Tuesday, February 06, 2007

tripping out

If you count on your fingers, Tuesday to Sunday is only five days, but to me it seemed much longer! Days stretched into years as last week's study jaunt transformed into an exercise in time travel.

Not only did I journey to another state, I travelled to another time.

Nine years ago I left Newcastle to see the world, but surely it was just yesterday that I boarded that plane and flew away? Wasn't it last week I said goodbye to my friends and moved on? Surely it was just the other day that I launched out on my own?

The local radio station (good old KOfm!) only confirmed my delusion - same hosts, same songs, same sound. At the beach the same youths hung out at the girl's change room door, jockeying for attention with their skateboards and tanned torsos. Cicadas chirped, flies hovered, mosquitoes stung, beetles... beetled, magpies warbled, galahs squawked, rosellas flitted, hibiscus bloomed, blue bottles threatened, waves broke. So much flora and fauna I'd simply forgotten about in my time away - and there they all were in NSW, just as they always have been. And the space, the wonderful space - hours of driving with no end in sight. So much room to move - I'd forgotten that feeling.

So many memories flooded into my mind - wearing cicada nymphal skins on our jumpers as a gory badge; avoiding the swoop of aggressive magpies without falling off our bikes; school friends; university days; the hospital on the beach where I commenced my nursing career; swimming with friends in the surf; favourite haunts about town; family outings before we were torn apart. Everywhere I looked another picture of the past flashed before my eyes. It all felt rather surreal and I gloried in the memories, breathing deeply of long gone days.

Yet at the same time, everything was different and slightly uncomfortable. The hill where I walked home from school had shrunk; roads seemed wider and they didn't lead where they used to; new buildings replaced old; friends had children - and not just babies, grown children; trendy cafes adorned every corner; new suburbs had cropped up. It was all familiar, but not quite the same.

I ended up feeling quite disorientated. Where was I? What year was I in?

At one point I walked into McDonalds and there I stood at the counter, observing other customers and waiting my turn. As the orders flew back and forth I looked on in amazement - everyone could speak English! They even had Australian accents!

Oh - that's right, I was still in Australia.

So now I'm back home in little Tasmania... only now I'm not sure if this is home. Sigh. So wonderful to have a home everywhere, but so confusing! I'm rather thankful I have the hope of a forever-home when I die - no more moving around and no confusion then! For now I'll keep drifting back and forwards, enjoying the best of everywhere, catching up with wonderful friends, reflecting on memories, creating new ones and appreciating the many beautiful places I've been able to experience.

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At 1:21 am, February 07, 2007, Anonymous Sandy said...

I can relate to this Cecily. I've never lived anywhere longer than 9 years. I moved away from the town I stayed in the longest after highschool. After twenty years of travel and moving 7 times within the 20 years; I came back to the state where I am now. Tried doing the feeling like home thing; people that stayed were the same; no time had passed (there's a comfort in that). They even treated me like I was still 18. The saying "you can't go home" is true. Now I'm settled (not in the town where I went to highschool); it's been 9 years. Boy, this is aging me isn't it? I probably won't stay but enjoy having some roots for now. My moving has been huge growth for me, well worth it, but when someone asks me where I'm from,I feel like I should say, "I don't know."

I think when we look back like you did this past week, it gives us the opportunity to measure how far we've come.

At 6:10 am, February 07, 2007, Blogger Robyn said...

Its unsettling, isn't it? A long time ago "home" ceased to be a geographical location and became where my parents were, and now obviously where Paul is. I'm glad we have an eternal Home though too!


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