Homeward bound

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I’ve been suffering from some fairly irritating writers’ block lately. Everything I jot down is scribbled out or deleted or filed away in a bottomless ‘Drafts’ folder. I’ve found that if I can’t write a post straight away, in one go, the idea tends to languish and rot away. I lose interest and… yeah… You’ve seen the results, or more accurately, the lack thereof.

I’m hoping this evening though will provide some relief from my block. It obviously has already and it’s not even here yet. This evening I’m heading to the airport to fly home. A situation fraught with emotions and writing material!

For some unknown reason, I expected a triumphant homecoming. I’d sweep off the plan clad in designer sunglasses and smart-casual leisurewear, full of stories about the exotic Orient (is Singapore the Orient?) where I now call home, and suddenly be worldly and erudite beyond measure. I’d sneer at Australia, land of uncultured convicts, and bemoan the fact there’s no authentic satay in Brisbane.

Where do I get these notions from? Honestly, I think I watch too much TV. Instead, I’m going home to catch up with friends and family. To eat whatever is on the dinner table. To roll my eyes when my Mum fusses about how much protein I’m eating and if I’m making friends. To go to the beach. To maybe wear a jumper to survive the paltry high-20s temperatures and low humidity. To see whether the place has changed or stayed the same. To see if I’ve changed or stayed the same.

In true Australian fashion, I’ll be picked up by my Dad and his cattle dog. My togs are at the top of my backpack, ready for an airport bathroom costume change. We’ll go straight to the beach. I can feel the hot sand under my feet already. I can feel the gasp in my throat, ready for the shock of plunging into cool, clear salt water.

In case it’s not painfully obvious, I’m a little excited. So I’ll see you on the other side! Of the equator, that is. Hopefully I’ll have something more compelling to write about than airports and sand.

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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.