From there to now
I was having a great conversation with my friend Emma about how it is typical of human nature to tend to define things, people, thoughts and ideologies, to comprehend and understand them. The never ending process of giving them shapes and boundaries, a name tag and a circumscribed territory. Once you have a set of categories, it is easier to feel where you belong, where your identity lies. You are part of this or that group, you have this kind of philosophy, you’re that kind of person. It can be an useful and easy approach, but also potentially harmful for the complexity and bittersweet impossibility of finding a complete definition, even if you are able to recognise it fully and clearly.
How to define identity? Is perceiving ourselves in harmony with the environment we are living in enough to consider ourselves belonging to it? Maybe not, but I think that sometimes it is enough to feel at home, and that’s really what is an ultimate need of any human being. From an expatriate’s point of view, divided between different worlds, what has mattered the most is finding my niche – possibly flexing but with never denying my nature. Scary perspective, when it comes to start from zero during that period of your life in which your grey areas are starting to become colourful.
After having been away for a year, it is funny to look back and realise how that went really quickly, how astonishing it is even if expected. I remember when I left from Venice, with watery eyes and so many hopes, excited about not knowing what would have happened. Being all tough at first, in front of everybody, just to admit to myself how difficult it was being once I sat down and fastened my seatbelt. I got on that flight being only confident that I would have been happy, no matter what. And, if anything, I got that one right.
I landed in Sydney and for the first weeks I could not keep my eyes off it. So beautiful, interesting, smart, refreshing, fearfully vast and unknown. I had never lived in a city so big and full of people, and if at first I was afraid to get lost in it, I soon found losing track of where I was one of the most exciting things to do. As when you meet someone for the first time, I explored its personality, together with my first very good friends with who I had some of the best and meaningful experiences of my life. They had an incredibly positive influence on me, and made my first months unique, easy and so much fun. I am missing them all a lot. Sydney often took us by surprise: it slapped us, it robbed us, and made us happy to have someone to count on. But I am so, so glad it did. I am so grateful to that city down under, where magic really can happen.
I have walked, driven, flown over more kilometres than ever, ran down hill and up hill, learned that ‘no worries’ is possibly one of the best ways to approach life. Knowing it more and more, Australia did start to change me. In my brain and in my eyes, after having experienced the harshness of a cyclone, counted sea turtles from the summit of Long Island with one of the best girls I have ever met, lifted my heart up with the laughter at the beer pongs of Australia Day, burned my bare feet with the boiling hot soil of the Northern Territory I felt like the walk had just started, I felt like Australia was finally looking at me directly, not saying anything, just taking me by the hand and guiding me. Even if I was always only passing by this continent, I managed to find myself happy here. I can say I did fall in love with it, and that leaving it did break my heart. I’ve learned a lot, I saw things that changed my point of view, and that I’ll never forget.
Faces, names and landscapes are buzzing in my mind, words that I won’t use again until the day I’ll be back. All I can write about now is thank you, thanks for creating that niche where I really felt like I belonged. Where I never had to deny my nature, never had to hide it, where I could define myself and understand that within the diversities we’re one.
Thanks to make it easier for me to call Sydney my home, and Australia my environment. I feel blessed as this doesn’t happen all the time, and for the lifestyle I’ve chosen this feeling is often not obvious and automatically granted.
I know I’ll meet you guys again.
I know I’ll come back home, eventually, maybe with different eyes but, I swear, with the same heart.
Farewell, Aussie family. I’ll see you soon.