CAP GRIS NEZ, France | He poked his head through the bathroom door as I was applying my final coat of mascara. “We’re leaving in twenty minutes, please put on the clothes I’ve left for you on the couch.”
Where were we going? I walked into the living room and curiously peered at the outfit he had spread perfectly on the cushions; thermals, comfortable pants, and my favourite grey jumper we often disputed the colour of. Twenty minutes later we were in the car driving in silence to an unknown location. In curiosity I watched the street signs but none of them were revealing, I asked questions but his lips were like an impenetrable vault; I was impatient, curious and excited.
After two hours he pointed to the horizon “look the sea!” As we parked the car the harsh sea air blew against my check ruffling my hair, he took my hand in his and walked along the cliffs explaining where we were; Cap Gris Nez, the closest point to England. Napoleon stopped at the cape in 1803 with his troops. Years later it was occupied by the Germans during WWII where they built heavy artillery, large enough to hit England from across the channel, 40km away. It was humbling to stand on the same ground that was shared by both honourable and terrible men.
I leant forward on the wooden post listening to the waves crash against the rocks, my eyes closed savouring the sound and the moment. He asked tenderly if it was soothing; he knows I’ve been feeling home sick.
Peering at England in the horizon has made me contemplate the year we have shared together and the one that is about to come. Since we have met our life has turned into a roller-coaster of uncertainty; qualification assessments, English tests, visa assessments, job prospects, sudden international relocations, learning a foreign language… it has been exhausting as it has been amazing. I have learnt and evolved so much as a person that I struggle to express it eloquently.
I appreciate my grandmother’s struggles as an immigrant to Australia with more clarity and admiration. I have learnt about assimilating to a new culture and that this year, everything I had ever hoped for came true. I moved to France, my work was displayed in a gallery and across various media publications including a newspaper viewed by over 30,000 people, I photographed a wedding and I found my true passion; still life photography.
On the dawn of a new year, I find myself unable to record my ‘goals’ because life is so unpredictable. This year I have decided to focus on living with intention; to find balance, to smell experience and appreciate every element of my world. To slow down and read for pleasure, to prepare nourishing meals, to invite calmness through meditation and focus on what is truly important, my friends, partner and family.
In the coming weeks, I have an exciting announcement to make; something I’ve been working on. Watch this space.