Last year I was invited by Susannah Conway, to write a love letter to Australia, my home of the past 20 years. It was for one of her community projects – April Love.
Unsurprisingly I have very mixed feelings about the place and I had the distinct sense it was my ‘farewell’. Little did I know that I would be leaving just over a year later. As 19th September 1997 is the anniversary of when I first landed here, it seemed a fitting time to share that letter with you.
As I came here to get married to my Aussie ex-husband (whom I met in England), I feel as though I’m coming full circle, as I’m moving to England, with my English partner (whom I met here in Australia). A real sense of completion and a new chapter beginning…..
After 20 years in your majestic landscape, I still feel so small and insignificant in the hours it takes to fly from one side of you to the other.
So much to love, in the great divide from east to west and north to south, with the biggest, reddest carpet I’ve ever seen.
When I was a young girl my daydreams were filled with travel and magical adventure. I had a sense that I was not going to live out my days in rainy Northern England, much to my mother’s dismay. I felt like my life was waiting to happen elsewhere. There was a wanderlust in my blood for something more exotic.
So I embarked upon a Modern Languages degree, imagining myself meandering around the Left Bank in Paris or inhaling lavender in Provence, not realising I was going much further.
As far as I could possibly go, lured to your magnetic shores by
one of your cricket-loving young men.
At 25, I was greeted by vast sapphire skies, that filled me with excitement and a belief that anything was possible. I had stepped through the Looking Glass into another world. Daily, I looked out of my office window at the most beautiful harbour in the world. I will never tire of the view of those iconic white sails while floating past on the ferry or rattling over the Harbour bridge. So privileged to wake each morning in a place that’s spoilt with an overflow of natural, wild beauty.
At 35, I felt cynical, deceived, betrayed, raw and burnt, not only by the strength of your ferocious sun.
Should I stay or should I go? Divorce, miscarriage, insomnia and depression hadn’t been on my vision board. This was not the life I had imagined for myself. Yet even though I felt abandoned, I could not leave you Australia. It would have felt as though I was running away. The time was not right.
Surely that innocent and optimistic young woman who followed her heart would have urged me to continue with the adventure?
Despite said heart feeling bruised and broken, a tiny whisper reminded me of an old saying that a broken heart is an open heart. Shattering grief is a painful reminder of the ability to love deeply. How could I regret anything?
I’ve come to learn, reluctantly, that how we choose to navigate these challenges that life throws at us, are ultimately how we become who we truly are.
Australia, you have been one of my biggest teachers of compassion and self-love.
At 45, I feel more loved and supported than ever before. Almost half of my life has been here, in what is often called ‘the lucky country’.
I believe we create our own luck. Sometimes we have no idea why life has unfolded in a certain way. We don’t have the answers, but oh so many questions.
Most of the time it’s a mystery, but it’s one I’m willing to enter wholeheartedly.
Love Michelle xxx
PS you can read more about how the move back to England was divinely orchestrated here…
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments box below. Have you lived in another country for a long period of time? Is there a country you have dreamed of living in? So many questions……
Michelle, I loved the letter to Australia. I am wishing you wellness, joy, excitement and many surprise on your new journey! I will look forward to your next newsletter. warmly, Judy in Michigan
Thanks so much Judy, yes I’m sure there will be lots of surprises 😉
I arrived in 1982 with the biggest dream connected to those white sailsof Sydney that had been my beacon since the 1970’s. The 5 year plan and dream crumbled into dust that left me struggling to survive on so many levels. Having taught English as a second language I heard this story often over the coming years from others who came here with dreams and of a desire to escape. This beautiful country that’s is so harsh, strange and alien is a perfect place to confront ourselves and those of us who stay tend to do so albeit with reluctance sometimes. I’ve learned to love this magnificent country and the kookaburras laughing at me , reminding me not to be so serious with life. It has taken many years for me to surrender my soul to Australia as like you I felt I was a visitor. Life has a way of insisting we be where we can contribute the most to ourselves and others. I wish you safe travels and happy root building in the next few months as you plant yourself in my beloved Cornwall.
So true Melody. It’s such a country of contrasts and it’s been a very intense time of personal growth and development here. That is for certain. So much to reflect on. Really resonate with your thoughts. Many thanks love xxx
Thank you beauty Michelle for sharing this letter. I love hearing people’s stories and how they view their journey of Life. Particularly love how you describe Australia as being your teacher place – to come to a deeper understanding that we do get to choose how we navigate everything that comes onto our path!
Can so appreciate that having also made Australia my home 27 years ago. When I landed I knew I had arrived home! It has though taken me some time to fully appreciate the depth of it!
And I love too the circle you have experienced with the respective men in your life, with whom you first arrived here and now returning to the UK to live in Cornwall with your love! Sacred symmetry 🙂
Blessings lovely as you weave this next part of the tapestry. Blessed that our paths crossed (so fittingly in France!! 🙂 ) and I trust they will continue to do so. Much love – Bronwen xx
Thanks Bronwen. Yes so true and such symmetry. Such a special time in France together and I look forward to seeing you in Cornwall! Lots of love xxxx
It’s funny – having lived here all my life, each day I still feel “greeted by vast sapphire skies, that filled me with excitement and a belief that anything was possible.” Maybe it’s the spirit of this place. May it be with you as you head to new adventures in that other special place of my heart, Cornwall. Loved your story and thanks for sharing, Michelle. All best wishes, Terri xo
Thanks lovely, yes no end to the sapphire skies – that’s for sure! It’s interesting though how sometimes chapters come to a natural conclusion and I have felt ‘complete’ for some time. I’m sure I will still visit and it will always be so special to me xxx
Love the idea that we create our own luck, I’ve always called Australia home but have done a little bit of travel and would love to explore more of the world. xx