I was standing in my doorway in Melbourne, with a cup of coffee in one hand, and signing for a registered letter with the other. The letter was from the Oslo county governor. A letter… from halfway across the world… sent express to my door. I remember that moment so clearly, the one in which the world was so undoubtedly at my doorstep.
Now, a little over a year later, so much has changed in my life (and rightfully so). One thing, however, has certainly stayed the same: Since January, I have thought of Australia almost every day. It has been eleven months since I came back to Norway to see if I wanted Norway, and if Norway wanted me. My love has followed, along with a fitting job and a cozy apartment. [Insert joyous, monotonous rhythm here.] It quickly became evident that I wasn’t quite done with Norway after all! A recent visit from Melbourne friends Jenni (and earlier in the year, Anna) have been energizing. We reminise about the good times, crazy library days, and sunny days spent in the park.
Talk quickly transitions to plans ahead, as we have moved our doortsteps elsewhere. We wonder when we will wander back to this land that has given us so much inspriation. Five years? 10? How about 20, like my father? It is ironically comforting, therefore, to know that Melbourne will never again be as I left it.
For instance, I know very well the Cedar Rapids, Iowa of 1987-2006. The Cedar Rapids after that…I know little of. Buildings have been torn down, my parents’ street has been re-paved, and my high school classmates now have families and houses.
Similarly, Norway before 2006 is like one big history lesson to me. I had to immerse myself in significant cultural shows and events (read: The Julekalenderen, Flåklypa, mm…) just in order to understand a joke. And every time the value of the Norwegian krone drops or gains, I compare it to when I first moved here.
Melbourne, likewise, will remain a snapshot of what it looked like and the events that occured in 2014. For fun, I’ve listed just list some things that come to mind: protests, local fashion, only owning [needing] one sweater, shark culls, Korean hot pot, Tony Abbott’s circus, (related: ignoring Aboriginal rights), 96 tram, comedy shows, sunny parks, and lest we forget the market guy who always yells “BANANA! 4 DOLLAH 4 DOLLAH! 4 DOLLAH BANANA!” To feel the heartbeat of a culture, what drives its people, what unites them and divides them…that is how I love to travel, and have always loved to travel. The first thing I do in a new place is check out the nearest grocery store or peaceful protest. That’s where I can get a sense of how much of the world is at their doorstep, and sometimes, how much they are on the doorsteps of the world.
Fast forward to 2015, which is almost over. On the cusp of 2016, Melbourne is at the doorstep of the world, and her metropolis is expanding at a phenomenal rate. It’s a very exciting time: the creatives keep creating, Turnbull has calmed the nation down, and David Jones even has a website now. The next time I visit, I am in for a shock; I can only hope the internet conenction is better 20 years from now, too.
The travels continue, and are never enough to sratch that itch. My time in Melbourne was just short of magical, and I can peacefully live elsewhere, knowing that it will never be as I left it. And that’s ok! It is therefore essential that we keep in mind that the world is truly at our doorstep, whether it is off to a new experience in the here-and-now, or off to the past, where our memories inspire and comfort us. I know that through dreaming, I continue to bring this far-off land to my doorstep, this one where winter is summer, rooftop bars are plenty, and tiny bears are grey and hang out in trees.