Monday, October 12, 2015

We don't live Anywhere

We're on the north coast of Italy, at a wedding. People at the wedding have come from everywhere - mainly Berlin, lots from Australia, some from France, the UK other parts of Germany, the bride from Lichtenstein. At our table, a Russian-Danish director and his Danish performer wife, an English actor/director from New York, his London actress wife and a German makeup artist who wore shoes with no toe. 'How do you know the bride and groom?' is always a first question along with 'Where do you live?'

I love this table and the Russian-Danish director who is also obsessed with Karl Ove Knaussgard and has read all six books in Norwegian, plus he also cried his eyes out at Inside Out. Everyone is curious, and interested - about each other, and everything, a trait that seems rarer and rarer.

So, where do you come from? Where are you based?

Everyone has a one-word answer, it seems, except us, and the world's current flux of refugees. I'm so ashamed to even write about our current state of homelessness, given our privilege of choice, of safety, of Australian passportedness.

So forgive me for speaking about it.

But we do find ourselves in an unusual situation for people our age.

We don't live anywhere.

And we don't know where we're headed.

The London actress waits for a response. Now the whole table is looking.

'Well, technically Australia - we have a temporary house there - but we're currently in Paris - but about to leave, to go back to the temporary house in Australia, which we have to leave on December 10. Then we don't know where we're going. Perhaps LA. Perhaps another house in Australia. To be honest, I don't even see us flying out of Paris on Wednesday. Our whole life is there. So... um - we don't really have a base right now...'

Most people have already drifted off, but this table is only more intrigued. So - why LA? Why not Paris? Why not Australia? What sort of work do you do?

We came back to Paris in June this year, after six months back in Australia, because some friends invited us to spend summer in Spain. Why not? Touching down at Charles de Gaulle was like coming home. And it was. Being in our old neighbourhood was so weird - nothing had changed and we slipped straight back in to our old life. My advertising work picked up, as though my clients could smell i was 'sur place' and life kicked back into its old routine. The sun was out, there was rosé. I got offered 6 weeks work september - october. So we decided to come back after summer and spend some more time in Paris, for 'work'. We took another temporary place with only one bedroom, making a bedroom for Kiki in the walk-in-robe. She put on baskets and rode the pink scooter back to her old school, we resumed our spots in our old shared office, our friends and community all welcomed us back as though we'd never really left. Kiki was in a lovely class at school, this time with her two English friends and a gentle older maitre. The directrice made us know we would always be welcome. Paris life kicked back into gear - we had somehow returned without realising.
The six-week job offer never eventuated, but it didn't matter - we had made new inroads with work, solidified contacts, resumed our relationships with dear friends...

WHAT THE FUCK WERE WE DOING?

As if leaving last December, packing up the whole life we'd built in Paris and moving back to Australia wasn't hard enough. Our stuff had arrived in Australia a week before we left to come back for Paris! The bonds that had been so emotional to break, had now been rebuilt and more, and now we were going to break them again? 

The temporary home back in Australia, as comforting as it was to know it was there, was no longer a comfort. We would have to move out before Christmas - still no sign of a Christmas tree for Kiki in sight. To LA, then? Where?
There is nobody I know at this age who does not have some sort of true home. Kiki is a trooper - she rolls with it, but recently, when I say that I have to work 'to buy us a house of our own', she adds 'that we never ever have to leave?' Kiki, before she came to live with us, lived in a place called Tinyland, with her tiny mum and dad, and her sisters Aren't I, Strongy and Teeny. There, they spoke Tinyland language, which I am learning, and consists of high-pitched squeaks.
In Tinyland, she tells me, they lived in one house forever, and never ever moved. And she had her own bedroom (which she sometimes shared with Aren't I).

Oh, how I long to give her that in this life - a room that truly is hers.

But now I don't know where to stop.

A few years back we discussed starting a magazine called We Don't Live Anywhere. I can't remember why we came up with it, it just felt right.