The thing about moving away is there is always the inevitable ‘going home’. And this is the situation I find myself in. After more than 18 months away, I’m enroute ‘home’. In Brisbane I often went ‘home’. Every few months for birthdays, Easter, weddings, Christmas. A flying weekend here, a long weekend there. I wasn’t ever very far away. But still it became home. This time I’ll be going to my Sydney ‘home’ for 3 weeks. It may feel like a flying visit (well it literally is – I’m at 30,000 feet at the moment) but it will actually be the longest time I’ve spent in Sydney for more than 4.5 years.
And how do I feel about it? Well that’s been the question on everyone’s lips. I’ve been pondering it for weeks. I choked back tears in my community group a few weeks back as I shared some of my processing.
Excited? Yes. Anxious? Very.
I am so freaking excited to meet the new tiny humans born to friends and family.
To hug the husbands who married some phenomenal woman I have the pleasure of calling friends and family.
To break through personal space and rub the pregnant bellies of friends and my sister (!).
To be welcomed into the homes I’ve only ever caught glimpses of via 4 inch screen with often freezing FaceTime.
To meet the adorable fur baby that has paws almost the size of my hand.
But I’m also anxious. The thing about being the one who leaves is the guilt of being away. It’s the longing to see the ones you love. It’s not knowing what has changed. It’s feeling left out. It’s being reminded of the cost of being away. It’s the nervousness if it’s all worth it.
The regular to you is the special to me. Those casual coffee dates, movie nights, walks along (what do you even walk around in Sydney?!) I have pushed aside familiar to learn a new normal. My discovery of Rs at the end of a bunch of words has helped me fit in at my new home but will stand out in my old one. I long for glimpses and tastes of previous seasons.
I know you will not be the same as when you left, but more than that know I’m not the same as when I left. I am so proud of the life I have built in Vancouver. It’s been a big 18 months!
A sense of home has born from a return to normality and a pace of life that existed in Sydney and then in Brisbane. My weeks are chockers. And what a joy that is. My front door is a revolving one. Life feels normal. It’s always a blur, I complain but I love it. I live for the cheeky naps to sustain me. This is home.
Home is what you make of it and the people you surround yourself with. Leaving work today was unexpectantly emotional. There was such joy from my colleagues knowing I was ‘going home’ Leaving Vancouver has been leaving one ‘home’ to go to another ‘home’. It’s being pulled away from one place that has grabbed my heart, to visit another that also has my heart. It’s being confronted by the distance and the decision to live away and jumping right back in.
My life might seem overly exciting from the snapshots you get in iMessages, Facebook + Insta updates or the updates from my mum…but it’s truly very similar to the one that I’d live in Australia. The biggest difference is the number of layers and how I spend my weekends. Truly.
And so in all the processing over the last few months about coming home I decided to share some hot tips. It’s probably overly obnoxious and selfish but hey, I specialise in foot in mouth.
So buried down at the bottom of this long rambling post here they are:
- Tell me about your life. 18 months have passed. You got married, had a baby, moved to a new house, adopted a puppy, started a new job. Don’t brush over it. Stop, let me share in it. It’s what I’ve missed.
- Show me grace. I’ll probably forget your adorable human’s name, exactly what that job you took is and I’ll use the North American word because the Aussie one now takes longer to think of.
- Don’t be concerned if I need a moment. Let me just watch and listen. Let me be present. But also let me process.
- Give me a hug and don’t be afraid of my fear of them. Being away means you long for intimacy. Don’t be alarmed if I well up. This girl’s become a little more emotionally normal since being away.
- I know I’m an initiator, an organiser even when I can’t help myself. But please, I beg of you, do not make me organise 20+ social engagements over the next 3 weeks. Also, because I’ll probably invite you to that cafe that was cool 5 years ago. Text me. I’ll have my old number.
- Know that I love and miss you deeply but I’ll be returning to Canada for an unknown period. There is no timeframe (so long as my PR comes through in April.) It’s not a reflection on you.
Being away is a roller coaster. It’s so fun, it’s terrifying, it’s jarring and I bump heads with bureaucracy, social customs and the weather. I also love the coziness of winter, the determination to life in the rain and the majesty of mountains. But now I’m returning back to station, the safety latches have unlocked and I’m stepping out of the carriage with slightly shaky legs. Here’s to hoping the familiarity returns (particularly right hand drive!)
Going home, eh? It’s a complex business. Or maybe that’s because I just overthink everything. Thanks for being there when I do. I’m excited to be home again.