I am currently holidaying in Melbourne, just for a long weekend. I go home tomorrow after what has been a blissful four days. It’s made me think of what home is – home is where my beautiful, wonderful family are, home is the city in which I grew up and whose very essence runs through my veins. When people ask me, I say I’m from Melbourne. This city, of coffee and food, of music and an arts precinct which makes my blood sing, of bleak, grey winters and searing, oppressive summers – this city is my home and when I stride its streets I feel taller.
But tomorrow I am leaving Melbourne to return home, to Newcastle on the northern NSW coast. To return to the city which I have made my home. To the flat in which I have learnt safety, which has become my haven, my sanctuary. To the coastline and the cliffs and the quiet strength of the Hunter River and the kind, compassionate, loving and loved people who, despite my best efforts, slipped in under my defences and became friends.
I was devastated when my now ex-husband informed me that we were leaving Melbourne to move to Newcastle. I curled up in bed, hugged the cat and cried. Then I got on with things. I determined to make a go of it, but I did not expect that Newcastle would become a home as much as Melbourne still is. Now, in my freedom, I have chosen to remain there. Tomorrow, I will leave a place and people I love, and fly back to a place and people I love. I will leave my home, and return to my home.
In a time in which homelessness and rootlessness in all their forms are almost universal, I am profoundly aware of how blessed this makes me.