Well, I’m (more or less) settled. I’m no longer a denizen of the beach towns. I’ve hung up my cutoff jean shorts and flip flops, put my beach towels in storage. Gone is the three block walk to the blue-green water of Bondi, the constant grit of sand in the carpet or shower. I’m officially a resident of Paddington.
I haven’t had time to feel nostalgic for my first place in Australia, and I wonder if I ever will. I loved Bondi, or at least the small sliver of it that was warm sand and cool water and a breezy grassy hill that looked out over all of it. But it housed some lonely nights, some difficult days, a temporarily zombie-like state of isolation and disbelief and doubt. And maybe unfairly, Bondi will always be a little tinged with that for me. So I left. Standard, right?
But I didn’t go far. Fifteen minutes will put me right back on that grassy hill, where I can review the scene again. After time, perspective, a string of full days, happy nights, a new “family,” fresh confidence and a life being rebuilt for the first time, finally, can remove the pallor that had been cast on it.
The move went as moves go, at least for me – procrastinated, panicked, but magically somehow pulled off. Not smoothly, but I’m rarely the smooth one anyway so that’s not new.
The unpacking is still in progress, my flatmates and I shuffling the detritus of our lives like a deck of cards, inching toward making a big empty house a home. And I’m exhausted from the sprinting and hauling but I’m eager for the new routine, to see Sydney like it’s new again. To start trying all the cafes, bars and restaurants in my new corner of the city. To become a regular somewhere like I haven’t been since Seattle. To stop this transience for a while. My things may still in disarray, scattered around this house, but I think I’m finally settled.