I stepped off the plane; eyes streaming with the brightness of the light and my head was full of hope, possibility, a fresh start. The sky was so blue, and everything looked clean and shiny and new.
I was, ten years ago, the most excited I have ever been in my life. I was also the most terrified. I moved here with a man that I loved more than anything and we were going to start a new life together and everything was wonderful and blue and the warm air wrapped itself around us in a welcoming hug.
I was, at twenty-three, filled with the confidence of being young and in love.
I am now, at thirty-three, wondering where the time has gone; how things have changed so much in the last decade and equally how has it only been ten years? The twenty-three year old with stars in her eyes, hand in hand with her first love seems like a different person now. She’s grown older, had her heart broken by herself and others, learnt a lot about herself and others, forged friendships out of nothing and dragged herself up from the depths of despair with her fingernails.
Perth hasn’t been easy. I struggled when I moved here to find my place, to find out who I was in this strange country and these people that seemed so familiar and yet so not. I discovered that twenty-four year old me wanted a very different life and went about creating that with all the chaos and anguish that went along with destroying a relationship. I am still struck by how quickly everything can change, how swiftly solid ground under your feet can turn to quicksand.
At twenty-six I was so homesick I cried every night. At twenty-seven I moved back home, where another type of homesickness over took it. The homesickness of wanting everything how it had been before your soul changed. The crippling loneliness that rushed in, the panic at not knowing what to do or where to be, or how to be. This is England, but not as I knew it. Then, a momentary reprise, a glimmer of something so special it can’t be described. Again a change in me, resulting in a decision to leave, renew my visa, to come back to Perth.
I was, at thirty-one, happy in the open skied blueness of Australia. The city had changed, it was starting to grow up. As was I. I found my place, I found the person that I needed to be was exactly who I already was. I found my tribe.
I am now, at thirty-three, wondering where the time has gone and how I can I possibly be so old that I’ve lived here for ten years but equally, how can I still be so young when the last ten years have changed me this much.
I am now, at thirty-three, still the most excited I have ever been; I am still that hopeful twenty-three year old with stars in her eyes, only now the stars are of my own making.