I have now lived in the United Kingdom for eight years, but my home town is Redcliffe, a seaside town just north of Brisbane, Australia.
Being so far away from my parents and friendships of old can be difficult at times. Sometimes it feels as though my life has been split into two pieces. The one before I left and the one I am living now. But I am still the same person beneath it all.
Many of my expat friends will possibly agree. You can never really go back to the way things were before you left, and even if you did return, you are leaving another life behind you, the one you are living now. The adventure of travel, living in a different country and culture, are all exciting, but the distance becomes difficult particularly at the toughest moments of your life.
Eight years on, I feel that I have established my life here, just north of London. I have strong friendships, a beautiful home, furry animals, career, and of course my loving husband. I’m also fortunate to say that I have a wonderful family in Australia and friendships and memories that will always hold a piece of me.
Mercifully, social media has made it so much easier to stay in touch with those who are in my heart. Time differences and pure laziness often prevents me from picking up the telephone, yet I still feel close to my long distant friendships through updates and posts that feed through online. Many of those friendships would have slipped, perhaps been lost forever otherwise.
Home is where the heart is, but where is my home? I have an allegiance to both, and whilst I may never truly decide, I feel lucky to have the choice.
This week I prepare for the long haul journey back to Australia. I am excited to spend time with family and friends, reminiscing and catching up on all the things I’ve missed. But really I am not missing out. My time in Australia will be jam-packed, and I will celebrate spending time with familiar faces of old, knowing that a piece of my heart will always stay there.
I am lucky to have two homes, and I have the opportunity to enjoy both halves of my life.
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