This is me. I’m standing under the Hammersmith Bridge, a fragment of London that I love.
I swapped Melbourne for this city years ago, without much thought. I put down some useful anchors (bank account, job, flat) but sometimes I felt entirely adrift.
Slowly, I began to see features of my new home through a softer lense, as if looking at a loved, familiar face. I’m fond of the Hammersmith Bridge from any angle and I have a mental map of the Thames’ every loop from Hampton Court to the Barrier. I’ve even started to enjoy the terror and pleasure of cycling into central London.
When the volcano Eyjafjallajoekull erupted in 2010, I was stranded on holiday in Australia. I was immediately excited that I’d see more of my favourite Melbourne people and places. Then, abruptly, I just wanted to be home – in London.
When I’m in Melbourne I can feel like a visitor – a tourist, even – and my homesickness for my home-town (once constant) is rare now. Yet I’m still finding my place in London, and I’m still full of curiosity about how it happens that a once strange place becomes a home.
In my blog Home Leave I’ve collected stories about how it feels to find a new home, or return to a familiar one.
Photo: Lil, ©Joseph Cabon 2011, courtesy of the photographer