Home And The Rest Of The World

Monday, October 24, 2011

It’s been a roller coaster of a month for little old me. My time in Sydney was full of happiness, excitement, rest, anguish, stress, sadness, and joy. Living abroad is such a mad mix of emotions both while you are away from home and when you return. You always feel a little on the outside of both worlds – never feeling like you completely belong in your new land and the same time feeling disconnected from the home you grew up in. This life you lead is often hard to describe to others.

Despite the disconnectedness and the not so great things that happened on my trip home, I spent many joyous days soaking up my beloved Australian light and feeling the sand beneath my toes at the beach. I reveled in the bliss that is spending quality family time and devoted many mornings and afternoons to sipping my cherished Sydney coffees with friends old and new. I lapped up my favourite shopping haunts and ventured to many new ones.

I think my most favourite moment was my second morning in Sydney. I walked along the esplanade with my mumma in the glorious sunshine, the light was sparkling on the beautiful blue ocean and bouncing over the sand so perfectly white. Mum asked me if I missed the city…I looked out and said, “that right there is what I miss.” I think she looked at it with almost glazed eyes, as she sees it on a regular basis. I told her that we Australians have no idea how lucky we really are. You don’t know until you leave. And I’m quite certain the same thing happened to the Canadian when he lived in Sydney. His homecomings would include looking at those snow-capped mountains and thinking the exact same thing. He hasn’t told me in so many words, but I’m pretty sure that’s what he’s thinking when he sits atop Whistler Mountain on his snowboard.

Clearly, these are first world problems and ours could be far greater…either way, we will be alright.

p.s. Swing back here tomorrow to hear about my give away!

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  • Rhianne

    Although I don’t live in a different country, I do live 4 hours away from my family and where I grew up and that 4 hours still seems like a massive difference to me. You’re right, you always feel a little on the outside of both places, but also a little on the inside too and thats why I love them both still, they are both a part of me, just in different ways and different times.

  • alexandria

    This is stunning. What a view to remember and hold close.

  • tamar

    Hi Amanda,
    I cam across your blog yesterday when I was searching online if the photo booth at the Pacific Centre was still there… You had written something about it and hey presto I was avidly reading and scanning your blog. I appreciate all the info you put out there, thanks! I have a photo blog which I am trying to make into a daily thing now and am trying to connect with other photographers/artists in town. Would love to meet you one day. take care, Tamar.

    • Amanda

      Hi Tamar,
      I’m not sure that photobooth is in Pacific Centre anymore! Have you found it yet? I think they got rid of it..or maybe they moved it elsewhere. I haven’t found another one in Vancouver anywhere at this point.
      Thanks so much for the lovely comments- it means a lot.

  • tamar

    oh meant to say that even though your trip was filled with mixed emotions at least you got to go and spend your time there. it is hard adjusting to life in Vancouver, at least it was for me (came from London) but it does grow on you in the end.

  • Kristina

    i am so with you on your all first paragraph. i absolutely know the feeling. living more than 10 years abroad i can never stop thinking where do i belong, where do my kids belong, and if i ever have to make a choice, is it possible to make a right one. i am torned between countries, culture and people, and while there is a lot of advantages, there is this big feeling of disconecting and belonging to nowhere. all the visits back are filled with such a wide range of emotions that i have no words to discribe.

  • Eliz

    welcome home, Amanda! glad to have you back in our little rain-sunshine city :)

  • Mary

    Beautifully written as well as the lovely shot- you sum it up exactly, having a foot in two countries…even worse in two hemispheres… (I can’t wait to go home this Christmas after 2 years away but I am also a little nervous as to how it will make me feel!!)…but your photos are good proof that you do appreciate home through new eyes :)

    • Amanda

      Mary, I didn’t feel it as much the first time I went home as I’d only been gone for 7 months. Wow, 2 years…you are going to have a ball at home. I think you definitely do see it with new eyes.

  • Kim

    It’s funny how at the end you mentioned your problems could be far greater, because as I read along all I could think was “Wow, and I complain about having my family be in California!” (I live in Portland, OR). I guess, no matter what, there’s always gonna be someone with it worse… But that doesn’t make the problems we face any less difficult. I’m glad you had a sweet trip home, and I can totally relate to that disconnectedness (on a much smaller scale, of course ;).

    • Amanda

      Yeah, that is true, Kim. Our problems are all relative but sometimes I feel bad for having these emotions as both cities are so beautiful.

  • Ashley

    Welcome back to Vancouver!
    This is a wonderfully written post. I think it’s a feeling that most people have when they leave a place they lived in for a long time. I haven’t traveled much internationally, but I’ve spent lots of time in so many different parts of Canada, each with it’s own quirks and bits that I miss when I’m not there. The hardest part of life sometimes is appreciating what IS there, right in front of you. I know sometimes I feel like that with Vancouver, like I can never see any good in it, but when I leave, I know I’ll miss things about it.

    • Amanda

      Thanks so much, Ashley. So true about appreciating. I think we all take our hometown for granted. Those mountains and ocean are pretty darn spectacular. :)

  • nadine

    Hi Amanda,

    Can you read my mind.??.. I know exactly what you saying….
    I am a Canadian living in the Uk and have been doing so for almost 10 years now. So is the UK my home or is it Canada??? Each summer my husband and I go ‘home’ to visit family and friends and I really cherish the time to catch up and make new memories. But sometimes it is really like living two different lives, it’s quite hard to feel a part of both places, and I’m not sure I will ever figure that one out.

    And like you I also try to make the most of the time spent, good, bad or otherwise, in each of my ‘homes’.

    xx nadine xx

    • Amanda

      It’s interesting to hear that it’s a common thing. I thought it was one of my weird annoyances but I’m glad it’s quite common.
      Thanks for adding to the conversation, Nadine. :)

  • Anne

    i love your words… being an expat is the strangest feeling. belonging neither here nor there but a rich experience nonetheless…
    thank you!

  • Twiggs

    it’s funny, i felt the exact same way when i was going to angola to work for a month at a time. it wasn’t that long, but the country is so different, and i wasn’t living in any hotel, so the feeling was that was my country for at least one month. people talked portuguese just like i do, but everything else was different. different country, different continent, different culture. and whenever i came back to lisbon i felt like you’re saying… out of this city… it would take me at least two weeks to settle down and feel at home again. and by then i would actually go to angola again for a month. it was really hard to explain to others. and you just wrote what i felt back then!

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