Belonging Story

The streets of Bondi tell the story. A glass tower here, a three storey, red brick walk-up there, shiny hotels alongside crumbling decrepit terraces. Eateries abound everywhere. A French brassiere beckons next to a Japanese Sushi Bar or a take away pizza and ribs, or a pub and bistro; all delivering their offerings with differing quality and price. Wet suited surfers hugging their boards wander along the beach side avenues; tradesmen and contractors squeezing their utes into impossibly small parking spaces. Flamboyant young women sip skinny lattes on a curb-side café table; nearby young men make boisterous conversation and garrulous discourse whilst fingering text messages to an unseen world. And here cooing pigeons, screeching seagulls and squawking cockatoos create a natural symphony broken by the intermittence of the roar of overhead jet engines. I should be happy in such an environment. I tell myself I’m lucky to be surrounded by such sights, and yet I’m not. It’s my neighbourhood –it should be my comfort zone, yet sometimes I feel like a stranger, like I don’t belong.


With mixed emotions of excitement and trepidation I boarded the plane to experience my first overseas trip. As the plane levelled off, I found myself in a floating world between expectation and uncertainty. I wondered whether belonging is about more than being in a place   - you can feel you belong to a place you’ve never been to and yet feel like a stranger in the place you were born.


With seatbelts tightly fastened the plane swooped over the Aegean Sea to land before the peak of the midday sun, hitting the runway with a series of bone jarring bumps and shudders before coming to a well deserved rest. I looked anxiously outside as if searching for something that resembled scenery I’d seen in holiday brochures.

Sleeping in is an impossibility in Athens’ Omonia Square. Thundering traffic rumbles along the avenues and alleyways past renovated buildings with sparkling glass and...