Louisa Claire


10 years ago today

10 years ago today, an extroverted young women jumped on a plane and waved her family goodbye for a year. Well, not a full year really – seeing as she was only moving to a city 1hr away by plane there was a lot of visiting planned for the 12 months she was to be living away.

On her first night in this new city, the young woman attended her new church. Thankful to have friends from home now living in the same city and ministering in this church, she was looking forward to making new friends and having a fun year exploring a new city. She was surprised to find herself burst into tears in the middle of a song…seems that homesickness she had always been susceptible too hadn’t gone away, even as she neared her 21st birthday.

It was a great year and a lonely year at the same time. My wonderful housemate made such a great friend to me, really offering a lot of support and kindness as I adjusted to living out of home for the first time, and in a different state.

And of course it was the year that I met The Architect…

Louisa Claire

The Architect and I, before we were even dating.

Moving to Melbourne felt like such an adventure, and it was! The thing I found the hardest was leaving behind such a great group of friends. I am a true extrovert and in Sydney had a large group of friends and acquaintances and I loved to be out and about. Deciding to stay in Melbourne for more than a year, and in fact indefinitely, really changed the way my life looked, not just geographically but relationally.

The thing I learnt early on was that if you’re not with the people you love and who make the world feel safe, it doesn’t matter if you 1hr away of 10hrs away; you’re away. If you’ve ever moved away from home, perhaps that’s something that will make sense to you? Over the years people have suggested that I’m “only” in Melbourne, and that’s true – I am so thankful that it’s just a short plane trip home, but that doesn’t help much when you’re in a new city feeling lonely with no one to hang out with and wondering if you’ve made a mistake.

That first year I called 5 friends from home every single week. As it became apparent that I wasn’t going home at the end of the year I realised I couldn’t keep living as though my life was somewhere else, I had to invest in the place I was living. So I stopped making those weekly calls in part because I realised that it was only with two of those friends that the calls were returned; not that the others didn’t care, but not everyone is able to maintain long distance friendships like that. Those two girls who kept calling me, provided such amazing friendship and support to me through those early years of adjusting to my new life here, calling, visiting and making a simple effort to stay close. They helped me a lot, through that…and of course, Miss Awesome is now Bliss’ godmother and has visited me in Melbourne more times than I can count; if there’s ever someone you want in your corner, it’s her.

10 years on and my friendships “back home” look very different. Very different. It’s virtually impossible to stay closely connected with groups of people who live in a different place to you and have their own lives and stories. That’s not to say those friendships don’t exist anymore….some don’t, many do; they just look quite different.

In some ways I miss that life; it was so full of people whereas my life in Melbourne is much more intimate – I have some beautiful friends here, there’s just less of them and while I wouldn’t want to trade them, you can’t replicate the ‘fullness’ of the friendships you make in your school and uni years once work and motherhood arrive.

I always said once we’d been in Melbourne for 10 years it would be too late to go back to Sydney and I think that’s probably true. My life is in Melbourne now; it’s been a long and often lonely road, starting over – I have no desire to do it again.

I love Melbourne and finally, now when I get on the plane to come back I no longer feel those stabs of homesicknesses. Melbourne is home.

Melbourne, Lygon St

Thoughts on “10 years ago today

  1. I still think about when we were in Geelong….all the ‘councelling’ reguarding ‘The Architect’…. then when you both came to stay with us….such GREAT memories….I only wish we loved closer now. there are moments when it seems like it was just yesterday then i see our kids and it feels like 10years!! lots of love xx

  2. I can relate a lot to this post. I moved from Christchurch to Auckland in my early twenties. Only an hour and 20 minute plane trip home – but very far away really. I lived there for 18 months before I needed to come home again. A few years later and me and my then fiance were packing our bags to move to Melbourne – a city neither of us had ever visited. We thought it would be a move for a couple of years, but we now realise it’s probably forever… and then just as we were getting comfortable there – we are now temporarily living in India. Sometimes my life feels like I am always adjusting to somewhere new, making new friends and trying to hold on tight to old ones. In some ways it’s an interesting life, and in others it’s just perpetually lonely.
    Happy 10 year Melbourversary Louisa.

    I love that photo of you two! how young you both look. so cute.
    Toushka Lee recently posted..Where Is Your Husband?My Profile

    • Oh Toushka, I know what you mean. Can’t wait til you are back in Melb later this year, I feel exciting things instore. In the meantime, I hope India is just a wonderful time for you all xx

  3. I moved 200 miles north in 1999. I met my now husband up here in 2002 (our 10th anniversary of meeting was last Monday) and we’ve been together since. Had I not moved north, my children would not be on this earth. I’m glad for what I have – I have OH’s family half an hour away and tbh, my mother feels it more than I do, partly because she is a difficult character and doesn’t feel she should be away from her grandchildren but that’s how it is. They are Lancastrians born and bred, with a southern mummy. I’ve never considered flying but it’s a 3 hour or so drive instead. My life is here now, that is for definite. I’d lived away from where I grew up before but had been back in the area for 5 years. I chose to go because I had to live my life, not anyone else’s. Suffice to say, I’m glad I did. I don’t think people thought I would stay this long but they must realise by now that I’m here for the long term.
    Kate recently posted..A Pointless obsessionMy Profile

    • I don’t think my friends thought I’d be gone this long either, but here we are. It’s hard for the grandparents, thankfully my mum has first hand experience of this having moved from South Africa to Australia when she married my Dad – being only a 1hr flight away is not so bad! We just find other ways to build those relationships and the kids see them quite a bit which is great. Bring on the day when they are old enough to go by themselves for a holiday with Granny & Granddad!!

  4. Great post, Lou. I always laugh when I’m back in Sydney as I can’t go anywhere without running into someone I know from somewhere. While life in Melbourne or Tokyo or wherever else it is, could be thought of as more anonymous, I much prefer your description of intimate. It is exhausting starting over again though. I’m not here for the long haul and the next move we make will definitely be to somewhere we see ourselves staying for longer. There’s only so many times I can comfortable uproot and plant myself again! Glad you’ve found your home :)
    Kate R recently posted..Making the most of one-day weekendsMy Profile

  5. I am a Melbourne girl through and through having never lived anywhere else. I think I am just a bit of a homebody! In saying that I always admire people who can up and relocate. Well done on 10 years and lucky Melbourne for having you now!

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