There’s no place like home

True story: In my younger days I performed in TWO separate school productions of the Wizard of Oz. I have twice stepped into my ruby slippers for costume parties and I have owned the book in both English and French. It’s fair to say I have quite an affinity for Miss Dorothy Gale.

Like Dorothy, I have yearned for a place where troubles melt like lemon drops, and in the past 8 years I have flown over many rainbows in search of that certain somewhere. Or perhaps something. Something unnameable that feels a bit like belonging, community, family, meaning, contentment, excitement, joy, love.

And like her, I discovered that no matter how hard you wish upon a star, those dreams that you dare to dream don’t always come true.

Without doubt, I’ve given it my best here in Canada. I fell from the sky into a wonderful land of dazzling beauty with kind people, intoxicating flower-fields, fantastical trees and interesting creatures. I’ve had to be brave and face my fears and have overcome many challenges. I’ve been helped by some badass good witches and acquired a small but loyal band of rag-tag companions, singing our way down many roads together.

But, despite Victoria being perfect for me on paper, it hasn’t quite fulfilled me in the way that I hoped it would.

I’ve loved my patients and colleagues, but I have not loved working in a system which makes it so hard to give people the care they deserve. I’ve stepped up and been a leader, but dealing with the flying monkeys and dishonest wizards of unwieldy healthcare bureaucracy has left me frustrated and burnt out.

I had started to make social inroads when the pandemic hit, drastically narrowing my opportunities to connect with others. HALF my time in Canada has been under the cloud of COVID and its impact has been profound.

I’ve been lucky enough to meet some incredible people who feel like family, but I still don’t have a family of my own.

Oh Canada, you’ve been a wonderful adventure in so many ways. But you’re just not home.

I’ve to come realise that even if I had the perfect job, a beautiful family life and wide circle of friends, there would still be a part of me that yearns to be back among the gum trees under those searing blue skies.

So, I have decided to leave Canada. After 8 years away I am coming back to Perth, which, despite fractured family bonds and many absent friends, still feels the most like home.

I’m aware that I have put myself in a rather ridiculous situation; go somewhere completely foreign, alone, tough it out until it gets comfy and then stay just long enough that it becomes almost too painful to leave. There are many things I will miss and I’m devastated at the thought of saying goodbye to my Canadian loved-ones. If I could tow Vancouver Island half-way around the world and anchor it off the coast of South-Western Australia, I absolutely would. Alas, I can only take a heartful of memories with me and must leave the rest behind.

I must admit I’m a little bit afraid, too. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to stand the most obnoxious parts of Australian culture. I don’t how I will cope with the busyness of city life and the steadily worsening summer heat. I expect to feel lonely while I rebuild my social network. I’m anxious that the window of opportunity for having children is rapidly closing. I worry that I’ll actually miss the disorienting technicolour experience of being “away” and that I’ll STILL feel restless. But, like the Cowardly Lion, I have learned that I have courage aplenty and won’t let fear stand in my way of what feels right.

I will be very glad to return to a place where I have thirty years of history and a vast web of invisible connections to its people and places. I’m excited about new work opportunities with wonderful old colleagues. I cannot wait to cuddle my best friend’s new baby and share a cider with my bro.

And while I’ve always been wary of settling, I am looking forward to finally being a bit more settled. Im looking forward for the first time in years to be able to sleep in my own bed, hang my pictures on the wall and plant a tree I might actually see grow up. Hopefully I’ll gain some patients I can stick around for. Be a real long-term GP! Now wouldn’t that be something…

Just maybe, like Dorothy, I’ll learn that “if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard; because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with”.

*Clicking my heels*

There’s no place like home.

There’s no place like home.

There’s no place like home.

2 thoughts on “There’s no place like home

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