One of the greatest things about the random shuffle of world travel is the people you meet. Izzy, a French-Canadian foodie and tennis enthusiast I met when I first moved to Sydney, has a habit of pausing in the middle of the action to sigh and say, “Life.” It always struck me as hilarious and poignant in equal measure. What can we do, as humans, except hold up our hands and surrender to Life? I don’t believe in a divine higher power, but it is humbling to acknowledge there is very little, with the exception of our own behaviour, that we can actually control.
I have been absent from this blog for four months because of Life. I got a new job in February and I loved it so much that I took on as many hours as I could, leaving me with very little free time and deliciously exhausted when my days off rolled around. My sister came to visit for three weeks and we undertook a gruelling travel schedule that allowed us to see some truly amazing sights in Australia, but physically took its toll on me in the form of an awful cold and then an aggressive bout of sinusitis. At the same time, my relationship fell apart. For a little while, Life felt like someone had taken a dagger and hacked away at a thick piece of rope until it severed, and left the individual strands of twine blowing aimlessly in the breeze. Then we got back together, which I quickly realised was a huge mistake and spent about six weeks feeling like I was trying to hammer the wrong piece into place on a jigsaw puzzle. Now I am basking in the glorious relief of singletondom. It tastes like margaritas.
I also popped back to the UK for three weeks in May to celebrate my parents’ joint 60th birthday. It was the first time I had been back in almost two years. It was a wonderful soul-feeding time with my family and really helped me put things into perspective. When I came back to Sydney, I was faced with a lot of decisions. My workplace said they would not sponsor me to stay in Australia and my contract is up in a month. My visa expires in two months. I have no desire to stay, only an overwhelming desire to GO. Dorothy was right, there’s no place like home, with it’s amazing cheese, out-of-this-world-curry, people with good manners and a wicked sense of humour, proper pubs and quality television. I will miss the friends I have made here, but the internet means they will never be far away. And I will bully them into visiting. I plan to drop in at my home away from home in Southern California on the way back to stock up on sunshine and in-jokes and then plant myself firmly in England and begin cultivating the hopes and dreams this new phase of my life has generated.
There is precious little more beautiful in life than a blank page.