart sing to know they’re doing well, and that after more than six years of me not physically participating in their lives, they are still keen to include me. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to experience the joys of life with them.
One of the best parts about being home have been the impromptu moments: the spur-of-the-moment coffee dates and lunch plans with friends, feeling growing bellies, the shared experience of watching Louis Theroux documentaries with my sister, the honest chats with my brother as we prepare dinner, meeting the fascinating neighbours of my Dad’s aunt, chilling on the verandah with my parents after work, the invites to birthday celebrations, and time spent walking the dog.
All of these things, and more, have brought me joy since returning, spending time back home in Sydney. I’m taking it easy and appreciating the love and support I have here.