This post comes a little later than intended because admittedly I’ve procrastinated about finishing it. I procrastinated and wrote it out a million (seven) times because like any time I want to explain something close to my heart, I want to get it just right. Ever since I was little, when I had an argument with my parents or a friend, I’d try to mend the situation with a letter. This is a habit I’ve continued into my adult years, not to avoid the confrontation itself but to make sure all that over-analysing I’ve been doing to figure out exactly how and why I feel the way I do doesn’t go to waste on a few poorly constructed sentences and vocab choices. This post is no exception (much analysis has been done). So what do I want to talk about that’s kept me from finishing a seemingly simple post? Home. What it is to me and how my perspective of it has changed over the past six months.

Despite being a very social extravert I’m am also very much a ‘homebody’. I am quite happy to stay at home all day cooking, organising my things, watching TV, and playing with my dog. In Adelaide I live with my mum and 14 year old sister Hannah and if you’ve read many of my other posts you may have also guessed I’m a mama’s girl. I’ve always known this but re-watching the Gilmore Girls and realising the number of parallels between Lorelai and Rory’s relationship with mine and my mum’s has made me, albeit slightly freaked out, incredibly grateful of how lucky I am to have such a special relationship. So what do you get when you take a girl who loves spending whole days in the comforts of her own home, with her greatest companion always handy for a hug or some advice or a piece of clothing to borrow, and put her in a completely foreign country an 8 hour flight away? One hell of a challenge- that’s what you get. I’ve made no secret of the fact that my first few months in Hong Kong were, whilst incredibly fun, not easy, but it’s only really now that I fully appreciate why that was. I was trying so desperately hard to find pieces of home in Hong Kong to make me feel like I was back in my familiar environment that I didn’t realise I was looking for ‘home’ in all the wrong places.

People say that going away on extended trips like this help you grow as a person and discover who you really are- something I certainly wouldn’t dispute. The thing they fail to mention is how hard it is when you’re leaving behind people who actually remind you of who you are- that best version of yourself. I am extremely lucky to have so many people like this back home and I have never appreciated them more than I do right now. Because the scary truth is that when you’re trying to figure out who you really are you are continually confronted with versions of yourself where you stand back and wonder “Is this really me? Is this how the real Gemma would react? Or is it just that she’s tired, hungry or hormonal (or a horrible concoction of all three)?”. Sometimes it’s the unfamiliar environment or new people that can challenge you. In all of those moments I’m of course being ‘me’ but perhaps not the best version of me- the happiest, kindest, craziest version of me. In those times when I’m giving myself the “this isn’t you, stop being silly”, pep-talk, that’s when I need those core people to remind me where to find that best version. And that brings us back to where I find home.

Home for me is with those people and that me. I feel the most a home when I feel the most like me- happy, free, empowered, supported, ambitious, appreciative…and it’s when I have great people around me that I can realise these things.

A few weeks ago I went back to Adelaide to celebrate three very important birthdays (my mum’s 50th and my best friend’s and my own 21st birthdays). It also marked exactly 6 months since the date I’d left home at the start of the year. Despite admitting to being quite an emotional person at the best of times I even surprised myself with what a rollercoaster of emotions I went through in the couple of weeks leading up to my trip home. I was beyond happy and excited to see friends and family (and my dog…) but at the same time I was quite nervous about the whole thing, wondering if it would feel different to how I had left it, and at the same time nervous that I’d love it so much I wouldn’t want to go back to Hong Kong. When I finally did get back to Adelaide it was even better than I could’ve imagined. It was like a little piece of me had been put back into place and I could really breathe again (and not just because of the marked difference in air quality, which was also greatly appreciated).

All of this said, it didn’t take me long to start feeling like something was missing and I realised I was missing Hong Kong (something I once thought would be impossible). More specifically I realised I was missing the people (my little adopted family) I’d left behind. Another strange thing was that I kept referring to Hong Kong as ‘home’ in my conversations with family and friends (Mum being particularly unimpressed with the idea). It was then in one very bittersweet moment that I realised that while Adelaide will always be home, Hong Kong is now also home because of the friendships and memories I’ve made whilst I’m here. I say bittersweet because this also means that no matter where I am, Adelaide, Hong Kong, or wherever I decide to live in the future, I will always be missing home and I will always be missing someone, somewhere. But most importantly it did reinforce the fact that the saying ‘home is where the heart is’, as cliché as it might be, is completely true because home is where the people you care about are and its those people that remind you who you are and what is in your heart.

So whilst I’ll still cook myself meals from home and binge watch TV shows in the dark pretending I’m in my lounge room in Valley View watching TV with my mum and sister, whenever I’m homesick I know that all I really need is some time with some quality people who remind me who I am to make me feel settled again. As trying as it may be at times, I really do love Hong Kong and I am incredibly grateful that I get to spend the next 5 months savouring all of the unique things it has to offer (but perhaps a little less dim sum this time for the sake of my health…).

Gemma

P.S.

I apologise for the super-much sentiments, I promise the next few posts will be less epiphany and more ridiculous stories this city has a habit of creating on a daily basis. Also, I’ve included a relatively unrelated Spotify playlist that I started making after hearing many of the songs whilst sitting in my favourite café in all of Hong Kong (on the beautiful Lamma Island) with my Mum and sister when they came over to visit me. In typical form I got all teary because most of the songs were by Australian artists and as if they were picked directly from my own music collection. It was the most at home I’d felt in months.

