Tuesday, 10 January 2012

backwards & forwards

Very early on Wednesday morning, bags were packed, zips were zipped, tickets were checked, eyes were wide with anticipation and I wheeled my suitcase in the creeping dawn light to the bus. I was going to Melbourne. It's been almost a year since I last had the opportunity & I was quite looking forward to it. However, going back there is always an experience tinged with unknowing. It is a place I fell for, hook line & sinker in my late teens & dropped everything to move for when I was barely 20. The 3 years that followed were difficult & ended with me deciding to come back home. Thankfully that was a decision I have never regretted yet the whole experience left me with an odd taste in my mouth. It is a place that I KNOW is beautiful & incredible & inspiring & gob smacking but every time I thought of Melbourne, I was instantly stung by the memory of how sad & scared I was living there. Such conflicting & tortured emotions for one tiny city!! Each time I have returned for a visit over the last few years, it's been a mixed bag of feelings; total awe for a place that will always manage to swallow me up in it's unarguable magic & a quiet discomfort for my unhappy attempt at living there.
It is wonderful to say that THIS trip was entirely different. It was just pure & utter bliss. The inconvenitent cobwebs of memory were brushed from my mind & I seemed to see everything through new eyes. I went to places that I have always had a fondness for & many that I had never seen. I visited dear dear friends, made some new ones, spent lots of time on my own & relished the feeling of annonymity in a place that gives you complete freedom to be entirely yourself. Sound cheesy? Well, refreshingly, nothing about Melbourne is. The grungy dirty unkempt parts are what adds to it's charm & appeal.
Of course, I can't take full resonsibility for being able to enjoy myself there. Having some beautiful friends to visit really made this trip so worthwhile. Some have lived there for a while, all settled into a lovely home with a rambling garden & coffee always at the ready. They are accustomed to the hum of such a lively city. Others have only been there a short while & are still up for exploring & falling in love with all of it's quirks. This was the perfect mix of company & allowed me to do a little of both..lazing & adventuring. I was so caught up in the surprise of how comfortable I felt being back there that I didn't take many photos but here a few that I snapped along the way.

I don't think I should even attempt to describe how well the do the 'cafe culture' in Melbourne! Needless to say, almost every one that you find yourself in is cozy & unique & a often a little crazy. I felt relaxed (or pooped!!) enough to sit in one for a while & draw. Something I rarely, if ever, do in Adelaide. This wasn't to match the ideal of the tortured artist, scribbling & brooding in the dark corner of a cafe but more to do with the fact my mind was literally brimming with ideas that I had to get down. I didn't feel at all silly doing this as people in Melbourne are very good at minding their own business. Everyone is completely involved in their own cup of coffee or company. This is a refreshingly welcome change from home where people always seem to have one eye peering around, making sure they are doing it right. 
Being in Melbourne at a time when I am so chock-a-block with ideas for my next arty projects was fantastic. The place is a smorgasboard of visual delights, awakening stale ideas & sparking new ones. One of my most favourite moments was stumbling upon a nursery in Fitzroy with my gorgeous friend Margot. We share a mutual obsession with all things garden & this place had us just about weeping with joy! Take a look..
....SO. MANY. POTS! If I wasn't flying home, I would have happily taken some of these babies with me! I definitely got a fix to fulfill this new-found potty love of mine. When I'm not scoping out unsual colours & shapes, I'm contemplating drilling a hole in something just so I can grow a plant in it. This could be dangerous. But no-one has left my house with a hole in the bottom of their shoe. Yet.

The best part of this little trip was coming away with an untainted view of a place I've struggled to make peace with in a confused heart. The challenges I had there will never disappear & I understand, now, that most of them have helped shape the person I am today. I can't undo the mistakes I made or the people I allowed to hurt me there but I can use this recent experience as a reminder that time & experience help us grow & stretch into people who are equipped to make new memories. This might sound painfully simple but until you make these realisations for yourself, they are just delightful theories you hope to one day comprehend. 
I hope you enjoyed reliving this adventure with me, it's been really lovely to think this out.  For all the people who made this last trip so unique - thank you. Words don't do justice to how grateful I feel. You were magnificent hosts.
xx Jessie Lee.

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