Melbourne, VIC – Australia
As much as possible
I lived in Melbourne for a year in my 20s. The year was challenging for me in many ways, and yet it still radiates as one of the most memorable years of my life. For some reason, even though difficult moments shook me, the place and its wonders, the honest and diverse humans that live there, and the way people embrace life, opportunity and hard work all got into my inners and kept me growing.
I lived outside of the city, to the North-East. Took public transport to work. Found my feet and some creativity in the laneways – and was inspired by the people I met.
Especially, by a few women I got to know there.
Neo was my roommate. A formidable and talented woman, who had moved from Botswana to study. She was intelligent, articulate, hilarious and massively creative. We ate together and laughed together, and through her I met many other remarkable people. She tried to teach me rhythm, which was not effective lesson. However, the lessons she taught me about facing and embracing life, and change and possibility with bravery, still sings to me in her beautiful alto.
Tapiwa, was a friend of Neo’s who I met through her. At first, I found it hard to settle into a new country. I knew some people loosely, but many of my expectations were changed quickly. Yet I began getting to know people, gradually. Taps was feisty and strong and kind and big-hearted. I remember it took me months to get to know her, to build a friendship. It seemed that in some ways we assessed each other from a distance. That journey of friendship was so lovely to me, because I began learning about boldness, and strength of personality. I saw what confidence and kindness looked like. How bravery and honesty can repeat later, in a mind and heart.
And also Cath, I don’t remember spending heaps of time with Cath, but the time I did mattered to me. It was something to do with finding moments to laugh, and showing up… for commitments and people. She was a smart and loyal friend. Quick witted and precise. She was a good friend, that even in small moments shared big love and hope and friendship.
There were more people and families and moments and coffees. And that’s what I remember. Melbourne somehow kept a balance on the side of light, even in some shadow.
I still hold a torch for that place.