The top 3 questions I get asked since coming home:
1. What does it feel like to be back?
It feels a bit like being an astronaut who is going through a very drawn out and bumpy "re-entry" phase. Starting my life over again from scratch. Selling myself unconvincingly in job interviews. Most of all, endlessly explaining to people - strangers and friends - why I came back; why I stayed in England and in my previous job so long; why I am single again. Coming back has been rougher than I imagined. I still don't feel settled but I imagine I won't for some time yet.
2. Do I miss London?
Overall, generally, despite everything, I have not regretted the decision to come home. Even when my parents and I have bickered over the most inconsequential things, even through the moments of extreme loneliness and "everyone's settled down except me" self-pity, even when I ended up on my brother's doorstep soaked by the flooding rains and streaked with tears; I never wanted to run back to London. I have had only a couple of flickers of missing the UK - literally seconds-long - but nothing more. Just the odd "oh, wasn't the Borough Market/Hampstead Heath/St Pauls in the early evening lovely?"
3. Has Melbourne changed?
Yes, Melbourne has changed. There are more people, more shops, more traffic, more restaurants. The cars are fancier, the houses bigger, everyone seems to have an iphone. People seem better off (except the poor sods who, like me, didn't buy before the boom). But the things that were always lovely about Melbourne, are still lovely. I am enjoying so much the thrill of rediscovering my home town after having been away for so long. The hidden laneways; the religious fervour of the coffee culture; the trams rattling and dinging around town in their own sweet time; descending to the cool calm of the Yarra.
It will get easier, I tell myself. I will feel more settled soon. I won't be on my own forever. The mantra of the lonely astronaut, separated forever by his experience.
Monday, April 18, 2011
In which I don't discuss any world events whatsoever, or indeed any events taking place outside of my flat.
Sorry I've been so slack on the blogging front. The world goes on spinning, Charlie Sheen goes on winning, my thighs are thinning. Helpfully, the stress of moving home combined with a new job have conspired to make me get back to my pre-London weight. Unhelpfully, that manifests itself in the following ways:
- Instead of shrinking, my butt just gets flatter. You ever see those plump girls with butts that stick straight out at the back like two basketballs? Yeah, I'm like a deflated version of that at the moment.
- My boobs have retreated back into non-existence.
- Shorts/jeans bought at the peak of my weight now fall off me. Literally.
However, I feel sleek and light and I can wear jeans on my bike without cutting off circulation to my thighs. Hopefully, once things settle down a bit my butt will come back. All is forgiven, butt! I'm sorry I ever cursed you and wished you gone from my life.
Despite the wobbliness of my job situation (and the lack of wobbliness in the rear department), I love my new flat. It's the one bit of stability in my life right now, and I'm clinging to it like a drowning polar bear to a chunk of iceberg. I love that I can watch the sunset behind the city from the POÄNG in my living room. I love re-organising my shamefully large DVD collection. I love puzzling over random pieces of furniture left out on the footpaths of Richmond, taking home what I can make use of (if I had have known about this new phenomenon of Melbournite's chucking out good furniture on a daily basis, I could have furnished my flat entirely from hard rubbish). I love the high pressure, hot-as-hell shower. I love that I can text my bro at random and meet up for coffee 5 minutes later. Good coffee, too.
Now, I just need to sort out my work situation. It looks like I will be going back to freelancing at the end of the month, and this time I need to sort out whether this is a viable long-term option for me, financially as well as emotionally. I'm a little worried about the possible isolation of living alone as well as working from home, but I'm sure there are lots of things/groups/events that I can sign up for to get me out of my lovely flat. I'm slowly rediscovering the fun stuff going on in Melbourne, which generally requires a little more research and forward planning than the stuff going on in London. Melbourne is revealing herself slowly to me, like a wary lover burnt by one too many heart-breaks.
I know the feeling, Melbourne. We are soul-mates, you and I.