An Apology Letter to My Hometown, Brisbane

An Apology Letter to My Hometown, Brisbane

Dear Brisbane,

I’m sorry. I treated you like you were worthless – as if you had nothing to offer. I talked badly about you behind your back as I gallivanted through Europe, cruised across the Pacific Ocean and glided over the Grand Canyon. I told locals who lived in the different cities I explored, that where I came from was a place to “grow up and grow old in, but nothing in between”. They laughed. I joined in.

I claimed all you had to offer was one main street in the city, the Brisbane “Eye” and a fake beach at Southbank. As soon as I landed back here from any of my trips, I would plan my next getaway. You were a city that I considered a time-filler: I would stay here, working hard and saving money until I could escape you again. There has never been a time when I’ve lived in the moment here, truly appreciating you and all your beauty.

But lately, I’ve started to change my mind.

Recently, my job has been taking me all over. I have travelled to suburbs that I didn’t even know existed here, driving at all hours, and witnessing sunsets; watching the river at night time, and the change in seasons. I’ve started to realise, Brisbane, that you are the best of both worlds: where city meets the quietness of a country town, and glorious beaches are less than an hour away.

Finally, I am living in Brisbane in the now. For the first time in my life, I am not seeking an escape. And, you know what? I’m happy.

As I drive past the cityscape, where the lights of the high-rise buildings twinkle in the sky, I reflect on how content I am with the people I have been blessed to meet here. As we approach autumn, I feel the coolness in the air while I sit by the BBQ with friends, the sun kissing my skin. I am excited to explore you more, experience everything you have always offered that I had been too ignorant to recognise.

I love you Brisbane. I shared my entire upbringing with you. You watched me play sport as a dorky child, who then was lucky enough to go to a high school on the edge of the “Brown Snake” (more commonly known as the beautiful Brisbane River), and now you have seen me as an adult – who is still working her stuff out.

Part of me knows, though, that I am not destined to stay here forever. I want to live in another city one day to truly experience adulthood, and the independence that comes with it. But a lengthy time apart will probably allow me to appreciate you even more.

So from here on in, I promise that when I meet new friends and they ask me where I’m from, I will loudly and proudly declare that Brisbane is my home – and forever will be. I will tell them to visit you, and that they shouldn’t just land here and drive down to the Gold Coast, never bothering to see your sights.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and for a very long time, Brisbane, I failed to recognise your completeness as a city. But for now, no more apologies: I have more of you to explore!

Love,

A 20-year-old girl, finally appreciating her hometown.

Cover by Stephen Brennan; inset by Zachary Staines