Someone once said you can never go home. It might have been Bill Bryson. Or Thomas Wolfe. Or the Moody Blues. Or from that Gross Point Blank film. I don’t know and it doesn’t really matter. As an expat, when people clock my accent I am usually asked whether I will go home at some point. Sometimes I wonder whether it’s a genuine deep question on my life goals or a hope that I will vacate the bar. It’s hard to tell. The answer is always no, never. At least not to my hometown.
It occasionally occurs that the person I have become is a million miles from who I was when I lived in rural NSW. I drive a Benz, wear Louboutins and as recently pointed out to me, I attended Hogwarts University and appear to hob nob with people a few rungs ahead on the social ladder when I’m not holidaying in Val d’Isere or Japan. All of these things would have sounded like someone I would never cross paths with when I was younger, let alone be.
But I have never forgotten where I have come from or been ashamed of it. This place is where I learned how to ride a motorbike, drive a car, tie my laces, avoid getting caught doing the wrong things and catch mice. In this place I survived apocalyptic dust storms, life without a computer or a mobile phone. I remember marvelling at the new fangled microwave oven with its many dials. I remember making our voices sound robotic shouting into the fan that pointlessly circulated warm air in the living room. And I remember when we got a third tv channel. Temperatures routinely soared into the mid 40s and we didn’t have air conditioning; we swam for hours out of a mix of entertainment and necessity. I remember we made our own fun: Dad tied a toboggan on to the back of his motorbike and dragged us around the front lawn that mum desperately tried to keep green, with varying success.
This place taught me many life skills that I still use and is still the home of my closest family who thrive and flourish amongst the wide brown land. It is the place where some of my happiest memories were and still are created.
This place may never have my mail directed to it, but it is still home.