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This post comes a little later than intended because admittedly I’ve procrastinated about finishing it. I procrastinated and wrote it out a million (seven) times because like any time I want to explain something close to my heart, I want to get it just right. Ever since I was little, when I had an argument with my parents or a friend, I’d try to mend the situation with a letter. This is a habit I’ve continued into my adult years, not to avoid the confrontation itself but to make sure all that over-analysing I’ve been doing to figure out exactly how and why I feel the way I do doesn’t go to waste on a few poorly constructed sentences and vocab choices. This post is no exception (much analysis has been done). So what do I want to talk about that’s kept me from finishing a seemingly simple post? Home. What it is to me and how my perspective of it has changed over the past six months.

Despite being a very social extravert I’m am also very much a ‘homebody’. I am quite happy to stay at home all day cooking, organising my things, watching TV, and playing with my dog. In Adelaide I live with my mum and 14 year old sister Hannah and if you’ve read many of my other posts you may have also guessed I’m a mama’s girl. I’ve always known this but re-watching the Gilmore Girls and realising the number of parallels between Lorelai and Rory’s relationship with mine and my mum’s has made me, albeit slightly freaked out, incredibly grateful of how lucky I am to have such a special relationship. So what do you get when you take a girl who loves spending whole days in the comforts of her own home, with her greatest companion always handy for a hug or some advice or a piece of clothing to borrow, and put her in a completely foreign country an 8 hour flight away? One hell of a challenge- that’s what you get. I’ve made no secret of the fact that my first few months in Hong Kong were, whilst incredibly fun, not easy, but it’s only really now that I fully appreciate why that was. I was trying so desperately hard to find pieces of home in Hong Kong to make me feel like I was back in my familiar environment that I didn’t realise I was looking for ‘home’ in all the wrong places.

People say that going away on extended trips like this help you grow as a person and discover who you really are- something I certainly wouldn’t dispute. The thing they fail to mention is how hard it is when you’re leaving behind people who actually remind you of who you are- that best version of yourself. I am extremely lucky to have so many people like this back home and I have never appreciated them more than I do right now. Because the scary truth is that when you’re trying to figure out who you really are you are continually confronted with versions of yourself where you stand back and wonder “Is this really me? Is this how the real Gemma would react? Or is it just that she’s tired, hungry or hormonal (or a horrible concoction of all three)?”. Sometimes it’s the unfamiliar environment or new people that can challenge you. In all of those moments I’m of course being ‘me’ but perhaps not the best version of me- the happiest, kindest, craziest version of me. In those times when I’m giving myself the “this isn’t you, stop being silly”, pep-talk, that’s when I need those core people to remind me where to find that best version. And that brings us back to where I find home.

Home for me is with those people and that me. I feel the most a home when I feel the most like me- happy, free, empowered, supported, ambitious, appreciative…and it’s when I have great people around me that I can realise these things.

A few weeks ago I went back to Adelaide to celebrate three very important birthdays (my mum’s 50th and my best friend’s and my own 21st birthdays). It also marked exactly 6 months since the date I’d left home at the start of the year. Despite admitting to being quite an emotional person at the best of times I even surprised myself with what a rollercoaster of emotions I went through in the couple of weeks leading up to my trip home. I was beyond happy and excited to see friends and family (and my dog…) but at the same time I was quite nervous about the whole thing, wondering if it would feel different to how I had left it, and at the same time nervous that I’d love it so much I wouldn’t want to go back to Hong Kong. When I finally did get back to Adelaide it was even better than I could’ve imagined. It was like a little piece of me had been put back into place and I could really breathe again (and not just because of the marked difference in air quality, which was also greatly appreciated).

All of this said, it didn’t take me long to start feeling like something was missing and I realised I was missing Hong Kong (something I once thought would be impossible). More specifically I realised I was missing the people (my little adopted family) I’d left behind. Another strange thing was that I kept referring to Hong Kong as ‘home’ in my conversations with family and friends (Mum being particularly unimpressed with the idea). It was then in one very bittersweet moment that I realised that while Adelaide will always be home, Hong Kong is now also home because of the friendships and memories I’ve made whilst I’m here. I say bittersweet because this also means that no matter where I am, Adelaide, Hong Kong, or wherever I decide to live in the future, I will always be missing home and I will always be missing someone, somewhere. But most importantly it did reinforce the fact that the saying ‘home is where the heart is’, as cliché as it might be, is completely true because home is where the people you care about are and its those people that remind you who you are and what is in your heart.

So whilst I’ll still cook myself meals from home and binge watch TV shows in the dark pretending I’m in my lounge room in Valley View watching TV with my mum and sister, whenever I’m homesick I know that all I really need is some time with some quality people who remind me who I am to make me feel settled again. As trying as it may be at times, I really do love Hong Kong and I am incredibly grateful that I get to spend the next 5 months savouring all of the unique things it has to offer (but perhaps a little less dim sum this time for the sake of my health…).

Gemma

P.S.

I apologise for the super-much sentiments, I promise the next few posts will be less epiphany and more ridiculous stories this city has a habit of creating on a daily basis. Also, I’ve included a relatively unrelated Spotify playlist that I started making after hearing many of the songs whilst sitting in my favourite café in all of Hong Kong (on the beautiful Lamma Island) with my Mum and sister when they came over to visit me. In typical form I got all teary because most of the songs were by Australian artists and as if they were picked directly from my own music collection. It was the most at home I’d felt in months.

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