The last 12 months

Remember, remember, the end of November.

Snatches of déjà vu this week, like trying to remember a dream upon waking but instead of chasing the thoughts they somehow find me.

Looking back at it, last November was one of the most important months of my life so far. This week, I’ve been reflecting on everything that’s happened in between.

“There’s every chance you’ll be somewhere far from your Rae Street life,” I wrote this time last year, on the blog I kept while living on Rae Street, Fitzroy North, Victoria, Australia, universe. I had just found out but wasn’t ready to share or accept that I’d been accepted into the AVID program and would be summarily departing Melbourne earlier than I’d expected, for an 18-month-long volunteer placement in Dili.

I remember cycling home from work that day, stopping irritated in an alleyway to answer the phone that kept ringing, receiving news of the assignment and sitting silently with Annie and Andrew on the sagging stairs of our old terrace, “I guess I’m moving to East Timor…” hanging in the air above us and nervous, secret grins on their faces.

Then breezing down to open wine and season dhal and crowd more backyard chairs around the dining room table and upload Instagrams for friends over dinner and chatter away about nothing in particular because suddenly I was moving to East Timor and this was all different and finite and finished but it’s all fine, right; it’s fine and goooood and I’m fiiiine. 

I was serious and slow and telling myself I had more time than I thought but not believing a word of it and drifting around Fitzroy after a painful bicycle accident and an even-more-painful US presidential election outcome the previous week.

It was late on Friday night. I was cycling from a friend’s goodbye drinks in Richmond to meet another friend at the Marquis of Lorne and misjudged my wheels on loose asphalt and came over the handlebars.

I was fine, and now, twelve months on, the only reminder I have is the persistent pink blotchy keyloid scar on my left knee and the saccharine memories of the brief cross-country relationship a desperate post-accident phone call initiated.

Now there’s Facebook reminders “we thought you’d like to celebrate your Facebook friendship one-year-anniversary” and op-eds distilling and reviewing the year since the election result like we haven’t lived it every single day since.

A year ago you ate banana and tahini on seedy toast for breakfast and worked the coffee machine at Dolcetti and wore jumpers in the evenings and read borrowed library books in the Edinburgh Gardens and drifted through Melbourne like every day was the last one and every second sodden with thought.

A year ago, a year-and-a-bit ago, there was the Oaktree communications trip to Timor-Leste that started all this. Bumping back from a Baucau holiday at the end of the work trip, surprised and relieved that it all turned out fine, wondering whether you’d ever get to come back to this lovely place again.

This weekend just gone in the same tiny village as you were twelve months ago, learning the film has been nominated for an award. I guess it did turn out ok and a secret smile in the back seat of the car.

This week, this November, I’m making a big decision, and in contemplating that I’m brooding over the year that’s passed and the hints of last year I’m seeing around me now, mirror glints in my periphery in the sunlight.

Three Novembers ago I was graduating university in Perth. Two Novembers ago I’d just been made redundant from the magazine job I’d assumed I’d build my career from and reluctantly taken a new role in Melbourne.

Last November I was turning my mind to the fact I’d be leaving the city I’d then made my home.

I have no idea where I’ll be next November or what I’ll be doing. My AVID finishes in September. But now I know I can make the decision and deal with whatever comes next. Dive in.

This header photo is one of the very first I took out of my bedroom window in Fitzroy North, Melbourne. I had NO idea how the following two years would pass. 


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