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Tuesday, February 01, 2005

A Freudian Slap

Well, I've been living with my family in Darwin for the last three months, during the summer vacation. It's been great, and I've really enjoyed being back with them. Yet somehow, during a casual conversation with my little sister, I managed to say "In three weeks I'll be going back home". When what I meant was "In three weeks I'll be going back to Melbourne."

Ok, so it was not a Fruedian slip, but it was, in any case, a verbal slip-up of the largest magnitude. Furious backpaddling on my part was of no avail. The damage had already been done. I had delivered an accidental slap in the face; and it stung. I'm sorry. I didn't mean it... I'm so sorry. But it's true, I didn't mean to say what I just said!

Yet despite this, and despite all my appeals to the contrary, behind the mistaken utterance, there was probably a granuale of unconcious truth. Maybe I'm beginning to think of Melbourne as home. I've never thought of it that way before, and I know why.

Largely, I think it was due to the fact that I was living on-campus. It's difficult to think of a single tiny room in a huge conglomeration of equally tiny, but differently shaped rooms, as home. Certainly, I never did. The feelings of abjection brought about from having use a kitchen littered with the unwashed filthy dishes and the coagulating dinner reminants of twenty or so floor-mates meant that I never could. Thankfully, I'll not be returning to that ant-infested hellhole ever again.

So, when I called Melbourne it was not while thinking of the place that I lived in for the first two years of my University life. No, when I called Melbourne home, it was while thinking of the place where I'll be living in the future. When I return, it'll be to a house. I'll be sharing with four others, three being fellow Chemical Engineering students, whom I think of as friends, and the other being the older sister of one of the three, whom I've never met. The three people that I know, I consider to be not only my friends, but also my academic competitors, and in some way, my teachers. I'm sure that my relationship with them will continue to grow and blossom in the future. I can easily imagine us living together, cooking together, eating together, studying together; having fun together, coping with difficulties together, maybe even going into business together. I can imagine us as being more than friends, being something akin to family.

While nothing can ever compete with the genuine article, this place and these people have the potential to mean something very special, something I've never had before: a home away from home; a family away from family.

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