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Diary Expat Life Life

Repat Diary: Why We’re Staying (For Now)

If you’ve been following along with me for awhile, you’ll know that returning to Australia after my 2 year visa to the UK ended was never actually my plan. Returning to Brisbane specifically? No chance, mate. But here we are, 8 months later with a 12 month lease we’re already considering resigning. Plus we’ve got a bunch of new furniture that cost money we could have just as easily put towards moving abroad again. So what gives?

Girl sits on stairs

Knowing I don’t owe anyone an explanation, I still felt the urge to at least elaborate a little bit. I mean, documenting my life is why I have a blog I haven’t touched in at least 6 months, right? (If you missed it or want to catch up, I did speak then about why we weren’t trying again to stay in the UK after the first attempt failed – warning, I was pretty angry when I wrote that).

Approximately 12 months ago, I was still in London and on the phone to my Dad back here in Brisbane. I told him I was afraid of coming home. I was afraid because I thought it was a trap, that it was the easy way out, that if I came back I’d never leave again. He said “well, if you never leave again, that’s still a decision you have to make. No one is making you do anything, except you.”

I mean, I always knew my Dad was smart but I can’t think of many other situations in my life where someone has said exactly the right words I needed to hear in that moment to calm me down. Calming me down when I get on my shit, is not easy.

Girl sits under tree

Even when we got off the flight in Brisbane back in August, I said out loud “if I have my way, we’ll be gone again by Christmas.” I hadn’t even had a chance to recover from the jetlag yet, I hadn’t even seen my Mum yet, and I was already wishing I was somewhere else. The truth is that when I left Brisbane I was super duper over it. I was bored out of my mind and I hated every little thing about it. I hated the humidity (still do), I hated the public transport (slightly better) and I hated how everyone knows someone who knows you (and yet I put my life online). So coming back here seemed like the worst idea ever. I knew a girl who moved to Brisbane from London while I was away and I was so confused as to why she seemed to be enjoying it here so much. Like?? Brisbane sucks, man.

But, it doesn’t. I don’t know whether it’s getting to look at it again through fresh eyes after being away for 2 years. I don’t know whether it’s the nice new unit with river views, or the fact that being at home has given me the opportunity to pursue a career as a freelancer. I don’t know if it’s having more than 3 people to hang out with. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’ve only been sick once in 8 months, as opposed to London where I would have been sick at least 8 times by now. I don’t know if it’s that before we left my boyfriend and I barely knew each other, and now we’re back here we get to share the parts of Brisbane and it’s surrounds that we love with each other. I don’t know if it’s that Brisbane is actually slowly getting cooler, but there’s definitely a lot more to do than there used to be. I think I could even plan a tourist’s itinerary now and not be bored out my mind.

The point is that for better or worse, moving back was the right choice for us at the time, and staying is the right choice for us right now. What the right choice is in a year, or 2 years’ or even 10 years’ time may be the same, or it may be something completely different. We have nothing stopping us from changing our minds; we have no children (and no plan to), we have no debt and we have no limitations.

There’s plenty of reasons why I may struggle to move abroad again. These may be financial, these may be health related and they may even be political (*side-eyes Brexit*). But if I ever let myself give up on the idea, then I’ve made the decision to stay. Whatever I’ve said in the past, that’s still my decision to make. While I don’t plan on making that decision, at the end of the day, I’m the only one who can.

I can’t remember how I ever signed off posts, but yeah.

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