I’m leaving for Singapore in a couple of hours. Before I go on, I should probably mention that I was born in Singapore and moved to Melbourne in 2003. All my extended family live in Singapore, and I still have some friends there. We make an effort to visit every year, but I’m the type of person who hates goodbyes, and each year, I’m finding it harder and harder to go. It’s a bit of a lose-lose situation. If I’m in Melbourne, I miss my extended family. If I’m in Singapore, I miss my Melbourne family. Either way, I miss someone. And it kinda sucks.
In the weeks leading up to this trip, I found myself answering the question “What are you doing this summer?” with the phrase “I’m going home.” But it didn’t feel quite right. Someone called me out on it saying “Isn’t Melbourne your home?” It got me thinking- where do I feel most at home? Is it in Singapore where the humidity is sometimes suffocating but I get to binge on my grandma’s awesome cooking? Or is it in Melbourne where I get to experience four seasons (sometimes in a day) but miss out on quality time with my extended family?
I’ve been in Melbourne for almost 11 years now. And I love it. I love the people, the food and the culture. I love the buskers on Swanston St and the amazing gelato on Lygon St. I love my Melbourne family made up of close friends I’ve encountered over the years. I love the laid-back attitude, the sport, the night markets…I love Melbourne. And I would call it home in a heartbeat if it weren’t for one thing- my family.
When I was still a baby, both my parents were working full-time, so I was basically brought up by my maternal grandparents. They taught me more than I have learnt in all my years of schooling. I owe them so much and it makes me feel so guilty that I can’t spend every waking hour with them. I lost my grandpa in 2005. It was the worst feeling in the world knowing that I wasn’t there in his final moments. And that’s why I’m so torn between these two cities. I love them both for different reasons. In a perfect world, I’d mush the two together so that everyone I love would be the same city with me forever. But that’s naive and plain selfish. The world is never perfect, and it never will be. It sounds depressing, but I guess that’s just the way life goes. In the words of Mama June, it is what it is. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, apparently.
I’ve spent so long tossing up between the two cities trying to figure out which is truly my home, but I’ve come to the conclusion that it doesn’t really matter. I don’t really have a home here on Earth. My true home is in Heaven, where I hope to be one day. All my possessions now are fleeting, but my treasures stored in Heaven are for eternity.