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Writing: A Passion Lost and Found

It was through pursuing a life abroad that I rediscovered a long-lost hobby — writing. My rich experiences of expat life motivated me to revive my passion for the written word and reawaken a childhood dream that had been in hibernation.

As a little girl, I used to write novels — short stories written carefully on notepad paper, stapled between pieces of scrap cardboard, and completed with a hand-drawn barcode and price sticker. Mom would help me put the finishing touches on my creations, covering them in clear adhesive contact paper and smoothing out the trapped air bubbles with a ruler, the most stubborn ones treated to a sewing-needle from the craft box.

Titles included The Rabt and the Kek (a thrilling piece of fiction about a rabbit baking a cake), Wen is the Baby Jue? (inspired by the birth of my little sister, climaxing at a garage-sale where I attempt to sell her), and Pop-Out Letters (a compilation of authentic correspondence between me and my pen-pal, complete with real envelopes). I made three copies of the last one — there was no question that it would be a best-seller, and I needed to have a few in stock in preparation for the release date and ensuing wave of public demand.

Little Girl Gets a Game Boy

But then something happened that would change my life forever — I won a Nintendo Game Boy in a coloring competition. Not just any Game Boy — no — a pocket-color-Game Boy, kept safe in a huge brick-shaped case suspended proudly from the belt-loop on my jeans. As an 8-year-old swept up in the world of Mario Kart, Balloon Girl, and Tetris, it became difficult to find time to dedicate to my writing. The would-be-bestsellers were pushed to the back of my cupboard, where they lay gathering dust. My books — along with my passion for writing them — were forgotten.

It was only once I was in my twenties, my Game Boy days far behind me, that I rediscovered my love for pen and paper (or less romantically, my MacBook). Having finished university and lured by the excitement of Europe, I left behind the comforts of my Australian home to try my hand at living abroad — first in a chaotic share house in grungy East London, and then to a more neat and orderly existence in Munich.

A Long-Lost Passion Found Again

It was my experiences of living abroad that inspired me to pick up my pen (keyboard) again, writing about the many pleasures — and challenges — of expat life. Thirsty for opportunities to explore my long-lost hobby, I enrolled in a writing course, and joined a writers’ group in Munich, encouraged and motivated by the other fellow writers who I met, and inspired by the stories that they had to share.

Now working in content and communications, I am creeping slowly closer to my dream, fine-tuning my skills to put towards a novel. While I have accepted that Pop-Out Letters wasn’t quite Booker Prize material, I still live in hope — one day I might write a real-life novel with a real-life barcode, to be found in a real-life bookshop. With any luck, I might even need more than three copies.

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