Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Growing home

At some point I had to stop trying to make Australia compare to other countries. I used to sit in my living room early mornings, and I was constantly aware that I was 7487 miles away from home. The large panoramic window acted as a focal point for my wondering. Thinking about home. Or where I think of when I refer to home. When that realization hit me, I became separate from everyone. I realized I was at the furthest point I could ever get without actually going into space. I felt separated, distanced and lonely.

That realization, and acceptance was important. That is when I started seeing how people live here. Whenever I lost a connection I saw the world differently. When I was  in Cape Tribulation and I survived my resignation that I was going to be mauled by some strange animal in the middle of a dark and foreboding night--that is when I started to appreciate my surroundings. I was no longer anxious or afraid. Back in Melbourne, the realization of the vast distance brought on that same relinquished pleasure. Shedding of my mortality, my loneliness, and in that state of bareness, I became sensitive to the moment.

I started talking to people about their day-to-day life in Melbourne and the suburbs of Sydney. I was intrigued by how consistently residents accept their situation. For them, I assumed, home is right here. Melbourne has experienced an incredible growth since the 1990s.  The 2011 Most Livable City report placed Melbourne in second place after Vancouver, Canada. After the Commonwealth Games held in 2006, Melbourne continued to grow, and because of this growth, becoming more of a large metropolis.

Melbourne is the fastest growing city in Australia--a bussling centre of activity. From the sleepy town in the eighties, it does not feel that you are at the end of the world but a busy metropolis, with a diverse and rich culture. But it is still peripheral. It is not where it is happening.You always feel like a side show and that you need to tell someone what is happening. To inform them, to make news of events. To shout your presence.

Sitting at my kitchen in San Diego I feel like pre-Galileo, where I am at the center, and everything revolves around me. Seriously, in my kitchen.

At some point you stop evaluating what you feel and just accept it. I no longer think of home as Malta. That belief, that identity,  grounded me through a lot of turbulence in my youth and anchored my dreams. But now it feels like an outpost in my historical past. My ever changing dynamics here in San Diego--an ephemeral existence--and yet this is home. Everything revolves around this moment and this place. I never feel that I am at the wrong place, or that I am being marginalized from any events. I am here. Home.

And for the first time I realize that it has very little to do with geography. I have stopped trying to be somewhere else. While the Maltese idolize England, and while the world is sold on the United States--and within this great north American continent--California shines truest. In San Diego I feel like there is nowhere else to run to. I grew home by quietening my mind. By knowing that the grass is not greener anywhere else. I stopped comparing countries and started to accept the geography and to look into deeper and murkier waters. The home that I carry inside me. Darker than Cape Tribulation, but appreciating that by relinquishing more I get to truly live--my few precious years that I have left--in the moment.

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