LAOWAI 老外 // TRAVEL DIARY


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For almost 20 days now, my skin has felt the warmth of the sun. I’ve blocked out all worries, all work, all anxieties and reduced myself to driving in a bikini and letting the sun bleach my hair. My skin is raw and each day it gets worse – but I’ve never enjoyed anything more. Sydney, I’ve missed you.20150111_125935

There’s something different about returning home after time abroad. Suddenly, you notice what colour the sky is, what the air smells like. You start to forget where everything is, and still think you know the best coffee in town. Turns out, you don’t. When I left, I thought everything would remain the same. And in the most part, it has. Everybody still looks like they’re on permanent holiday, the air still smells like the ocean and everything has still remained so fricken expensive. But things do change. People change, the dollar drops in value a little, new laws are in place and apparently I can’t just walk into a bar without being carded five times.  where everything is, and still think you know the best coffee in town. Turns out, you don’t. When I left, I thought everything would remain the same. And in the most part, it has. Everybody still looks like they’re on permanent holiday, the air still smells like the ocean and everything has still remained so fricken expensive. But things do change. People change, the dollar drops in value a little, new laws are in place and apparently I can’t just walk into a bar without being carded five times.

But the biggest change was me. If it wasn’t for my little blonde streaks, I feel completely foreign. I no longer feel comfortable burning my bare feet on hot tar. My accent has slowly morphed away from the strewn vowels and I’ve actually started pronouncing the ‘er’ on ‘water’. There’s a Chinese word for this feeling – 老外 (lao wai) – which directly translates to outsider or alien. Officially, I’m a 老外 in my own country.

And now, it’s time for me to leave. It’s been beautiful, as always Sydney, and it’s always going to be where I’m from. But not necessarily home.

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