A Creative Nonfiction Story


by Olivia Hannan


Mum works for Indigo, telling people about the Kelvin Grove Urban Village development. She says, ‘Life just took me there’. But nothing happens by chance. You see, mum knows what it means to make a home.

Maybe it’s because when she was a child, her father’s job took them all over Australia. She’d been to 13 schools before she was 13.

Or maybe it was because her mother was an immigrant and kept her homeland, Italy, in her heart, despite living her whole life in Australia.

Or maybe it’s because my dad was a builder and she realized that bricks and mortar make a house, but care and detail and patience and continuity build a sense in individuals that stays with them forever.

I couldn’t wait to escape the stability mum created for my brothers and me—one house, one school, one family, one country.

Until, after years of living overseas, I took mum, as a 50th birthday present, to her mother’s homeland, and it was never so clear to me where mine was.

I thought I’d built myself a life in another country, but right then and there I realized that no matter how far and wide I travelled, or how cool or glamorous or fast or strange the city in which I lived was, there would never be anywhere as ‘me’, as where I came from.

So now I’m back in Brisbane. Back to the beginning. Studying at QUT’s Kelvin Grove campus. And sometimes, in between lectures, I pop down to the Information Centre for a cup of tea and a chat with mum, and I listen to her telling people about what it will be like to live in the village, and they love it. Because it’s not what she says. It’s how she says it. Who she is. Home is where the heart is.

About the Author

Olivia Hannan

Olivia Hannan is a creative writing student at QUT Kelvin Grove.



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