When I arrived in Australia for the first time in 18 months, I noticed a lot of things, the first being that Australian people are so friendly and easy-going! I was greeted with warm smiles everywhere I went. Even popping down to the supermarket was a delight! Every time I passed through the checkout, I found myself in the middle of a conversation, which would last right to the end of the transaction and finish with ‘Have a great day’. I had never realised that this relaxed attitude was a distinct part of our culture.
The next thing I noticed as I stepped foot onto Australian land was the smell of the air and the sound of the birds. It was all so fresh and light. So familiar. It was home. The deafening sounds of the cicadas in Summer; the smell of eucalypts along the river; strong sunshine that burns quickly; sandy beaches and endless ocean views; broad accents and smiles. All of these little things make up home.
As the trip progressed, I started to notice other familiarities, such as the Aussie lingo and all the shortened words that form our own unique language. Can you have a squiz at this before we shoot off? Do you wanna swing by this arvo for a cuppa? Just chuck a Ue-y, she’ll be right! These words are so caught up in our everyday speech that we hardly notice them. Every language has its own special quirks. That is just the way it works in Australia.
It was nice to travel on long, open roads again, through rolling green countryside, amongst gum forests and along the coast, where I could look out over the ocean and breath in the salty sea breeze. It was fun to roll the windows down and let the fresh air blast my face as the music pumped loudly on the stereo. It was nice to wander around in bare feet and feel the sand between the toes and the earth solid underfoot.
But what I had really missed was the food! Fresh mangoes and raspberries for breakfast, avocado on toast, endless supplies of Vegemite in the supermarkets, Tim Tams, Cherry Ripe chocolate bars, lamingtons, meat pies and tomato sauce, fish and chips at the beach, fresh sea food, barbecues in the back yard, cherry tomatoes ripe off the bush. The list goes on!
My little home corner in Australia really is a precious pocket of sunshine and magic. And now, as I wake up to dark mornings and cold German winters, the memories are covered in an extra-surreal golden glow. How on earth can Europe compete? Well…I am here for many reasons. And whilst this grey, dark Winter weather sometimes makes it hard to remember why, I am still extremely appreciative of the opportunity to work and travel around the European continent, full of history, culture, style and traditions. The world is such a big place that I must make the most of it. Nonetheless, I will be home again sometime soon and I’m looking forward to it already!
What do you love about your homeland?