It is New Years in Brisbane, it is 35 degrees Celsius and the humidity is killing me. I used to love this weather and it was never too hot for me. Nowadays I struggle with it.
Maybe it is menopause and hot flushes that is causing me to feel like a drowned cat all the times. What ever it is, I am more and more disliking summers in Australia. And that is an understatement.
The other day I was walking along the Brisbane river and had some kind of epiphany. Many people who live in Australia find it hard to believe that someone is thinking of leaving Australia. After all why would you want to leave a country where many things appear perfect.
Reasons why Australia is wonderful….
- The sky is blue most of the time and the weather allows outdoor activities all year round.
- There is lots of green even in the bigger cities – we live only 5 km from the city center of Brisbane but have a golf course, a forest and the river within walking distance.
- Food variety is abundant. Whether it is Vietnamese, Russian, Italian or Mexican, you can find it here.
- Empty spaces – where can you find an empty beach or find yourself by yourself in a National Park.
- Friendly people. Where does the bus driver get sad if you don’t greet him and thank him when leaving the bus?
I can go on for a while. There are many special things in this country and it is incredible beautiful. But you know what… I have had enough of it!
After 25 years having all of this, I am saturated with blue skies and friendly bus drivers and long for things that Australia does not have. The grass is always greener, they say…
A New Years Reflections
So here I am on New Years, typing this blog post in this tremendous heat. There is a breeze but it is warm. I sit here in my bathing suit and just hosed myself down with the garden hose. That makes it feel a bit more comfortable. The water from the hose was also warm. By the way, if you like to finish your shower with a splash of cold – not possible here!
Many people have pools here and it is not a luxury. When we moved to Brisbane, a friend told us that two things are essential here – a pool and air conditioning. My god, was she right!
I am sure I will miss many aspects of Australia. The subtropical storms in Queensland are spectacular and the sky seems bigger and seems to have more and different stars than the Northern hemisphere.
Australian things you can do without
What I won’t miss though are the insects – cock roaches, flies, spiders and the mozzies. I never forget my most horrible encounter with a cockroach. Australian cockroaches are a different species than the German roach. The Australian version is big, incredibly fast and at times they fly.
To cut a long story short, we were having dinner, funny enough our first New Years, in a restaurant in Sydney with some friends in 1991. It was summer, windows were open and a cock roach flew in and landed in the back of my shirt. I jumped up and when I landed, I crushed the cock roach, that in the meantime had fallen out, with my bare foot. Not a good memory…
Many people fear snakes and sharks. In 25 years living in Australia I have only come across 3 snakes and we have spent a fair bit camping in the bush. There are heaps of snakes around but they are more afraid of us than we off them.
Australia does have 7 of the 10 most poisonous snakes in the world. It is bad luck if you get bitten by one the same as being in a plane crash.
The same goes for sharks. There are sharks everywhere, there are even bull sharks in the Brisbane river. The most beautiful beaches will have sharks – Bondi beach, Byron Bay and many more. Still shark attacks are relatively rare.
Don’t forget the jelly fish. There are several lethal ones in Australia. You can’t even swim in the ocean between November and April in the tropical areas. In Darwin you are unwise to swim in the sea unless you think you can out-run salt water crocodiles.
To summarise. Despite the many dangers, I love many things of Australia and will always have fond memories. And let’s be honest, the country is not disappearing from the earth. I can get my ‘dose’ of Down Under if I need to. I have permanent residency and can return to live in Australia if I need to for whatever reason. Keith is an Australian and so are our two daughters.
Things I miss……
However I am so looking forward to long and light days, dry heat, Dutch cheeses, cold Christmas, seasons, sitting outside without the eternal mozzie spray or mosquito coils. I am also looking forward to speak other languages – different ones than English.
I am looking forward to fly for an hour and and find myself in a different country, to be surrounded by another culture and language. And I am looking forward to get to know family better and friends from the past that I left behind.
I have already created a bit of a home in Europe. We bought a house in Limoux and I have spent a couple of times over a month there. I have met people there and made some friends with whom I am still in touch. So easy nowadays with mobile phones and computers.
So yes, considering my reflections on this New Years, I am keen on a new adventure. I am ready to leave this country. I will take many memories, even leave a daughter behind but that is life. Kids nowadays can end up anywhere. I got one French friend here who has three kids in three different countries.
So being one of the first countries in the world to reach New Years eve, I like to wish you all a wonderful start of a new year. 2017, may it be a better year for many I know, than 2016.