It’s one of those snapshot memories. I can’t quite recall what came before or after it, beyond the basic sketch of details, but there’s this single second that sits in my mind like a photograph. It was in 2010 and I’d just gotten off a train from Grafton. In Newcastle for the National Young Writers Festival, I was in taxi on the way to my hostel and, stalled by a red light, we sat at an intersection. Across the busy road there were huge, green trees and a small inexplicable wall with a circus themed mural on it. It was a hot day, dry and crisp and sweaty and the sun was poised at the top of its downward arc.

It wasn’t a particularly inspiring scene but something about it struck me.
“Soon,” I thought, “I’ll be familiar with this intersection. I won’t be the strange landscape of a holiday city. This time next year, I’ll be living here.”
These days, I drive through that intersection to get to the dentist. If that taxi had turned left and backtracked slightly, it could have reached my house in less than five minutes. I’ve been past it dozens of times but I’ve never been able to decipher why that wall outside the car dealership is circus themed.
The strange thing about that memory, that moment of contemplation while sitting in a taxi, is the way it somehow peeps into the future. For a second I could imagine what living in Newcastle was going to be like. I could picture myself driving through that same intersection and knowing where the road went in all directions.
I haven’t had a moment like that about Melbourne. When I was there earlier in the year I tired to imagine living there. But it’s a bigger city I guess, harder to gauge. I’m looking forward to trams (which don’t make me want to vomit the way that buses do) and having more than one shop that sells comics. I can almost conceive people and places and events but the actual reality of living there, of being a different distance from family and friends, eludes me. I can imagine some things but I can’t quite imagine calling those intersections home, not just yet.
Recently, while reading author bios on a website, I noticed that lots of people say they are “from” somewhere – ‘Such and such is a person from Sydney’.  The strange thing about this, for me, is that the word “from” implies origin.  It is a starting point as well as an end.
When people ask me where I’m from, as they often do, my instinct is to say that I’m from Grafton but sometimes (increasingly) I find myself answering with Newcastle. I’m not sure what I’ll say next year. It’s taken me years to feel a real sense of belonging to Newcastle and I wonder if it might take even longer with a bustling city like Melbourne. 
Maybe I should just start leaving that kind of thing out of bios.

Our deadline for being in Melbourne, boxes, life and all, is the 1st of February. That’s only eight blogs away. 

Further reading

December – home

I spent the first minutes of 2018 on the beach. I’ve never actually spent New Year