photo credit: jenny downing via photopin cc She sat there, on her newly assembled Ikea bed, resting one leg on her white King-size duvet, which was smothering her Queen-size bed (because she figured it’s the little things in life). Her other leg dangled off the side, partly to stretch after unpacking so many boxes, but mainly to feel the freshly laid carpet underneath her toes. She looked around at this new space.

The carpet, the curtains, the closet space... Oh, the closet space.

Her clean white walls were making everything in a 10-mile radius aware that the paint was still wet, which she secretly loved but rarely admitted. She always wondered if it was just her that liked those toxic smells that seemed socially unacceptable, like nail salons and gas stations, or if it was one of those things everyone liked but no-one ever actually admitted... Like the Elephant Love Song Medley, karaoke edition. Or fries dipped in ice cream.

Though it was technically unfamiliar, it felt strangely familiar.

She felt the same kind of mixed emotions she got when she saw an old friend across the room, and though she wanted to run up and throw her arms around them, she didn’t, for fear of getting the wrong person, or even worse, that old friend not recognising who she was anymore. Yes, that feeling of unfamiliar familiarity.

As she continued to survey her new room, she felt satisfied that it turned out exactly the way she had pictured and pinned, very close to some of her photos on her “Dream Home” Pinterest Board… And much better than the time she tried to re-make the 'Easy DIY Brookie Cookie'. #nailedit #pinterestfail.

No, this time her Pinterest board had worked very nicely for her. She knew there were a couple of things that might have to wait, namely the cedar slippery slide staircase, indoor fire pit and bright red door.

At least for a few months.

But for now, she had designed the room white, with lots of space, and clean minimalistic furniture. And she had done it intentionally. That was so the burst of pink roses in the vase next to her TV, the secret obsession with animal print that was hiding under her duvet and, most importantly, the three square throw pillows sitting on her bed would all be accented… And also, so when her mum came to visit they could go shopping together and finish the room, and maybe her mum would foot some of the bill. She was smart and hopeful like that.

Her sister had made the throw pillows as a going away gift for her before she moved away from her family, for an amount of time that no one wanted to think about, or admit openly. Each pillow in their different colours of green, pink and yellow held a reminder that her sister had sown in.

These pillows were to be put on the centre of her new bed as daily reminders, to keep her safe and surviving in this new environment of traffic, tofu, and TMZ.

The pillows read...

1. Eat Your Greens. 2. Call Your Mum. 3. Save Your Kisses.

Though she had moved far away, these pillows represented the best sister-to-sister conversations they had growing up, and the most frequent. About health. About family. About boys.

She continued to look around the room, with unlikely birds singing outside and the LA sunset breeze playing a quiet call-and-response with her temporary white blinds. It was all so beautiful, so peaceful, so cozy. Best of all? It was hers.

For the first time since she left her home in Australia, she had found it again.

And so she did what any dramatic, Disney-enthused, girl would do... Especially the kind that wished their life were a Broadway musical. And boy, did she wish her life were a Broadway musical.

She hopped off her bed, walked out of her new room, and shut the door behind her.

One… Two… Three... Four… Five… Six… Seven… Eight… Nine… Ten.

Turning around, she opened the door.

This time, as she walked into her room, she stopped. She took a deep, and extremely ungracefully continued to have a brief asthma attack, quickly reminding herself that she lived in smog-filled LA and her walls had just been painted. No more deep breaths to be taken here. She recovered her breath, and continued her moment.

Standing in her new room, in her new apartment, in her new city, she smiled.

She quietly whispered, “welcome home darling.”

And she was. She really, really, was.

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