Saturday, March 31, 2007

Just as well I'm leaving

Melbourne really isn't the charming place to start over with a clean slate as I thought she would be. Not that I've accumulated too much snow on my slate to need cleaning, but the idea of starting life in a city totally unfamiliar was initially appealing and, I'm shameless to say, quite adventurous. Six months have passed since the move to Melbourne and the transient sense of excitement in the beginning has quickly been replaced by ruts of daily routines.

It's not that Melbourne fail to accommodate the life I was expecting when I first set foot here. You felt like a wide-eyed tourist in the first two months, but as soon as you make a new city your home, the charm that fills a tourist's holiday disappears and you quickly give up the artist's stroll for the express line, aimless people-watching for break-time gym programs slotted in between ferocious 24-hour rotating shifts. Instead of adventures, Melbourne threw me the exact same things I abandoned in the old life - only on a larger scale. So you start to long for adventures in some distant land across the seas.

Though it happened quickly, it didn't happen by accident. I believe somewhere along the way I gave Melbourne permission to slip the hamster wheel under my feet. More than ever, this is the time when I find myself relating to Hans Christian Andersen the most as he wrote in 1840, "It's just as well I'm leaving; my soul is unwell."

But where? It's one thing to entertain the thought of running off to some remote corner of the world on a moment's whim, and quite another to actually take leave from your daily cares and stand under the giant flapping schedule board in a train station picking a destination. And then there is the piled-up bills on the desk and the distant but distinct voices of well-meaning friends and parents who beg you not to throw away your senses for something so illusive and selfish. Deep down you fear that they might just be right. After all you can't even put a name to this unreasonable urge to "take it to the winds."

It's just as well I'm leaving; my soul is unwell. The desire to run off will not quit until the wayfarer recognizes his signpost and heads down the path that nurse his ache of standing still.

The sole cause of man's unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room.

- Blaise Pascal

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