I was born on the other side of the world where the sun shines bright, the sea is warm and the beer is cold. The most popular question people ask me when they hear of my sub-tropical beginnings is ‘What on earth are you doing here’?
The move to England was totally out of my hands, I tried as hard as I could to gurgle and blabber my wishes to stay in Aussie to my anglophile parents, but at just 10 weeks old communication wasn’t my strong point. The trip back to Blighty was fraught with the usual tensions applicable to travelling 12,00 miles with a new baby and naughty toddler. During re-fuelling at Changi Airport, Singapore my elder brother, then 4 years old decided to sneak off in the duty-free toy shop and hide on a shelf behind a particularly large monkey teddy. This sparked a security alert, cue my Mum hysterically tearing the shop up, shouting his name and wailing like a banshee that someone had taken her little angel. On the verge of a full security lock-down the little sod meandered out of the toy shop where an eagle-eyed officer spotted him and an international air travel disaster was averted.
I recently moved house again but with my own little family, and just a few hundred miles away and not another continent. If I’ve reckoned it up right, and it’s taken consultation with 5 different people, I think I have now moved house 22 times. This includes various UK cities, as well as two moves abroad, and its only now that I can appreciate the military precision with which my Mum expertly organised and coördinated what we saw as ‘adventures’. For a long time it’s been hard to find a place to call home, I have emotional ties to many places but my roots are too entangled with trains, planes and automobile tracks to choose only one of my many past dwellings. One of my passports says I’m Australian, the other says I’m British, even the powers that be cant agree where I come from or more importantly where I belong.
Now I have similar plans for my brood, I’m keen for my children to see as much of the world as possible, my eldest daughter has been abroad 17 times in 6 years. I committed the ultimate sin and took her to the adult playground that it Las Vegas and to New York when she was just a toddler, trying to break down the barriers against taking young children on long haul city breaks. I will never forget the look on her face the first time she saw the Statue of Liberty, that made the 9 hour flight so worth while. (Ps, she did not bawl her lungs out during the flight, she was very well-behaved and the air stewardesses loved her….genuinely)
I may not have grown up with the same group of friends from nursery to university, but thanks to Facebook and other online social networks that’s hardly a worry. I believe that my gypsy-esque upbringing was an amazing adventure that has shaped me to be the out-going, friendly person I am today. To all of those who have a place to call their home town, cherish it, embrace its familiar ways and changing landscapes. To those like me, who are undecided, class yourself as a citizen of the world…always the new girl, never the veteran.