I’m loving life here in Austria… especially as it slowly but surely progresses from winter to summer. But there’s no doubt I’m extremely excited about a few weeks back in my homeland, amongst familiar sights and surroundings. So I thought as a farewell post before I head to the Land Downunder tomorrow, I’d list the top ten things I’m most looking forward to. Please note that this excludes things like catching up with family and friends and getting married, which are obvious ones.
1. My dog
This is the Captain. I got him when I was 23, as a sort of ‘congrats I got a real job’ gift to myself. I dutifully carted him around from sharehouse to sharehouse while I was living in Melbourne, having promised my folks I wouldn’t dump him with them when I moved out. But hauling a dog (and an old dog by now) on a long, scary flight to Europe and housing him in a second-story apartment… frankly I would rather he found a new home. Luckily my parents have agreed to keep him (for now anyway) and so I’m very much looking forward to morning walks on the beach, afternoon naps on the deck and evening cuddles watching TV.
2. Being on the beach
I love the beach, and it’s really lacking in Austria (read: non-existent). My folks live about 200m from the beach so I am really looking forward to running along it, swimming in it, eating fish’n’chips on it and watching the sun go down over it.
3. Eating things I miss
Pre-wedding diet? Not for this bride! I’m going to be busy eating all the things I miss: English muffins, crumpets, bacon, pasties, pies, salt-n-vinegar chips, cups of tea, cider, Tim Tams, roast lamb, Asian food, muesli, chicken parma, sausages, hot-jam donuts, caramel slice, big breakfasts… the list goes on.
4. Understanding everything
Not having to think and translate every single sign I see, every menu, every piece of junk mail! It’s going to be liberating to have three weeks where I can let my brain switch back to English.
5. Not studying
And on that note, I will not be studying German while I’m away this time. This is a real holiday, from everything! So sorry, Duolingo Owl, you’re going to be lonely for a few weeks.
6. Smalltalk with strangers
In a foreign country, with a foreign language, I just can’t do smalltalk. I can say hello, tell a shop assistant I’m just looking and I can pay for things. But smalltalk… doesn’t happen. I know I’m going to be a blabbermouth as soon as I walk into a retail shop, just because I can.
7. Being in my comfort zone
I understand you ‘only grow when you’re out of it’ but if you’re out of it for a long time, it can get quite tiring. I’m looking forward to a more relaxed lifestyle… not having to panic when a stranger talks to me, being able to read the packaging in the supermarket, knowing the location of the nearest sewing shop and not having to use a GPS to find everything.
8. Stocking up on supplies
Back onto food (but it’s very important)… I will be stocking up on all my favourite foods to bring back… namely tea bags, sweetened condensed milk, brown sugar, Tim Tams, Cadbury chocolate and jelly. I have a small carry-on suitcase I’m taking… that should do nicely.
9. Shopping with my mum
Mum’s just that one person that I can depend on to be happy to go shopping with me. Doesn’t matter if it’s for food or clothes or anything else, she’s happy to tag along, browse and she doesn’t get unhappy when I want to try something on, decide not to take it and then change my mind and have to walk all the way back to get it.
10. Really, finally going through my things
The first time I left, I packed my stuff as if I was going for three months, the second time, for a year, this time… basically anything I’m not taking with me will have to go. But it will be nice to not only declutter, but return to Austria with pretty much everything I own.
So, I’ll see you soon, Australia!