It's official, I no longer live in Australia. Boxes have been packed and shipped, bags have been stuffed and flown, bank accounts have been closed, goodbyes have been said, and a few tears have been shed.
I moved to Melbourne on February 6, 2009. Somehow the year before, I decided I should apply to do a photography degree... on the other side of the world from my home. The whole application and acceptance process to get into university only took about a month and a half. I shocked a lot of friends and family when I told them I was moving to Australia in order to study photography. I had never even been to Australia before! I had a lot of Aussie friends after living in Whistler, and when I was in high school I thought it would be cool to do an exchange to Aus. The whole thing made sense in my head.
I was extremely fortunate when I arrived that I had a friend that picked me up (with an Aussie care package - everything consumed minus the Vegemite), helped me open my bank account, get a working phone number, and drove me to my new apartment. The housemates I had found online were better than I could have ever asked for. By chance, I found a couple to live with - one of them had just graduated from the photography program I was beginning, and the other was a year ahead of me in it. These two were my family and incredibly helpful and supportive.
Fast forward 3 years... photography degree complete and finished with a high distinction. Migration agents are telling me that I'll have to leave the country because my new career is not in need in Australia. I'm stubborn so I found a visa I could stay on. That gave me almost another 2.5 years in Melbourne. During that time, I assisted various photographers and learned valuable skills to bring to my own practice. I slowly built up my own client list and got to the point where I could work as a photographer instead of as an assistant.
After 2 separate trips home in 2013, I decided I would move home and set up shop in Vancouver the following year. Famous last words. A month after I made this decision, I met the guy that captured my heart. He is a Kiwi boy (New Zealander for those that don't know) that has built his career in the Melbourne coffee scene. I swapped onto a working holiday visa so I could stay in Melbourne and live with him.
At the start of 2015, Calum (the previously mentioned captor of my heart) suggested we move to Canada at the end of the year. Well... it's the end of 2015. We're moving to Canada. Technically, I've already moved back to Canada, but I had to head back to Melbourne to wrap up the last of life there. That's what I did over the past 2 weeks, and now I'm with Calum's family in Auckland until December.
I know there are things that I'll miss about Melbourne, but I'm actually quite happy to leave and have new experiences. I'll miss my favourite food and coffee spots; I'll miss my friends; I'll miss the CHEAP flight deals offered in Australia; I'll miss the surf trips down the coast; and I'll miss my creative team/partners in crime. I appreciate all the opportunities I had while living in Australia. I'm a traveller at heart - I know I'll see my friends again, but I'm a small town girl that misses the mountains, forests, ocean, and lifestyle of west coast Canada, so I'm headed back to where my heart is happy. Peace out Australia, I'm not sure when I'll see you again, but I'm sure it will be someday.