It’s always strange going back to Wollongong – I was born there and then spent 20 of the next 27 years of my life living there. I feel like I knew the city so well, all the secret back roads, where everything was and I would recognise people every time I was outside. But now, after nearly 5 years away from it, it feels so foreign. The roads are still the same but everything else is different. The town feels quieter, maybe the contrast of living on the edge of one of the busiest roads in Melbourne gives you some perspective… But the main thing for me is that I don’t seem to know anyone there any more. I walked down the main street expecting to see someone I recognised, a seemingly futile exercise. But thankfully, Graeme and Vanessa are an exception. In a roundabout kinda way, I’d probably met both of them before – Graeme is a brilliant cricketer and we’d no doubt played against each other in junior cricket and Vanessa played soccer for a team that were local rivals with the team that I coached. But I honestly don’t remember them and that’s unfortunately one of my weaknesses as a human – the inability to remember names or faces (maybe that’s why I seem to document people using my camera, it’s a surrogate for a bad memory).
But the six degrees of separation in Wollongong is always strong. You always know someone who knows someone who went to school with someone (and the driver of the beautiful car you’re in just so happens to be your old high school careers advisor). And that’s kinda how most of this wedding felt for me. People felt familiar and I felt like I was a local all over again and it’s kinda nice when that happens.