I moved from Adelaide to Melbourne as a young woman, in my mid-twenties.
The first time I went back to visit, I was astonished to see the city of Adelaide and its surrounds, as if through fresh eyes. As the plane began its descent, the first thing that struck me was the lack of hills and green spaces. Roads weaved neatly over flat, brown lands. From the back seat of Mum and Dad’s car, I glimpsed median strips and footpaths that were covered in dirt or dry stones, or some with hardy plants that, to me, resembled weeds. I remembered all those conservation lessons at school where it had been drummed into the class that South Australia is the driest state in the driest continent. Looking through the car windows, this message finally hit home. I saw it.
I’d been living in the lush beauty of Melbourne for only six months. I never wanted to move there, yet already felt it was my new home. And heading back to Adelaide, seeing the aridity of my home city and comparing that with the greenery and gardens of my new one, cemented within me that I’d made the right decision.
But it’s nostalgia that beckons, that holds you firm in its grasp, don’t you think?
Trips home to Adelaide are important. They’re a kind of fuel for my spirit. I see my family members, laugh with cousins about childhood memories, and reminisce over the silly things my brothers and I did as kids. I meet up with friends and we reconnect and re-establish our friendship.
And that’s what I love about a homecoming: the familiarity, the feel-goodedness (I made it up, stay with me). I know my way around the city and suburbs; it changes and morphs as buildings are demolished to make way for new ones, or homes are renovated to breathe new life into the tired old ‘burbs.
But I know that place. Nearly every corner I turn has a memory attached to it. Old friendships. My school. My first workplace. And family. Love, connections, safety.
And that’s what it’s all about, don’t you think? Life is about building connections with others, feeling love, being safe and held firm within those connections. Everything else is just noise and confusion.