The End of Chapter Sydney
That’s it. I’ve found it. I’ve finally found it. I went to Sydney to do what I had to, and came back with more.
There were many occasions at work when this situation happened. I would have finished the lesson and would have given the class time to do their exercises. And while they did so, I would daydream of what I would be doing if I were still in Sydney, still studying for my Masters and still living in New College. And one of my students would catch me and go, “Miss, why are you smiling?”
I’ve always seemed to be plagued with short transitions. Nine days after I left Beijing, I was in Sydney. Two weeks after I left Sydney, I was working in Hong Kong. A year each. There never seemed to have been enough time, ever, to properly withdraw just when I had begun settling in, though Lord knows I’ve mentally tried preparing myself every time.
That I still had to get over my life in Beijing was very obvious when I started out in Sydney. That I had to get over in Sydney when I came to Hong Kong was much more discreet and less noticeable because there were so many other things happening at the same time, and primarily because I thought I had already learned the art of moving on. Of course I hadn’t; it was still as powerful and distracting. I’m not the sort who likes a place or city just for what it is; it’s the people who make all the difference. And I didn’t just miss my life and friends in Sydney; it was a pretty active “missing,” a longing that I was back there.
With whom? With “everyone else.” It was magnetizing, that pull towards the “everyone else” of Sydney, that everlasting hymn, “I wish I were back in Sydney.” And while Sydney didn’t really feature much in my sleeping dreams (I was much too exhausted the first few months to dream), that was what my mind kept going back to. (The fact that it went on for months is slightly disconcerting. Not getting over Beijing for months I understand; it had been my first time living alone. But Sydney? I thought I had more credit than that.)
Imagine what was running through my head when I realized I had a reason to spend a week in Sydney. Huff puff.
So I went and had a blast. Then one day when I was there – I’m not exactly sure what happened, but something just melted away and I was left with the thought and feeling that I was not going to miss Sydney anymore.
I was done. The coin had flipped, the tightrope had given way. I was actually and finally through with Sydney 06-07. Over. I don’t know what precipitated it. It was strange, as if something had been taken away from me, just like that. Never more that pang of nostalgia and wishful thinking – just air. It was a relief, a huge relief, to think of Sydney and not feel anything, even while I was there.
I had planned to have a last look of Sydney as the plane was taking off for HK; instead I fell asleep and woke up later grumpily wondering why take-off had been delayed and realized that we had been in the air for half an hour. It doesn’t seem to matter any more. I mean, I still miss everyone in Sydney even now, but it’s a lot more distanced now. My life has nothing to do with theirs, and theirs have nothing to do with mine anymore. I think I’ve finally reconciled myself to that.
“And that, my friend, is called closure.” Pretty much. I still love the life I had Sydney and everyone in it, and shall always look back with fondness, but it’s different now. It’s not going to be as vivid nor as real anymore. I’ve made my peace with Sydney.
So does this mean that Sydney 06-07 is finally and truly over?
I guess it is. It’s really about time.
(Details on the Sydney Writers’ Festival shall follow.)