Where do you belong?

where-do-you-belongDo we ‘belong’ in the town where we were born? The community we grew up in? Or is belonging more to do with the people we surround ourselves with than any geographic location?

I think it’s a combination of all three.

I grew up in Tamworth, NSW and subsequently, I  feel more at ease in the countryside than in the city. On some level, big cities make me nervous. The constant sound of traffic, the inability to find true darkness, the limited amount of space assigned to trees and grass; all of these things conspire to making me feel a little bit trapped.

On the flipside, I know plenty of people who find the country creepy. All the things that I love about it completely freak them out, Wolf Creek-style.

Then you have community. I grew up with country kids who were open, friendly and could chug a bottle of Jim Beam before breakfast. Some of us lived on farms and some of us lived in the suburbs but the one thing we had in common was that we were daggy and middle class. We drove beaten-up Datsuns, we worked at McDonald’s and we lived in three bedroom brick-and-tile. No one lived in a mansion or went on overseas ski trips with their families. Summer holidays were spent camping at Port Macquarie or South West Rocks. Weekends were spent playing sport or working in our crappy part-time jobs.

That’s why I feel socially awkward sometimes. Some of my friends in Sydney are the children of squillionaires. Their parents own yachts and houses at Palm Beach. Their first car was a BMW.

I, on the other hand, still shop at K-Mart and think of public transport as a luxury (there wasn’t any in Tamworth). I don’t think I am ever going to be completely comfortable around effortless chic and wanton spending, no matter how hard I try.

Which brings me to people. I like most people and I will talk to most people but the people I really love and respect? They are all brilliant, as in ‘having or showing great intelligence, talent, quality.’ The thing I am most proud of in my life is that by some miracle, I belong with them.

So tell me, Dearest Ones, where do you belong? Have you ever visited another country and suddenly felt like it was your true home? Or alternatively, never quite gotten past the place of your birth?

Comments
7 Responses to “Where do you belong?”
  1. Mel says:

    Beautifully written Emma! From one Tamworthian to another and one who has been in similar situations this has hit the metaphorical nail on the head! (Don’t you just love cliches!!)
    You have also asked a strong question that is going to play around in my mind for a while – where do I belong?? Tamworth has wonderful restorative powers for me. At the moment this is home. And every time I drive back here and see the sky become bluer and the clouds fluffier I gain a sense of relief and perspective in my soul. But I don’t thnk I will always be here. But I do know that Tamworth will be!
    Thank you Emma for making me think – it’s been a while!! X

  2. BEAU says:

    SHE GOES, YOU ARE SERIOUSLY AMAZING! THIS IS THE GREATEST BLOG I HAVE EVER READ!

    I TOO, FEEL THE SAME WAY. I LOVING SURROUNDING MYSELF WITH PEOPLE THAT HAVE GREAT DRIVE AND DETERMINATION TO SUCCEED – THOSE WHO WORK HARD FOR WHAT THEY HAVE, THOSE WHO ALWAYS HAVE A KIND WORD TO SUPPORT OTHERS AND KEEP THEM ON TRACK.

    YOU ARE SERIOUSLY AMAZING – I AM GLAD TO SAY YOU ARE PART OF THE PEOPLE I SURROUND MYSELF WITH IN MY LIFE.

    MWA
    XXX

  3. Elly says:

    Whether I like it or not I belong in Adelaide. No matter how many jokes are made about that city I still get choked up as I fly in over the Adelaide hills. Every Time. And I have been in Sydney for 6 years. I think partly it’s the comfort of familiarity – everywhere in Adelaide feels safe to me. And everywhere, every street corner, every park, has a memory associated with it. I walk along the streets I ran along as a kid. And that’s kind of nice.

  4. Rachel says:

    I can completely relate to your feelings about the city, as much as I feel ‘at home’ in a few places in Sydney now, home is and will always be Newcastle. I’ve lived here for a few years now, plus in a couple of places overseas but my home town is still that little city just a few hours away. Growing up in a suburb right near the end of the F3 an amazing feeling washes over me every time I drive over a crest of a hill just near the end of the highway. I know I am almost home and I can relax and be me. While I have outgrown my little neighbourhood as I’ve seen the world and tried different things, there is a sense of familiarity and comfort about Newcastle that I have never experienced anywhere else.
    I think the saying home is where the heart is pretty true, but I don’t think it just relates to people but also places too. No matter where I live I will always be a Newie girl.

  5. Loved your blog which evoked many memories – I grew up in a little town called Capella in the Central Highlands in Queensland where our days were spent picking mulberries , riding our ponies , getting the cows in , and playing down the creek. I spent a lot of time buried under my books and I always wondered what else was out there. Stories from my Uncles made me determined to travel the world . . During a Rotary exchange to Switzerland I embraced a Swiss family and they me and I still have friends from that year. I also caught the travel bug – and later travelled again with John who is now my husband for 3 years back packing and working through Europe. We moved to Sydney ( for a couple of years ) and 20 years later with 3 teenage children we are still here. Sydney is definitely our home and I cant imagine living anywhere else. Although there is a little part of me that can smell the saddle grease , the pinke zinke , the dust of the cattle yard, see the magnificent sunsets, and my beaten up Datsun 120y – there is a bit of the country girl still there . Home is wherever we are with people we love.

  6. Lisa says:

    A moving blog post, Emma – so beautifully written!

    I guess I am a product of both worlds – on the one hand, I grew up around the world (as a diplobrat) and enjoyed all the associated perks, not to mention travel, but between times we lived in CANBERRA and when I first moved to Sydney, I felt like a right hick – couldn’t take my eyes off all the tall buildings.

    People can tell – I always get, “Are you from Canberra or Adelaide?” – perhaps it’s to do with a level of friendliness not often seen in big cities? Then again, anyone who’s been the new girl – which can also come with being a well-travelled jetset kid! – can probably relate to that too.

    So in answer, I am homesick for everywhere…at least four countries at once, but I choose to call Sydney home these days. What makes it home? Definitely the friendly faces and also sheer default – I’ve yet to move anywhere else! Where you belong is the place where you stop asking, “Am I home?”

  7. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

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