Walkabout Part 3: I'll be coming home soon.


So last Sunday afternoon I found myself sitting at a booth at The Northcote Social Club with my mouth wrapped around a kangaroo burger and my mind wrapped around the then burgeoning idea of not coming home. Sitting across from me was Ryan, he went to high school with my friends here, and he was explaining to me how he wished he’d never decided to become a musician.

“Worst. Career choice. Ever. I don’t know what I was thinking, I mean, musician? Who does that.”

“I do,” I answered, “I mean, I’m not a musician. But I want something I can’t quite put my finger on, and I’d rather look for it forever than not look at all. And this year, this next one I mean, I want to do something amazing.”

“Like what?” He asked.

“Oh. Oh, I don’t know yet.”

Five Americans checked into my room last week, for three days, and it was the worst three days of my life. They were so fucking loud and obnoxious and kept calling me fucking Mandy, and didn’t seem to understand how much everyone fucking hated them. Their first night here, they came back home at three or four in the morning, screaming drunk and singing and banging about and turning the light on in a room with two German girls and I who are desperately trying to sleep.

“I’m worried about the Germans, dude. We prolly need to shut the fuck up soon.”
“Yeah,” another one of them responded, “but Mandy’s cool, she’s one of us.”

The first day was hard. I got interrogated for three hours coming through customs and lost my wallet, including passport, in the ladies room before I had even left Tullamarine. But you know that part. I've told you already, haven't I? I'm just pretty sure I haven't exactly said that it was sometime Sunday afternoon, after eating kangaroo for the first time, that I was positive that I would absolutely and without question fuck off my plane ticket back if I could figure out a way to stay. 

I fucking love it here Noah, this place feels like home. You would love it too! It's like a mix of my hometown and New York and my friends here are amazing and and there are rivers and bridges and late, late nights and chilly mornings and whenever I even so much as think about coming back to New York I want to fucking cry. I would do anything to stay here in Melbourne. 

Well, almost anything.

"Just marry an Australian! That's my plan when my visa expires." That's my girlfriend Gina's advice, and our Welsh friend Laurrie concurs. Seriously, that's really their plan. They each have already chosen a hopeful, in Cairns and Perth respectively, and should everything go as planned they'll be well on their way to Australian citizenship long before their work permits expire. 

But that seems completely insane to me; in fact, it all seems insane--staying here, going home, flying to Florida, coming back to Greenpoint in February. It all seems so weird when I feel like a completely different person after having finally come here, and now I'm just trying to decide what exactly that amazing thing is that I should be doing next year.

I'm on my way to Sydney for a couple days, so I decided that for my last night in Melbourne for a bit that I should cook Ryan dinner. I was getting ready to roast a chicken, so I put a few stalks of Rosemary on a cutting board and began to chop it finely with a chefs knife.

"Well look at you! That's just how Jarrod taught me how to do that. You can really cook, huh? You're like...not really American, are you?"

"No," I said, shaking my head, "I'm not really like a lot of them. I mean, I'm here. How many Americans do you meet routinely in Melbourne?"

There are Canadians, there are Brits. There are Irish and French and Germans. But Americans are so sparsly represented here that I stick out like a sore thumb, and yet, Noah, I fit right in.

I'm flying to Sydney right now, I'm at the airport, actually. I was supposed to stay ten days, but the boys were very adamant about me coming back.

"Go. I mean, you have to go to Sydney. Go see the Opera House, take a peek about," said Ben to me a few nights ago with Thao and Ryan's agreement, "but then just come home in a couple of days."

There's so much, Noah. There's the minutia of being here and then there are the big things of being here and neither can I quite put words to yet. But I'm trying to stay calm, to just focus on my freshly re-booked flight back to Melbourne on Wednesday and not the big looming plane on the 30th back to Shanghai.

I think of your fucking perfect face and I hate that you are far away; I miss everyone in New York and I wish you were all here, but I don't feel like one of you right now, and I'm not sure exactly who I'd like to be.

I love and miss you.


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