Our Return to Melbourne
Returning 'home' to Melbourne may seem a bit odd - Simone and I hadn't lived there for 19 years, and Georgia and Bryon had known it only fleetingly; both are such Hong Kong kids. Nonetheless, it is the place of our families and our early memories. That is more than enough to make Melbourne our home.
Families carry a special bond. It is felt by adults, and that feeling of ease and joy in the company of parents, siblings and the wider collection of relatives may seem like the result of warm and happy memories built over decades of familiarity. But when we saw Georgia and Byron automatically assume a special closeness with their grandparents, aunties and uncles and cousins, without the benefit of long association, it seemed clear there’s something intrinsic in the relationships. The happy way they have embraced, and been embraced by, the wider family, confirms the importance of our move to Melbourne.
We were glad to move into our apartment – a place we had seen only briefly before we bought it several years ago. It took a lot of work to set it up the way we wanted it,
and in the meantime we lived in Doncaster at “Grandma Joan’s”. Georgia and Byron gravitated to those things we missed in Hong Kong – space and pets. Pompey the German Shepard and Silvester the cat were very popular with both, but it is not clear that affection was reciprocated. Silvester, in particular, was light-footed when the adoring arms of G & B reached out for him, trying to get him their rough but adoring embrace.
Apart from families, there is much to enjoy in Melbourne. Georgia and Bryon attend the kindergarten that Simone used to go to; Fitzroy Gardens are the biggest backyard I have seen; and there’s freedom to stroll in beautiful surrounds and stop for decent coffee and food in any number of great places.
We haven’t had a ‘home’ since 2000, when we left the house we had built in Murrumbateman for the adventures of Nairobi. For nomads like Simone and I it has been a happy home-coming. I had always thought Simone has a special ‘East Melbourne’ smile that speaks of a deep happiness in returning to the scene of her childhood. Now I’ve been lucky enough to see it again, often. For Georgia
and Byron it is the place to grow some roots and add memories of happy experience to the family bonds that already exist.
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