Experiencing home sickness

It’s rare for me to experience home sickness. In the almost four years I’ve lived away from my home state, I can only recall it happening a handful of times.

The first was the entirety of my first six months on the Apple Isle. If you read back through my old blog posts you’d understand why. I was studying full-time in a fast track degree with no government support, working an underpaid job almost full-time also, and was probably the only person of colour in my suburb. It was a lonely existence.

The other time was during and following a break up. The only person I felt like I could fall into a heap in front of was my house mate, Bec. She was incredibly busy, and spent most of her time at work. I spent a lot of time feeling confused, disrespected, and hurt by how someone had chosen to treat me on the phone to friends and family in another state.

The third time was just the other day. Since moving to Ranelagh I’ve taken to walks around the area, along the dirt roads that surround our home. Just last week, walking along one of these roads I was struck by how much it reminds me of my parents home. And just like that, I was struck by a bout of homesickness for the hills and roads my feet had crossed over many years ago.

The best way to describe it was like how people describe the sensation of your life flashing before your eyes before you die. It was a sequence of images and touch; summers spent running up hills, and rolling down them; the sensation of sharp rocks under bare toes; the smell of a Victorian country back-road replete with eucalypt and wheat grass.

A bit of what you see in this video my sister and I made one day at home when we were feeling creative and bored.

 

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Three/four years in Tasmania

I’m well into my third year of living in Tasmania, I’ve reached that point where it seems more appropriate to say ‘four years’, in the occasional ‘how long have you been here?’ conversations I still seem to have.

This morning I drove out to my partner Mark’s parents home, it’s a scenic thirty minute drive from Hobart city, and around each bend is a different view of the city in it’s tight little nook between mountains and the River Derwent.

Being so close, we rarely visit their house and, as we broached a ‘we’ve got news’ conversation they both said, ‘ah, that’s why you’re here’. The news was that we have finally decided to move from our two-bedroom apartment in the city (which is technically theirs), to our home in the country (which is technically mine).

It’s also only a thirty minute drive from the city, but people continue to be amazed by the decision.

‘What about the commute?’, ‘do you think it’ll be too quiet’…and ‘..that Southern Outlet traffic’.

They’re all valid points. I’m going from a forty minute walk/fifteen minute drive to my desk to a thirty minute drive or bus trip, and yes, it’ll be quiet. It’s a country house in the middle of a paddock on a dead end road. There’s something exciting about that kind of silence though, it’s a choice.

We spent the next few hours talking moving logistics with Marks parents, playing with the baby goats, picking fresh food from the garden, and trying to tame their boisterous German Shepherd before hightailing back to the city.

Living in Tasmania these past three…four-ish years… seems like a bit of a blur. I can’t say I see myself living here forever, but I couldn’t say that of any place. The thought of returning to Melbourne fills me with a slight dread.

My family and friends inhabit that city and its surrounds but it’s burgeoning, overwhelming, and doesn’t have the warmth of a Tasmanian city. It’s easy to get a smile here, it’s not unusual to say hello to someone as you pass them on a street just two back from the main drag.

There’s crap things about Tasmania though, there’s no trains for one thing. It’s such a short sighted and frustrating deficit for a small state. Imagine how the population would spread out if there were even two or three train lines feeding from the centre of the city?

Anyway, these are just random thoughts that occupy my mind when I think of catching the bus from my new home in the country.

It’s Sunday here, and I’m now snuggled up on the couch halfway between listening to music and accepting I have work to do.

Before I get stuck into a few hours of transcription – here’s some tunes that make me feel good.

Matt Corby’s new one. It’s a bit playful, and speaks of the shift from spring to summer. I can see myself dancing to this at a festival sometime in January.

Pico’s 6and9 instantly had me wanting to write lyrics and singalong to the beat he’s put down. Hopefully it inspires something in you also.

 

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In between meaningful content

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Outside of Wakanda, standing in moonlight.

Over the weekend I committed myself to watching Black Panther.

Like many, I’ve waited for this film with anticipation. The build up has been immense – it is hailed as America’s greatest celebration of Africa on film – the film is believed to be a watershed moment for black people in cinema.

For me – there were moments that did make me catch my breath: the moment T’Challa arrives home to Wakanda; Dora Okoye complaining about having to wear a wig and then using it as a weapon during a fight scene; and the second and then final battles for the throne.

My feelings, were perhaps, compounded by personal experience. Seeing the film in a cinema of white faces because I live in Tasmania made me all the more aware that the only other black people I was sharing the cinema with, aside from one other POC woman a few rows back, were predominately on the screen.

Perhaps they were further compounded by a weird camping experience the previous weekend where I overheard my partners young daughter telling her friend, who we’d invited along for the weekend, to stop saying something because ‘it was racist’. When we later asked her what her friend had said she deflected and said she couldn’t remember, but reassured us several times it wasn’t about me – definitely not about me. She was so quick to offer this reassurance that I’m almost certain it was, in fact, about me.

Having racism enter your personal space in such a manner is alarming. It’s reassuring that my partners daughter is quick to point out racism and shut it down regardless of who it’s aimed at – but also deeply saddening that these negative experiences can hit so close to home, and tear at the fabric of my safety net. The experience has stayed on my mind for a week now, I’ve thought about it on my walks to work surrounded by white faces, in my office space where it’s much of the same. I was even thinking about it later that weekend as we travelled on a boat from our camping spot on Maria Island to the mainland of Tasmania. As I sat in conversation and thought a small child pointed at me and then proceeded to stare at me almost the whole boat ride home. I’m semi-used to this and waved at him to deflect his attention toward an actual interaction, he just continued to stare.

Moving beyond last weekend and to yesterday, I enjoyed the film for what it was – an American film about a comic book hero. Ultimately though, Black Panther feels like a film about African-Americans and America’s perception of Africa.

The characters and scripting feel objectively American and Disney and the relationship dynamics forged in American minds, which isn’t at all surprising given it’s a Marvel comic.

Watching Black Panther made me reminiscence on my favorite film about African-American culture to date: Moonlight. And look forward to the day a film out of Africa is the blockbuster we all flock to see.

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