Writing On The Wall: Strawberries, Dog Hair and Sun

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Words || Aylish Dowsett

I used to love going up the downs as a child.

Tiny wild strawberries grew along the worn path where we used to walk. My German Shepherd, Axel, would run madly along the sloping hills, his ears alert, brown eyes curious. The beauty of his happiness always shone through him. My mum would point out wild plants to my sisters, dad and I, like thyme and nettles and dock. She and I once saw a bee orchid; I didn’t realise just how rare they are. That is something I will always remember. 

I moved from England to Australia when I was 13-years-old. My younger sister was 10, my older sister 15. If you’re reading this and you’ve done a big move like me, you’ll know just how difficult things can be. For a long time, I felt out of place and like I didn’t belong. I felt lost. Those feelings were also shared by my family. When your reality crumbles around you, you realise just how big and scary the world really is. 

But things do get better. I promise. 

Sydney was the next big move for us. I remember seeing The Opera House from the plane and thinking how magnificent and beautiful it was. I’d only ever seen images on the TV. I was so excited. My dad took my twin sister and I to Snag Stand in the Sydney Tower Eye. It was honestly one of the best things I’ve tasted, but now they’ve shut down! The city was so full of life, it pulsed with energy and a soul that I still can’t describe. The city is just as beautiful as a beach, a forest, a lake or the bush. Life happens there. 

Now, in the present, I am the happiest I’ve been in a long time. I’m pursuing my dreams at a university that has the most beautiful campus. I’m still in awe when I look down Wally’s Walk, particularly at night, when all the little fairy lights spring to life. I’m very lucky to be where I am now. Sydney saved me. 

Although moving was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, I wouldn’t change it for the world. It was a difficult time, but I got through it with the love and support of my family and friends. Without them all, I wouldn’t be me. Use your support network, wherever they may be. And if you’ve just moved, or are planning to, just remember that things may be a little bumpy at the beginning, but it won’t always be like that. Life has a funny way of always changing. For me, England and Australia are so different, yet each holds a special place in my heart. Australia is not my new home, but it has become another home to me.