When the foreign becomes the familiar.

A little over a year and a half ago, I wrote this post about leaving your childhood home behind, and it resonated with a lot of people. At that time, I was sitting in my sister’s kitchen in Kennewick, Washington. We were having a fantastic summer, swimming with my niece and nephew, celebrating birthdays and just enjoying being fun-employed and traveling the world. As happy as I was to be at home, I was still a little bit lost. Living out of a single suitcase, unsure of where I would be living in less than one month. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about the travel, but let’s be real here, I’m not as tough as I look.

What did I do? I got on that plane at LAX, after two very long and very tearful conversations, one with Mom and one with Dad. I don’t know what I was afraid of. I just missed them and I hadn’t even left yet. I wasn’t sure I was doing the right thing.

Airplane Flight Wing flying to Travel on Vacation

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But Australia was about starting a new life in an already loved city.

So, things were chugging along just fine. I was working 12 hour shifts as a waitress in a swanky hotel {with a less than swanky paycheck}, Lorenzo was designing his digital dreams as a digital media student and we were living with eight other people in a cold house in the hipster superb of Chippendale. But something wasn’t right. I missed my friends and family, I was too time and money poor to explore Australia and I was worried that I was running out of time on my year long visa.

Then, I became the business woman of my dreams, sort of. I didn’t realize what had happened until I went home at the end of 2012.

When I finally made the trip back home for Christmas, something felt different. Suddenly, it all felt a little more like visiting. Being someone that doesn’t always grasp understanding right in the moment it took me a few days of reflection to understand just what was going on.

Here’s the thing. I missed my life. I missed my home.

Sydney = home.

I know, I know. What an insensitive daughter/sister/niece/friend. But really, I’ve built my life here and it took a trip back to the motherland for me to see it.

You know when you’re first starting out in a new place and everything is unfamiliar? In Australia, the suburb streets are lined with terrace houses, all connected at the walls with different colors paint splashed across their fronts. The first time I saw it, I thought it was weird; so different from home, where childhood houses are spread across blocks all surrounded by picket fences with metal swing sets in the backyards.

Street signs at Peel St

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I’ve stopped noticing accents. It takes a sudden moment of clarity to realize whether someone is talking like me, or like everyone around me, because they are both so second nature to me now.

Sometimes travelers, when they find themselves writing similar words or thinking similar thoughts, they bolt. They’ve overstayed their welcome. I’ve just found my place, and that is a very exciting feeling.