I am a local. I am multi-local. I was born in Sri Lanka and went to school in Bahrain, Dubai and Tasmania. As an adult, I've lived in Melbourne and Tokyo.
I still leave my shoes at the door when I enter my apartment and now gently tut tut at my guests to do the same. In Japan, dirt from the outside is not allowed to touch the sanctity of the home; common sense I've brought back to Australia. My floor-to-ceiling glass windows overlooking the city street doesn't stop me boogie-ing alone in my underpants at home. Melbourne's ideals about acceptance, love and normalisation of a woman's body have helped me shrug off nakedness as no big deal.
Once a week, my parents call in from Dubai and I fill them in on as many stories as I can. Their open-mindedness and understanding of the cultures I have chosen to define myself with have helped us cultivate a relationship I am very grateful for. Steph (also from TCK TOWN) is my oldest friend from Year 9 in Jumeirah College, and often gently checks in to see if I'm ticking along okay. She still is the warm, kind, wonderful person I've known since I was 13. Our friendship has remained the same, no matter where we were travelling from, or where we met.
Having Australian citizenship makes for easier travel (though they don't seem to like us as much in Thailand). Sri Lanka is another one of my passport countries. It is a beautiful little island with an abundance of opportunity now that the civil war is over. However, I don't speak the language, know the local ins-and-outs, or have the contacts to manoeuvre through business or even basic necessities. I have the same hair and skin as my fellow Lankan, but I look foreign when I visit. After living in orderly Japan, the pace of life is frustrating, and after connecting with liberal Melbourne, societal ideas about gender, sexuality, money and marriage (even veganism!) are often difficult to relate to in conversation.
I am compelled to continue learning about the world. I want to be a local in New York next, cook like a small-town Italian and be as active as when I lived in Launceston.