Lately I have had little flashes of moments from my life in Sydney. I guess I shouldn’t say lately, I have them often. However, I have struggled a bit as of late. I have fought off getting sick, I am getting back into my workout routine after my quick holiday back to California and well…emotions just happen, especially when dealing with grief and this week has been a doozie. So my whole mind, body and spirit are trying to recuperate and find a calm yet again.
With that, one image that came to mind recently was a little coffee shop Matt I would walk to up in North Sydney, called Sotto on West. Matt and I walked EVERYWHERE and it was our way to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather while stretching our legs and exploring every nook and cranny that was Sydney. But why this particular coffee shop came to mind, I am not sure; but what I felt inside was a deep loneliness and a longing to be back in Australia.
While living in Sydney, there was always a major part of my that wanted to move back to California and Matt knew it. Matt had a free spirit and felt no ties to any place in particular, except for San Francisco. He loved moving around and getting to know new places. A love he would foster in me. But I think the stress of knowing that I wasn’t fully happy living so far away from my family, especially when we added two little ones of our own, was extremely difficult for him. We had to raise two kids on our own, without our families near to help us out when times got tough. Not many of our friends in Sydney had kids, so we were navigating through a new world alone.
Moving back to the States without Matt by my side was one of the most difficult 24+ hours I have ever dealt with. I was relieved to be leaving Australia because I couldn’t bare being suffocated by the constant memories. Georgia was a place we had no memories together, so it was a safe haven for me. But now, 8 months on, leaving Australia actually created an internal struggle between my love for California and my newly discovered love for Australia. I think I was so focused on one day moving back home that I really forgot to live in the moment and enjoy ALL Sydney had to offer. I made an amazing set of friends whom most I consider family and we really did soak in the beauty but I look at the lifestyle we created and it was truly hard to beat.
The downside though was how expensive Australia was and how we never felt like we could get on top financially. Another thing for me, that was more personal, was I always had this nagging feeling like I would never fully fit in, that I would stand out. Why I had that feeling? I am not sure, but it weighed heavily on my heart. Lastly, the flight home to see family was stressful, 14 hours on a plane with two kids is enough to convince us that going home for the holidays was not a smart idea.
Struggling with these glimpses of life in Sydney is something I should expect and accept. I can accept it while crying or laughing. Matt and I created our life together in Australia. It was forged in California. The holidays we did spend in California are just as grand, but we never settled and raised our kids in California. It was a goal of ours to one day move home, but now I am left to blaze a new trail. I guess what is hard on top of missing my life in Sydney, is knowing that I will only get to relive them in my dreams, in my writing and in my heart.
What causes a great deal of sadness is, I realised I took my life in Sydney for granted. I spend more time in a car now, driving every where. I rarely go for walks since I can’t just put the kids in the pram and go to the nearest coffee shop and enjoy a moment. Matt and I can’t walk down to the Harbour Bridge, cross over the beautiful “coat hanger” while watching the ferry boats take people to and from the Circular Quay, all the while basking in the white glow that is the Opera House. Once our feet were exhausted we would sit in the Botanical Gardens and have a picnic while listen to the bats giggle and fly over head. That life no longer exists. The memories created, I no longer take for granted, I hold them tightly like I do my children. But the pain of knowing I never truly allowed my heart freedom in Sydney brings tears to my eyes.
What I have to do now, is learn how to live with these memories and not let them control me and drive me into a depression. I have to learn how to honour my past and move myself forward. I will always have a home in Australia and I plan to make it back to Sydney as often as possible, I mean my kids were born there after all. Kaden and Scarlett deserve to see where their life began and where their mommy and daddy spent our years together. I am sure it won’t be easy going back, just like going to San Francisco isn’t easy. Until then, I will be easy on myself. I will allow myself to feel deeply and reminisce. As long as I don’t unpack my things and stay in the past, I have faith that I will learn from these moments and to never take any experience for granted.