Gate 79

Airports always strike me as such an interesting microcosm of society. Nowhere else is the full spectrum of human emotion on display in such a public forum. Tears, anger, indifference, joy, excitement, frustration. Yet each traveller is encased in their own little bubble, distanced from everyone else. They’re already on their journey, regardless of whether the plane has left.

Usually I consider myself a pretty impassive observer but today I was a part of it: emotional rollercoaster and public spectacle. The gravity of moving overseas hit me with its full force, turning a relatively seasoned (cynical) traveller into a snivelling wreck. Words came out garbled, shoulders heaved, every fibre of my body turned its focus to making a biblical torrent of snot. As undignified as it was, it proved productive. Nothing makes males more uncomfortable than overt displays of female emotion; I flew through security and immigration.

Disappointing though, I had rehearsed what I was going to say: something uplifting and self-assured, something to inspire confidence in the young woman embarking on a new life adventure. Instead it went something like: “Mmmmfffmmmm going… to miss you mmmrrmmmm come visit.” None of the goodbyes went exactly the way I wanted them to. Eloquence under pressure is not my strong point. What I should have done was write some letters. The written word doesn’t betray me like my emotions and sinuses apparently do.

Here it is then, a letter to those failed by my feeble, awkward goodbyes.

Thank you for being the friend everyone dreams of having. You’ve made me brave enough to try something new and humble enough to realise what I’m leaving behind. Keep in touch, come and visit, and I’ll miss you more than you know.

Love, Bridget.

Thoughts on nostalgia

Dear blog, it’s been a while since we’ve spoken. You must be one of the dustiest corners of the internet. Anyway, I thought it was about time I filled you in on some recent happenings. I’ve been experiencing a few lasts lately. That sounds overly dramatic, I’m not dying just moving to Singapore. And I am completely, unashamedly excited. Can. Not. Wait.

The thing that’s taken me by surprise is my lack of nostalgia. Usually when you’re about to leave somewhere, you experience pangs of regret, ghosts of good times passed. I had that for about four hours, and then I was good to go. Still good to go, say the word and I’ll be at the airport. I don’t know if I can wait five days. But I find myself issuing reminders to appreciate the things I’m leaving behind. “This is the last time you’ll eat here.” “The last time you swim at this beach.” “The last time you’ll see that person.” Even with the verbal cues, there’s nothing. No rose-tinted memories, no slow-motion laughing, no slightly out-of-focus smiling people. Just, “Yeah, true. Not long to go now.” That sounds horrible and callous but change is just so well overdue. Of course I’m going to miss this aggressively patriotic state and this glorified, big country town I called home. Even more so the people. But people, or relationships, just don’t get left behind like beaches and restaurants. They’re coming too. That’s why it’s so hard to get upset about leaving, I’ll be bringing my friends and family with; packing them in a mental suitcase and pulling them out when I need them. That metaphor took a sinister turn, but you know what I mean. Singapore, not Snowtown.

I’m sure the sentimentality will catch up with me, probably in six weeks’ time it will punch me in the face with typhoon-strength homesickness. I’ll be reminiscing misty-eyed about the most mundane, ire-inducing aspects of Brisbane life: Campbell Newman (“Ohh Can Do and your tunnels!”), public transport (“The friendly 444!”), Coronation Drive (“The jacarandas were so beautiful, I loved spending an hour stuck in traffic there”), bogans (“They used to yell abuse when they drove past in their Skylines, so quaint!”). Maybe. But for now, I look forward to the land of stopovers and weird mermaid lions. I’ll brush up on my Singlish, get used to drinking Tiger and prepare my search for the best satay stand. Bring it on, lah!