July 16, 2011
But the point is that as I was flicking through the last ten years of my travels, the stamps from places in Europe, the US, India, Papua New Guinea, I noticed that today marks the 8 year anniversary of my arrival here in Australia as more than just a tourist. Eight years since I came out here to see what life would be like, knowing that it would be better because I was coming here to be with that guy. You know the one.
At that time I was happy in London. I had just qualified as a chartered accountant (it is not as glamorous as it sounds), I was loving my job, living in London, finally earning enough money to not have to worry too much about it, the world was my oyster, I was in love, but thousands of miles apart from him, who was back in Australia, studying and waiting to hear whether he'd been accepted into the UQ School of Architecture. (He was.) So moving... it didn't seem all that appealing (sun and surf has never been a lure for me), except I was desperate to be together again and nothing about staying in London was going to compensate me for that. So I moved. For the short term initially, until I landed on my feet with the right job that helped me go from career strength to strength while he studied and our relationship too, went from great to better than I could have hoped. Dogs, marriage, house, kids... but the homesickness has never abated.
Yes, this is a beautiful country, the weather is amazing, Stradbroke Island is like nothing you'll find in Europe, it's deluxe to live in something more than a flat in a terraced house, it's nice to have a seat on the train, I like wearing flip flops (they are not thongs) and yes, it's liberating to live with our windows and doors open but something has always been missing. I've said it before that love hasn't always been enough for me. I need that anchor, to feel that I belong somewhere - something I have struggled with at my core. As a second generation Indian born in the UK I'm not sure I've ever really felt that sense of belonging. I don't belong in Australia (I will never become accustomed to the lack of seasons, Christmas in summer?), I don't belong in India, I know that much, and the UK is my home but do I belong there? Now this is the question, one which I can't justifiably answer right now, but all too soon, we will pack our bags to find that place of belonging and for now, we have pretty much concluded it is England, Blighty, that place I hold in my rose tinted vision as being the awesome place I left behind eight years ago. And so, as I fill out Form C1 and choose a photograph that doesn't make me look too boss-eyed for the record of my next ten years of travel, I'm proud that I will soon have that little maroon book that belongs to HM Government, I'm proud that I gave it a shot here, but I'm happy that soon, we might going back home.
Coincidentally, it's eight years ago today, on the same day that I arrived here in Brisbane that Lola was born. She became a part of our lives when she was 10 weeks old. Little Lolsie, she's an old lady of 56 now. Almost pensionable. Definitely certifiable. Always trouble. Happy birthday little Lolsie.