OK so full disclosure, this post is not about the famous Australian soap Home and Away, which brought us such movie stars as Heath Ledger and Chris Hemsworth. No, this is just an apt phrase that is strongly associated with Australia, and also covers the whole subject of being away from said home. So I’ve click baited you basically. I’m sorry about that but you should keep reading, it’ll change your life.*
*As in your life will have moved on by at least a few minutes by the time you get to the end of this post. Sometimes change is really, really small.
My experience of moving to a new country has kind of been like beginning a new relationship. The first few weeks or months are the honeymoon period. You’re aware that the good feelings won’t last forever, but you remain in the blissful ignorance that feels like a holiday, away from the stress that inevitably comes with living life everyday and establishing a routine. Right now I’m loving everything about Melbourne; the food, the people, the buildings, even the public transport (although that has already begun to let me down somewhat, exposing the city’s first flaws to me).
And as with any new beau, I find myself cursing all the days that came before my life in Melbourne. By this I mean that I have been badmouthing my ex, London, somewhat excessively; making it seem much worse than it was, because by the time our relationship was coming to the end, everything had already gotten to the terrible bit. But in reality, it was not nearly as bad as I have been making out, otherwise I wouldn’t have stayed with it so long, right?
I have been thinking a lot about being away from home; the imaginary and real place I see in my mind when I think of London. I don’t miss travelling underground like a mole, or breathing in the smooth, polluted air. I don’t miss the way we were all so busy all of the time, but still feeling like little was achieved at the end of a work day. And I definitely don’t miss the numerous conversations with friends where we reviewed just how indescribably stressed, stretched, poor and unfulfilled we all were.
But I do miss the friends that I have there, my favourite coffee shops and museums, and the numerous mistakes, regrets and memories that I made all over London.
Only in my last few months there, when I saw an end to my stress in sight, when I handed in my notice with glee, finally to be free from the shackles of working under a literal tyrant. Only then was I able to catch a glimpse of the city I had once claimed to love like no other. I saw friends, felt lighter on my feet, got closer to people and was able again to talk about good things, the fun we had before, the fun we could have again, what our wonderful city has to offer us, now that I would be leaving it.
So my ex and I ended on pretty good terms as it turned out. And now I have a shiny new beau, who seems to encapsulate all of the best bits of my home town, with less people and fresher air. But I am under no illusions; no one is perfect and true to form, I will find this city’s flaws and expose them, just as I did with my home town. True love is taking the good with the bad and loving it all anyway.
We’ll get there Melbourne, don’t you worry.