Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Homecoming outpourings

I've recently made the momentous decision to return home to Melbourne. After 7.5 years in London-town, the last few years of which have been an almost vertical uphill struggle, it's well and truly time. A lot of people said "you'll just know when you're ready to go home", and that has turned out to be true. In fact, I've known it for quite some time. However, I gritted my teeth and focused on acquiring my UK passport - my own personal Holy Grail - with all of the hoops and hurdles and waiting and hoping that that entailed. When I finally got my hands on that little red book, it was an incredible relief. I don't feel English. I never will be English. I will always be Australian. But to have that option of returning to Europe should I choose to, to live and work without threat of a goverment enforced end-date, is a wonderous thing.

So now, to the business of packing up my life here, closing accounts, shipping the 7.5 years worth of crap that I've managed to accumulate - and saying goodbye.

Goodbye London.

I don't know how I'm going to live without you. Oh boy, you've gotten under my skin in the time I've been here. You've gotten so far under my skin, you're in my blood. You're part of me now, like my organs are part of me. How will I function if I physically remove myself from you? How long does it take to recover from a Londonectomy? Or maybe it's a Londonotomy: how will my mind work without the endless wonders of this city to stimulate it?

Goodbye London.

I love so much about you - the mass of diversity and the endless cultural clashes and mish-mashes that make you so colourful and so wonderful. I will miss your distinctive, erring on eccentric style. I will miss the dreamily beautiful Hampstead Heath, especially the old-fashioned tranquility of the Ladies Bathing Pond. I will miss the music, all that incredible music being made in bedrooms and basement bars and old concert halls and under railway arches all over this capital. I will miss your faded glamour, the cheekiness and good spirits that fly in the face of all the odds. I will miss the travel.

Goodbye London.

I won't miss the Winter. God, no. But I'll miss the glory of the Summer, the palpable sense of excitement that comes with the weather finally turning after another bitch-cold Winter. It was so great of you to put on this spectacular Summer, London - the best since I arrived here all those years ago - to see me out.

I won't miss Ryanair. I won't miss the horror of peak hour tube journeys. I won't miss the litter and filth and grey, the abiding grey that characterises this city. I won't miss the noisy, steaming, heaving pubs. Above all, I won't miss having to fly halfway around the world to see my family for a few short weeks every year. And to be honest, that is my number one reason for returning home after all this time - to be closer to my family, whom it has pained me to be away from (and whose pain my being away has no doubt caused). I can't imagine how lovely it will be to be once again enmeshed in my family's ever-expanding life. A wedding in October; my little brother marrying his long-term girlfriend. I can't wait.

Goodbye London.

But man, it's going to be hard to leave this town. It's going to be hard starting over, but actually leaving is the first and most wrenching step.

Goodbye London.

I will always carry the scar from where I removed you, to remind me of these years.


kylie maree said...

Congrats Babe, you are so right, when the decision is right, it feels amazing!

...and of course now I will have someone in Melbourne to visit...and you will always be welcome in sweet adelaide.

Ellie said...

oh gosh! I really want to say don't do it! But it sounds like it is the right decision for you. I hope its everything you want it to be... xx

Anna said...

Hey cool! Hope the move goes as smoothly as these things can, and the London-sickness passes for you.

And hey, if you've gotta be leaving and missing London, Melbourne's not such a bad place to do it :)

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