It’s a funny thing, this living overseas business. I don’t think I realised how much change would occur in me when I made this move and it certainly wasn’t apparent to me in any case. That is, until I came home to Australia for a visit this month.
Ben and I longed for this little break for so many reasons — we were missing family and friends dreadfully, we desperately needed some sunshine and vitamin D after the long European winter, and we generally just needed to re-set in anticipation of what the rest of 2014 in Berlin would bring. Our three-week ‘holiday’ met all of these needs wonderfully.
I couldn’t help feeling that something was amiss, though. I found difficulty in describing how I felt at first and put this strange feeling down to jet-lag, feeling as though I hadn’t properly adjusted. But as time went on and the feeling didn’t vanish, I came to realise and was able to articulate what this sense of strangeness was all about.
I felt as though I lived in two worlds and was living two completely different lives. One was in a foreign place that had come to feel somewhat familiar and comfortable; the other, an exceedingly familiar and comfortable place that now seemed strange to me. Everything in Australia was easy, predictable and comfortable. Nothing was ever difficult and we were forever surrounded by people who loved us. But, strangely, I wasn’t settled when I was there. I felt as though I had come back to a place that was the same as it had always been, but that somehow, I was a little bit different now, and slotting seamlessly back into my old life was more difficult than I had anticipated.
I know without a doubt that the experiences I’ve had over the past nine months living abroad have caused some deep-seated change within me. I’m seeing things with fresh eyes and I now know that I’m not ready to come back home yet. I feel like there’s unfinished business to attend to over here in Europe and that’s an exciting prospect. I’m restless and hungry for opportunity. And I know, more than ever, that I need to make the most of this time of my life, before the constraints of a mortgage or family inevitably arise. I know that this is where I’m supposed to be right now. So I’ll continue to push forward and savour every moment of this extraordinary life.
Besides, can one really argue with Einstein of all people?
‘Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.’