Today I met up with Fiona for breakfast in North Melbourne, before we cycled over to Kensington for the Open Studio day of a couple of her friends at Ink & Spindle.
Lara and Tegan design and hand-print gorgeous fabrics, and we arrived just as they were finishing up the screen printing demonstration. I loved their beautiful patterns and colours, and it made me wish I had an actual need for fabric in my life right now.
But just as inspiring were the workspaces themselves — they share their studio with some talented jewellery-makers and illustrators, as well as the start-up Handmaker’s Factory.
I have some space in my new home, to make up for the lack of actual bedroom space, and I have been thinking about how I want to set it up. I would like for it to be more like a studio space than a simple desk for studying — somewhere I can keep my embroidery, knitting, painting and modelling gear, as well as my school books and my “art restoration kit”.
Anyway, back to today. We came out of the studio, and by magic found ourselves on… the Capital City Trail. The weather is gorgeous this weekend, and riding Gary along the trail is like an injection of the happiest-making drug in the world. The smell in the air, that Australian heat smell, sort of spicy, the smell of the Bush, I don’t know what makes it so entrancing? I like this post on the particularities of the Australian bush, although of course riding the CCT through the inner north is not actually anything like the bush itself.
My emotional, passionate love for Australia is a secret to nobody, and the fact that I am incapable of hearing or singing I still call Australia home without breaking down in huge, body-wracking sobs causes endless entertainment to the more sadistic of my friends. In fact, just obtaining the below video — hideously cheesy and commercial though it may be — meant I spent a good ten minutes crying.
I can’t explain what it is that makes me, as someone who doesn’t have her own country or cultural identity, feel so at home here. I sometimes find it hard to believe I’m actually really here at last, after the last two years (not to name drop but I went through I think 14 different countries, some of them multiple times, before finally coming home to Melbourne). It’s like finally being given what I never thought I could have — as a permanent resident of Australia, I will never have to leave again if I don’t want to.
A lot of Australians don’t really get what it is that I love so much about this country, and even more non-Australians are surprised at how much I cling to a country that some of them describe in less than flattering tones (unsurprisingly, this only comes from people who haven’t actually ever BEEN here). And I am afraid I simply don’t have the words to tell them. But today, as I was riding Gary along the CCT, breathing the fragrant air and feeling the sun on my skin and with the biggest, bluest sky overhead, I realised that I never, ever have to stop doing this. I can go on riding my bike along this trail for the rest of my life. Not all day every day, I just mean… for the first time, there was a sense of permanency. I will be riding this bike trail when I turn 30 later this year, and I will be doing this when I’m 35, and 40, and 60. This is my home and I will always, always love Melbourne, no matter where I am in the world.