Where do you belong?
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?