I am preparing – mostly mentally as I literally can’t bring myself to deal with the Himalayan-sized summit of clothes on my floor - to fly my Australian nest and vehemently search for my purpose in life amid the bright lights of New York City.
The only saving grace keeping that sentence from total cliché-dom is that I thankfully do not profess to be searching for a soul mate of any kind.
But as the swift Band-Aid like separation from my family, friends and career looms, I have found myself thinking a lot about home, and what importance this concept has on our lives.
Surely there is a reason one of the first questions we ask a new acquaintance is usually something like: “I couldn’t help but notice you are displaying definite cultural awkwardness in this particular situation, indicating you are not from here. Where do you call home?”
Airplane travel has undoubtedly deflated our planet into a far more traversable size, to the point where you can no longer assume people’s origins, and statements like the aforementioned could actually land a racial discrimination lawsuit on your desk (or your bed, if, like me, that is your preferred place to work). However spiritually liberating this fact may be, I think the fluid movement of our planetary populous means having a place to call home is even more essential.
Over the years my bedroom walls have morphed into a kind of honorary shrine to the myriad places I have already called home in my young life.
The very oldest of the bunch is a high-grain overexposed polaroid of a skinny-legged platinum blonde mini-me (with an awful bowl cut) patting my pony out the front of my family farmhouse in the middle of the nowhere. Another photo depicts my breezy boarding school room; faded curtains billowing, backlog of empty tea cups, half finished Harry Potter novel on the bedside table and soft morning light staining the psychedelic patchwork quilt my mum sewed for me – a literal comfort blanket – when I first left home. Another shows my head poking out of the upstairs window of an ornate old-English sandstone building, the awnings frosted with fresh snow, taken while I was tutoring at a school about two hours south of London. There is also a glorious triptych of purplish pink sunsets draped over the meandering Brisbane River – the city where I spent four years at university.
Looking at this retrospective montage makes me wonder whether I’ll be adding some touristy snaps of the New York skyline or yellow taxis zooming around Manhattan in a few years time.
I used to think I was little affected by my surroundings – that the elements making up my character were somewhat immune to external stimuli. But if I am honest, whenever I come back to my bedroom, in my childhood farmhouse, outside a tiny town in rural Australia, all of the familiar cues revert my behaviour back to when I was a child. I still nag at my mum wanting to know what’s for dinner and my dad continues to cover my eyes in the violent or sexy bits of movies – it’s nostalgic to the point where I truly can’t remember the difference between who I am and where I am. And I think this state manifests when we truly know a place is home - when the line we draw between self and surroundings is no longer distinguishable.
Just like these farmhouse baked eggs with cheesy toast, home is a place that makes my soul full and my heart warm.
- 2 tins crushed tomatoes
- 1 tin mixed beans
- 1 cup broad beans or peas
- 1 cup diced red pepper (capsicum)
- 1 brown onion
- 4 cloves finely diced garlic
- 2 tablespoons smokey paprika
- 4 tablespoons korma paste
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¾ cup finely diced spicy Polish sausage
- About 200g cubed haloumi
- Eggs (as many as you like)
- Cheesy toast (the more the better) or brown rice to serve
- In a large saucepan, sauté red pepper, onion, garlic, paprika, korma paste, Polish sausage and haloumi in olive oil.
- Once browned slightly, add in tinned beans, tomatoes, broad beans and lemon juice. Allow to simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Transfer to a large, oiled baking dish. Crack as many eggs as you like on top and bake for about 15 minutes on moderate heat until the eggs are cooked.
- Serve hot with cheesy toast for dipping or over brown rice.