If I had a dollar for every time someone has said, “You’re from Australia?! I’ve always wanted to go there!”, I would have no need to continue working for a living. It follows then, that people also want to know what we did when we visited, expecting stories of snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef and 4 wheel driving through the outback. While I love traveling and exploring new places, being an expat has changed how I travel, especially with limited time off work back in the US, so alas, I have no exciting stories to relate from this trip. I’m much more inclined to plonk myself down and just live with family for the time we have here. I do, however, have a myriad of small delights from every day we’ve been here so far. In no particular order:
- A proper, real hug from my mother. Skype helps, but it’s just not the same.
- Meeting new family members and hanging out with not-new ones.
- Chaneling my inner Keiren Perkins by swimming in the Sydney Olympic Aquatic Centre. So it was in the kids’ pool area with the river current thing…my story (and I’m sticking to it) is that at least one of those molecules of water might have been in the pool during the olympics.
- Passionfruit. Fresh ones. Oh, my my. I could sit and inhale their delicious scent and nectar for hours. They are like crack.
- Salty air and crashing wave sounds. There is nothing like those for ungluing work-stressed shoulders from around your ears.
- Shells washing back and forth in the ebb and flow of the waves at low tide.
- Surfers gliding poetically through curling waves. (One day I will try this, and I’m sure it will be anything but poetic, but I’m rapidly getting to the point of not caring.)
- Vegemite with a ton of melted butter on hot toast for breakfast.
- Seeing friends from years (decades!) past, and picking up from where we left off.
- Passionfruit flavoured Greek yogurt, with cream as the second ingredient. Milk fat is utterly delicious. Enough said.
- A proper cup of hot tea wherever you go, with no need to ask specifically for milk to put in it.
- Australian birds. Rainbow lorikeets, crimson rosellas, currawongs, magpies caroling complicated songs, and enormous flocks of raucous sulphur crested cockatoos.
- Winter dormant frangipani trees with a hint of spring growth.
- Crimson bottlebrush bushes in flower, and banksia trees with their Big Bad Banksia Man seed pods staring as you walk past.
- Pubs that are family friendly places to hang out and have a few drinks (even non-alcoholic ones), with zero inference that you are entirely wasting your productive time or looking for a bar fight.
- Finding my prom dress in the closet at Mum’s and finding it still fits…in all its 80s electric blue satin glory.
And we’re not even done yet. Still seven days to go.