Yesterday morning was a really gorgeous time in Melbourne. The sun was out, the trees were starting to do their spring thing and I got to work at a nice early hour. A time that is not inhumanely early but that is just early enough to miss the chaos of the morning peak hour. Those first few days of spring when the light seems brighter, the air tastes sweeter and there is an easy-go-lucky spring in my step are just so fabulous. I think we all notice those times of change in our own ways.
This was a really lovely morning that turned quite dark, quite quickly. One of the lovely resident photographers, Jared Beck (his name is only relevant in reference to promoting his fabulous work) was leaving the studio I manage that day. He’s moving back to London after being back in Melbourne a short time and realizing that the action was back there.
I didn’t notice it sneaking up on me as I was frantically running around Smith Street trying to find vegan cakes for my friend’s leaving morning tea. I really did think that I was in vegan heaven, with my work being right near the corner of Smith and Gertrude Streets, but I was clearly deluded. The good news is that Aunt Maggie’s Organics on Gertrude had a whole stack of incredible vegan treats and the morning tea was a little hoot!
After the excitement of spring, the delish cakes and wishing my friend all the luck in the world wore off, I notice a really uncomfortable feeling in my chest and in my guts. I felt unfocused, distracted and emotional to say the least. Normally, I would make a joke about my sensitive, creative nature and mama telling me, “I’m special” but not today. That particular morning I was reminded of the time I was getting ready to leave Edinburgh – not eight months ago.
When I lived in Edinburgh, I really felt at home. I really loved it, and I didn’t leave by choice but because there was nothing else I could do to get the visa I needed to be able to carry on living and working in the UK. I tried. I failed. And I had to move back to Melbourne. Sure I put up a fight and took about three months travelling on my way back, and made spectacular plans to leave again weeks later (but reality played out a little differently and I ended up here for longer).
All of those awful emotions and memories of packing up my life in Edinburgh came back over me. They flashed by – one by one. The afternoon we had my going away do at work and I was holding back the tears as I chowed down my favorite vegetable calzone. The days of fierce exercising by day and wild drinking by night once I was unemployed again. The day the shipping company dropped off the empty boxes to my Rose Street flat, and the day they picked them up. Interviewing my replacement housemate. The rivers of tears as I left my keys on the kitchen table and pulled the door locked behind me. The lonely walks around my favorite places as I mentally said goodbye to the city. The last Saturday night out with all of my friends, under the guise of my festive pub crawl “The 12 Pubs Of Christmas” (that’s a separate post). The last day: the bottle of wine and a couple of whiskies shared with my partner at my local, The Black Cat, and the last bus ride to the airport.
Once all of the memories washed over me, I was just left sad. Like that time when you’re going through a break up and something triggers a memory of your ex and you live through all of the tiny little sad and happy moments at once. I know that according to my own theory that it should take four months to get used to being in a new place. This isn’t really getting used to a new place – it’s moving back from a great place. Dare I be dramatic and even compare it to a first love, or “The One”? Yes, I think I might.
Like with break ups, those dark moments are getting shorter and further apart as time goes on and I get used to living in Melbourne again. But just because I no longer rant about how much I love Edinburgh every time I get drunk, it doesn’t mean I don’t miss it.
Memory is a funny thing and sometimes it’s an unrelated, unsuspecting vegan slice that will remind you of the cold, dark whisky pub in Edinburgh where you left your heart last winter.
Moving around the world is an incredibly amazing gift that too few people have access to. It’s absolutely enriching, but every once in a while it can make you feel empty and like you’re missing something.