They say you can never go home again.

When I left home for Barcelona nearly a year ago, I knew the tectonic plates in my life were shifting at a rapid pace, but what I couldn’t have foreseen is how homesick I would feel upon my return to Sydney.

The thing I miss now is the quiet. Here in Sydney, where I grew up and spent most of my formative years, my head is crowded. My mind and my heart are always a little on edge. For a city where travelling from one side to the other can take several hours, I can’t seem to sidestep minefields around every corner – that suburb where I had the awful job, that coffee shop where I traversed the most awkward date, the office building of that jerk I now wilfully avoid, the place where my heart broke for the first time.

I’m a realist. I know that everywhere I live, a new map of mines will surely follow in time. But still, it sure is refreshing to start anew and leave the minefield behind.

Since my return, I’ve felt more than a little uncomfortable trying to settle back into the life I’d adamantly left behind. My lack of comfort also probably stems from the drastic changes in my routine, social patterns and in the basic cultural atmosphere of Sydney.

Everyday habits have followed me back here, and unbeknownst to me; have infiltrated my most basic interactions. More than two months in now, I still keep making people uncomfortable when I’m greeting them, by going in for a second kiss on the cheek. When I rush to explain it’s a European habit, I know it sounds like the worst form of douchebaggery. I puzzle baristas by accidentally ordering in Spanish, and then quickly translating to ‘coffee with milk’ (leading to thinly veiled sniggering or eye-rolling, because coffee here comes with milk unless you specify otherwise). And maybe the most common of all, friends are constantly asking me what I’m asking them to “see” mid-conversation or in response to their questions.

They say you can never go home again. But they don’t tell you it’s because by the time you return, it no longer feels like your only home.

Arc de Triomf, Barcelona. Photo by Irnin KhanGaudi's House, Barcelona. Photo by Irnin KhanIK - Cathedral


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