It was inevitable. It was bound to happen sooner rather than later. I was bound to have a full fledged wave of homesickness overwhelm me. No matter how many times I’ve said “there’s no point missing home while I’m here otherwise I should just be home” I got hit with the undeniable feeling of wanting home. It’s incredible how much one can miss the feeling of a simple hug.
On Sunday, I woke up out of sorts around 5am. The 5am part isn’t what’s out of the ordinary – in fact, there hasn’t been a day since I’ve arrived here where I have slept past 7am without waking up and going back to sleep. It’s either too hot and sticky or it gets bright too early in the morning, or the neighbours done up El Camino would wake me up as he stalled it a minimum of 6 times on before pinning it to the nuts heading to work at ungodly hours of the morning. I walked down to the jetty at the end of Park Rd and watched the sun rise as hundreds of runners and bikers burned off their morning energy – I on the other hand, slumped down near sloth like and sleepily sat in my pyjamas alone, contemplating whether I should Instagram the moment before me (I decided against it in the end, if you’re wondering – which I’m sure you are.) I figured by the time I got back to my room and my bed, I would see sleep in a new light and try again. Not the case. No sleep for Hil. I sat in my room for what seemed like endless hours until I decided to plan my day out. I am not required to work Sunday’s so my options are often endless. At 25, one may expect I should be potentially hungover on a Sunday morning or have plans to go to a beach for the day. Not the case, either. I decided I needed to “find myself” – a tricky game of hide and seek that most people my age play. At 25, you feel closer to 30 than you do 20 and you feel like you need to have shit figured out, or some idea of where your next couple years are going. I don’t joke when I say I’m having a “quarter life crisis” – that shit is real. I decided I would take the CityCat downtown and catch a church service and then go get a library card. Trust me, I had the “who even am I” moment too, so before you have that feeling, you may as well laugh at it yourself if you know me well because you’ll know it’s out of the ordinary. I don’t consider myself to be an overly religious person and I certainly don’t read much more than a juicy bit of gossip about my girl Kim Kardashian and her new blonde hair so this is definitely out of character for me.
I pulled myself together. I threw my hair up, put a notepad, pen and MacBook in my bag, popped on a good playlist and off I headed to catch a 10am service at St Stephen’s Cathedral on Elizabeth St. I’ve gone to church plenty over the years but never have I taken a boat to church. I kept laughing to myself thinking “look who’s fancy now; taking a boat to church” but finally pulled myself together after a while – if you can’t have a good laugh at yourself, what’s the point? It took about 20 minutes down the river but the morning sun was just the right temperature and the water was still peaceful.
The church itself is roughly 140 years old. It’s dark and ominous and hot as a lion’s belly inside, even at 10am. The congregation filled quickly and I began to think about the last time I had been to church. It’s been since Christmas Eve. Before that, who knows? I don’t consider myself religious. I believe in a higher power but I’m not sure what it is yet. The thought of church is soothing to me, even still. Sometimes it has a calming effect and if you really apply the words to every day situations without praising anything higher or giving that something a name, sometimes it can trigger a different way of thinking – that’s just my opinion. The choir, which consisted of about 30 people between the ages of 9 and 50 paraded in. Their performance throughout the service was as chillingly beautiful as it was melodic. Each voice brought something new to my ears as each one played off each other, complimenting the voice next to them. The harmony was spot on and their talent had mesmerized me completely – oddly, I could have listened to it all day even though it’s not my typical music choice, there is always something incredible about live performances as raw as this.
When church was over, my family FaceTimed me into a party they were having. I sat on Elizabeth St being passed around the living room in Nova Scotia as if I was there but sadly, it made things worse. I sent my best wishes and upon hanging up, proceeded to lose myself in tears in the middle of the sidewalk. I’m not embarrassed by this at all – I feel lucky knowing I care enough about something to be emotional about it! It’s wonderful to be able to still be so close to my loved ones, even 17,000kms away. Between FaceTime and social media, I don’t miss a beat. I questionably talk to the people at home more now than when I lived at home! I can’t imagine how this trip would have been even 10-15 years ago without the technology we have now. In that moment, I decided I needed to write or read or something. I needed some quiet and I either needed to get everything on my mind onto paper/into my journal or dissolve myself into someone else’s words to think about something else but why not do both? I headed to Brisbane Square Library and got myself my first piece of Brisbane that had my name on it – a library card! I was suddenly transported to 1997 when my dad got me my first card for the library in Guysborough. I grabbed a few books and settled into a seat with a water view looking out towards the Wheel of Brisbane in South Bank. I read a little, put the book down and got into writing all the positives in my life, all of my strengths as well as a few other confusing things – all part of winning the game of “hide and seek” with my life – I still haven’t “found myself” but I don’t think it’s something that will happen in the near future. I’d like to think I had a career lined up, savings built up, a loose life plan but I don’t. Thankfully, I figure I’m the only one who expects it. I don’t feel pressure by my family so that’s a bonus. I pulled a lengthly journal entry and decided that finally, around 2pm, it was time to try to go back and nap. That also never happened. But on the upside, I was able to sort my thoughts, get out of the house, get a Starbucks and watch another sunrise. I can conclude that it wasn’t a bad day after all.
Over the past few days, I’ve been venturing into the city on my hours off just to immerse myself in the city life – a large change from Guysborough and Maryvale. It’s calming to know you’re one of the only ones amongst the crowds of working professionals and general population that actually doesn’t have anywhere to be. I’m not expecting anything to happen. I’m just sitting back, watching the rush and feeling lucky I am on my own time. To be a part of that slight chaos and know you don’t contribute to any of it is a wonderful feeling. There is no point in rushing your time here – enjoy every minute, in chaos or not. Finding patience has been one of the greatest discoveries of this experience. I hope it stays with me wherever I end up. That was one thing my life lacked so if nothing else, I’ve become more patient in the past few weeks.