I lay awake at night engulfed in memories as though I am watching my life from the sidelines as a mere spectator. It’s more than that though, it was my life and although it isn’t right now it will be again somewhere in the distance albeit different from what I remember. When your heart beats to the rhythm of two places you can feel torn inside and question where your true north lies.
It’s not that I’m an insomniac even though at this time in my life I can see changes to my sleep rhythm, it’s the quiet stillness of the night that draws me in. This time where everyone else is sleeping soundly is as precious to me as it is to my sanity, giving me the space to think and be something other than a nurse, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend. Thoughts that for the most part get drowned out by the chaos of my everyday and the busyness that is my life.
It’s cold outside but the fan hums in the corner of the room allowing just enough airflow to prevent the radiator heat making the room stuffy. It’s pitch black outside and the only sliver of light shines from the lamp post and the Christmas lights left on by some of my neighbours. Instead of sleep I am drawn into thoughts of home and what life is like there right now.
I am am certainly my not ungrateful for the opportunity to live abroad, we have begun to build a sense of identity and belonging here as part of the expat community that makes up a significant portion of society now. We feel blessed to live in a diverse country that is so beautiful and ever-changing. England and in fact the United Kingdom has so much to offer with four equally beautiful seasons, history, and culture. The quiet solitude of the night draws me back to remember our life before England, and I’m uncertain of how to process these mixed emotions.
The Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia is one of the most beautiful places that leaves its mark on you and changes the way you see coastal life. It’s home to some of the most beautiful beaches but Mooloolaba, Alexandra, and Point Cartwright have my heart. This time of the year you would expect to smell the salty air tinged with the smell of sunscreen. The hot sun stings your skin but is quickly relieved under the shade of a tree or by the ocean as you dive beneath the crystal clear waves.
Fresh produce, strong smooth coffee, and a fitness and adventure culture is probably some of what I miss but most of all it’s the people. The coffee shop owners know who we are and what we order, the local chip shop is also the same and feels like it hasn’t changed since the 1990’s, and the friendships I forged on the coast will forever be with me. I am blessed to have some wonderful friends who to this day are vitally important to me.
I visit this nostalgia vortex often and to be honest I think holding so tightly into the life we had has prevented us fully embracing the life we have here because we’ve always thought “we are going home soon”. We will be going home at some point but for now we have decided to stay until Mackenzie finishes her GCSEs so it’s time to embrace life in England.
We will be heading home to Australia next year for a 6 week long holiday with the hope that our two nieces will join us. For now I will continue to stay connected and get my Aussie “fix” by keeping up with my friends in Australia and by watching our favourite Australian YouTubers: Flying the Nest. Beth and Paul. BNE Wanderer. Little Grey Box. The BAM Famalam in Australia.
How do you deal with nostalgia when your heart belongs to two places?