You know you're back in Australia when...
You know you are back in Australia living the Aussie life when you’ve had a 20cm wasp party inside your car, an ant bite your arm so hard you have welts and you’ve walked away from your car keys in public space like the Tube will automatically drive you home. Leaving London life is tough. You spend most of your time as an expat reminiscing over the stunning beauties of Australian living laughing at international friends when they call Aussies ‘hardcore’ and shrugging it off like its nothing but when you return Australia does like to let you know you are home.
Four weeks ago I arrived in Central Queensland, Australia after 2 years abroad living in London. With 10 days left on my passport I know it was the right thing to do besides I did fancy coming back to Aus as an Australian and not under my dual passport as a Briton. The land downunder knew how to greet me. 36 degrees and 85% humidity. BOOM! I’d just come from 2 degree, ice scraping weather in London. Somehow though I managed, I guess now it was appropriate to walk around in bikinis and lingerie all day because it was the only way to survive.
The first week back in my home country I experienced a heat wave. Outstanding! I was also pleasantly greeted by what Australia is known for…SUNSHINE! I remembered how a year before I had endured an almost 8 month winter of shitty, gloomy wet weather, just the kind to give anyone SADs upon the mention of it. With my last sport of sustained sunshine being California in September 2016 I forgot how brilliant happy weather is; how it improves your spirit. Admittedly I also forgot that famous saying…Australia, the sunburnt country.
Three days in Australia and three days of sustained bikini wearing, the sunburnt country had already branded my hide. I suddenly remembered how easy it is to wear clothing when you’re completely naked. Two years of gradually increased whiteness gone in literally 10 minutes…with sunscreen on. My ranga (red) hair highlighted instantly, my freckles distinct, my tan lines present. I kept referencing the last time I felt real heat in London one odd week in October when the city reached 33 degrees- a real heatwave for the UK (as opposed to the generous 22 degree heatwaves previously reported in the Metro). I love that the sunshine is sustained in Australia- in fact I got so excited about it I spent a lot of time outside celebrating like it was British Summertime minus the 11pm sunset.
It didn’t take long to remember just how hot Australia is. Four days in, fourth day at the beach, 10 minutes in the ocean without my sunglasses on and I received sunburn to my eyes! Holy hell! Its always hot but when your eyes have essentially lived in a dark room for 2 years it is so painful! Its easier to have the sunnies permanently attached to my face at all times!
As for the wildlife? Yes well I know about stingers (jellyfish), deadly creatures, and that Aussie essence of 'just get on with it' but it was admittedly different when you see your 4 year old niece and 2 year old nephew popping The Man of War (blue bottle jellyfish) on Shelly Beach and then going for a swim while you stand like a frightened tourist on the shore. I mean I knew Aussies did things like this because I’ve picked up jellyfish myself, hiked with brown and red belly black snakes alongside the walking trail but I never envisaged my toddler nephew so undisturbed by them. I was convinced in London that UK life hadn’t change how ‘hardcore’ I was. Boy was I wrong.
Two days later I was completing 3 HIIT workout sessions in my garage when a monstrous cockroach flew at my head! It would have been at least 10 centimetres long. I screamed, ‘what is this place I have decided to live in’. Ten seconds later I laughed, shook my head and said to myself out loud: ‘It is your home silly. You used to deal with this all the time, stop being soft, embrace it.’ Somehow these words comforted my scared self and I mustered up my old Aussie spirit that I wasn't required to use in London since dealing with household mice plagues. I was back!
It is now 6 months on since I left London and returned to Australia. There has been sunshine almost every day since I have returned. There have also been cyclones, a house flood (the lower floor of my parent’s home) and a winter that hasn’t dropped below 10 degrees more than once. I am now bracing for spring and summer and wondering what I am about to encounter. My body still doesn’t feel quite acclimisated to this heat but one thing is for sure, I don’t get bored of the stunning beaches, the bikini weather everyday and the ability to be in the outdoors. Not even the bugs deter me anymore but I will still admit sometimes when those sand flies are biting and the magpies are swooping (like right now) I seriously think about leaving Australia during spring for my own protection but could I really leave this beautiful little Island I currently call home? I think not.
Till next time,
PS: I left a few laughs for you below. See what you think.