Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Going home

Because in five days I'll be heading home to Sydney. This will be the first time I've been back since moving to Hong Kong eight months ago (is that all???) and, quite frankly, I really don't know what to expect.

Which is quite odd really. And possibly ironic. I mean, it will be Sydney. The same place that I left less than a year ago. The place where I spent the first thirty years of my life. Undoubtedly not much will have changed. The Harbour Bridge will still be there, the people I love will be there, the pace will be slower, and public transport will be even slower. Way slower.

But what I don't know what to expect is - how I will feel when I am there. About what I have left behind and will need to leave behind again, ten days later. About my new life in Hong Kong and how it looks from the other side; and about who exactly I am in the world now and where I belong.

Geez girl - get over it - it's just a trip home to Sydney. What a drama queen. Oh yes - as always.

I was writing an article today on western women moving to Hong Kong, and it raised all sorts of ideas about my own situation.

Ideas about packing up and following a man to a place; and forfeiting a huge chunk of your own identity in the process. Ideas about the hardships of beginning again, meeting new people, and re-wiring your social life. The frustrations of leaving work to enter the dark chasms of unemployment - a place desired daily in fantasy - and all too bleak and hopeless in reality.

I also thought about the good things - the wonderment and magic of exploring a new place, the intoxicating thrills and spills that come when you're a stranger stumbling through an alien world, and the joyous discoveries that can be made in pockets of places you never knew existed. Oh yes - when I moved to Hong Kong, suddenly life became interesting again.

There's this weird thing about living overseas though - you go through an enormous culture shock when you arrive. You feel like a giant fish out of some very important water. You then begin to adjust, and finally accept where you are, as it in turn begins to accept you. You feel comfortable.
Before you know it - you open the key to your apartment and step into a home.

And then comes the time when you must return to the place where you came from.

And so begins a sort of 'reverse culture shock', where you backtrack your way through the above steps and start to wonder if you will fit in back in your old home again; whether anything will make sense, and if the people there will recognise the new person you have become.

Of course I'm aware this all sounds a little nuttish given I've been here less than a year. Surely I'm raining on the parade of someone who's been struggling through some African outskirt for the last fifteen years.

I guess it took me a long time to get up on my feet here. I'm wondering about the effect Sydney may have on me.

But the only unfaltering reality is - my family will be there. And oh boy do I want to see them. I shall not think now about leaving them again. There is no place for that here. Don't want to cry too soon!

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