With my 457 Visa approved it was time to start thinking about longer term arrangements insofar as living space.
Up to now, I’d been in fairly casual flat or house shares knowing that the luxury of flexibility was on my side. My first flat was a steal rent-wise and was actually a damn nice flat, but integrating into an already closely-established social circle of Brazilians proved challenging. So I ended up moving to a house share with a really cool bunch. A mix of creatives and professionals in an old, but character-ful house. It wasn’t the cleanest but neither was it so meticulously tidy that you were petrified of not washing up a coffee cup. Cue a series of parties, the odd chilled night in with a glass of wine…it was nice.
But it felt like a bit of a revolving door.
As people moved in and out, the vibe changed. It felt less like home and more like accommodation. It reminded me of a house I had in North London which was a great party house but had a turnover of four different people in a year. Fine in your early 20s..but not after. Completely different working schedules meant many times I was alone, and it got lonely.
So I was tasked with finding a new place. I was prepared to spend slightly more for this – Sydney is home now, so I needed a home.
But this post isn’t about the house search itself, but a truly, truly freakish occurrence.
The usual flatmates.com.au and flatmatefiners spared the search and led me to a house on Bondi Road, not far from my first flat. I opened the door to a British fella with long hair and we started chatting and showing me the room.
He looked very familiar. Scarily familiar.
As we continued to walk around, I couldn’t help but think how much he reminded me of someone. But I couldn’t think who. I just had a continually freakish sense of deja vu. His looks, mannerisms and demeanour had a comforting feel about it.
And then it clicked.
Back in London I regularly attended Fitness First classes, a big part of my life here in Sydney too. Boxing and Spin are particular faves and in my North London gym there was a fella I was quite pally with. Similar height and build and so we worked well when sparring together in boxing, and generally just spurring each other on in cycle. He was a good fella and whilst we never met up for drinks or hung out, I always looked forward to seeing him in classes.
When I knew the move to Australia was happening, I had to start explaining to people I was leaving – cancel the membership, thank all the trainers and instructors and say goodbye to all the people whose company I enjoyed whenever I went to a class. I got kind of emotional – whilst there weren’t many close friends, there were people I saw every week and enjoyed their company.
This particular guy said he had a twin brother. Living in Australia.
I got super excited but obviously knew it might sound strange, so immediately ha to pull up that this could be a weird series of questions…
‘you’re from London’
‘do you have a twin brother’
‘likes to box and cycle’
Every time I got closer to the ultimate point where I could reveal I knew him, he looked that little bit more freaked out. But then when he revealed his brother’s name, I knew and clicked and beamed with joy, mentioning how nice his brother was and asked how he was.
He looked like he had seen a ghost.
His brother had died 3 months ago. Epilepsy.
I left feeling awful, though he mentioned it was comforting knowing that even someone who only vaguely knew him said how nice he was.
But it really just got me thinking about how short and fleeting life is. It’s something I was sadly reminded of last year with a friend of mine too, and every time you sit there spouting phrases like ‘live each day like it’s your last’ and ‘follow your dreams’ and it’s easy to say this but in practicality not everyone can pack in their jobs and go travel the World.
I I also left feeling sad that I never actually hung out with him outside of the gym. We weren’t ‘friends’ as such, but he was someone go I liked and respected and would have been nice to have grabbed a beer with and watched some football or something with. He seemed a likeable, intelligent guy and would have definitely been someone I’d have enjoyed socialising with. And now I’ll never get that chance.
It really was a stark reminder of how it can all end in a flash and how you shouldn’t take things for granted. Friends. Loved ones. Health. Life.
Whilst I’ve been on a working holiday Visa I had made sure each day I did something productive and I could look back on as an experience rather than just chilling / watching Netflix. With sponsorship that pressure is off, but I still have to constantly remind myself to not procrastinate, to take risks, don’t leave yourself saying ‘what if’.
I’m not quite living every day as if it’s my last – I doubt many of us would regard your average Monday at work as they way they would – but I am getting there.