Yesterday I sat at my old thinking spot and watched the sun go down.
I hop along the basalt blocks that make up the breakwater and I am ten years old again, picking my way across the tidepools at BlackRock and exploring the Red Bluffs, survival kits made of matchboxes and stuffed full of string, matches, sandpaper, a magnifying glass for burning ants, and other essentials in case we kids got stranded and had to spend the night on the cliffs [not likely under the watchful eye of the Beach Rd mansions that look out across the bay].
The water of Port Phillip laps gently at my feet, its surface tension palpable, like a vast rippling carpet gently rolling to the horizon. It is tempting to step onto it and start walking out towards the light. The indigos and oranges of the setting sun dance and shifting, allowing me fleeting glimpses of the rocky bottom beneath the surface. The air is still, crisp, and cold against my cheeks ...this was where I was to come for solitude in later years, after I had made friends with this new place.
I went to elementary school not five minutes from here, my first introduction to Aussie culture when the family moved to Melbourne 21 years ago. Melbourne was cold and grey and unfriendly at that time in my life, full of spoiled little rich kids teasing my American - pidgin english and dark skin, distinctly uncomfortable in my new, alien, british-style school uniforms [socks pulled over calves, shorts above the knees, shirt tucked in, tie and coat to pull the whole ensemble together...].
The awkwardness of being a pre-teen while my older classmates were beginning puberty only added to the confusion finding myself in the midst of transitioning to a new country, a new culture, a new life. I tried out many different identities and began asking myself, "Who am I?" In so many ways, I am still on that quest, and still asking that question.
The Bay has many moods - the water is always freezing cold - the complete opposite of the tepid bathwater-temperatures of Hawaii. In winter, my brother and I used to dread the capsize drills at the local yacht club where Dad has enrolled us into sailing lessons; I don't know what was worse, the bone-chilling waters, or the itchy woolen undergarments that we were told to wear in order to keep us warm.
The stark Melbourne summers brought stifling heat and humidity, the unforgiving Aussie sun beating down mercilessly on the beaches and brightly colored beachboxes and pale skin of Brighton, while the dark waters of Port Phillip stung with icy contrast.
I have only just left home, only to arrive home again. It's a warm and fuzzy feeling, as if I am existing in two places at the same time.
Question of the Day: Is home where the heart is?