Five years ago today I arrived in Australia to start a new chapter in my life. I can't believe how quickly yet how slowly those five years have gone by. So much has happened; in fact I think the last five years here has been way more eventful than any given five years that I lived in the UK.
So many people (mainly Australian) ask me "do you like it here" and I feel the pressure to say "oh yeah I love it", as I assume that this is the answer they want to hear. The answer I would need to give would be way too long winded, so I just say something like "yeah most days".
For you see, I am a truthful gal and for me a more realistic answer is that I feel very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to live here, and that some days I do love it and some days I don't. Now, before anyone gets all defensive and wonders why I don't like it here all the time, I will make it clear that it's not that I don't like Australia, it's just that some days I don't like being a fish out of water or as Sting put it 'an alien in New York'. I am becoming less of an alien as time goes on; I've got used to saying 'alright' to people and them actually answering me "yes thanks" instead of "alright' straight back at me. (For, to me 'alright' is a greeting, much the same as 'hiya')
When the sun is shining and the sky is my favourite shade of blue I do indeed love being here. When I can drive for an hour and see my Mom instead of having to fly for 24 hours to see her, then yes indeed, I do love it. When I can take the dog to the beach after work and walk along a glorious beach with hardly anyone around, then hell yeah I do love being here.
But some days I long for Blighty. I just can't help it! Recently I wrote about how much I loved bonfire night. It's one tradition that I really miss as it was a tradition that made me me. Sure, I'm making new traditions but sometimes they seem harder to develop, maybe because they are new to me, and the fact that the nature of a tradition it is something that needs to be repeated regularly to become a tradition at all. Will I ever get used to Christmas being not cold and not dark at 4pm. Not on your nelly!
I read a blog this morning from ladybirdlikes and it took me straight back to England. It was a list of things i heart about summer and I felt the pang of homesickness for the tune of the ice cream van, the sound of English seagulls and a pint in a country pub beer garden. Homesickness is a weird thing, it seemingly comes from nowhere and it can be as fleeting as it can last for days.
All this homesickness malarkey aside, today I am grateful for all the things that I do love about Australia, and here are some of these things:
- the wide open spaces
- being able to see the horizon on all sides
- the beautiful red earth that reminds me of an INXS film clip
- the smell of eucalyptus trees on a hot day
- the arty-ness of Melbourne
- the fantastic Vegie Bar on Brunswick St (my favourite place to eat in the whole world)
- the fact that houses look so different (there are exceptions but in the main houses do look different)
- there is always something interesting to do on a Sunday
- the supermarkets don't close at 5pm on a Sunday
- there are great places to eat out, many of which are reasonably priced
- my family are here and I love being able to see them regularly
- houses tend to be bigger and more spacious
- the sound of cicadas in the evening
- having the beach so close (and a good beach at that!)
- being able to grow plants and trees that I previously could only wish for
- warm summer evenings with the smell of BBQ's in the air
- I feel safe in my home
- fewer people = fewer queues!
So for the last five full and full on years, I am grateful. I also feel such gratitude to have been given the opportunity to live my dream. Here's to the next five years, whatever they hold.