I left my hometown Canberra over 10 years ago to live in the big city of Sydney (including 2 years in an even bigger city – Hong Kong). I’m used to the ‘city life’ now. A fast paced lifestyle with plenty to do and see, and being able to stay anonymous in a city of millions. It suits me.
But every time I wait for the bus or jump into the car for the 3 hr trip to Canberra, I feel like I’m going home. Like I’m going back to the comfort and warmth of familiar people, childhood friends and quiet streets filled with happy memories.
I remember bright blue skies, fluffy white clouds and spacious roads against the backdrop of the green Brindabella Ranges.
I recall meeting friends at school or university to gossip and talk about our dreams and plans for the future over a cup of coffee that we worked hard at our weekend retail jobs to pay for.
I remember endless afternoons studying, learning and dreaming at my leafy green, pretty university.
I have lovely memories of my father coming home from the office at around 5.30 pm and being happy and calm and eating dinner with me and my mother.
I remember my mother cooking every meal, doing the laundry and keeping the house neat and tidy whilst working hard in a labour-intensive role as a special needs Childcare teacher.
I remember she made the most delicious Sri Lankan curries for dinner each night. On weekends she would make a special treat like chilli cheese toasts on Saturday and coconut roti with spicy scrambled eggs and a sambol with sweet milk tea. After breakfast, I would read the newspaper in the beaming sun, relax and chat to my parents and my cousin who lived with us for a while.
I had a lovely and simple childhood. I feel lucky because my parents, friends and my own lifestyle there taught me that you don’t need much to be happy. Just the little moments – good food or coffee and tea with friends or family, reading in the sun or driving on quiet suburban streets on a sunny day.
I love my new life in Sydney city. But as they say ‘you can take the girl out of Canberra, but you can’t take Canberra out of the girl.’ Even in the Sydney I seek a slower paced lifestyle with bright sunny days, good food, genuine friends and leafy suburbs. It’s hard to find – but I try. And it makes me happy.