A box of Australia

Because my parents had to cancel their trip to Austria in June, and I never began planning a potential holiday to Australia, my mum announced that she was planning to send me a box of stuff in the mail. Originally I pushed back – Don’t be silly, postage from Australia is ridiculously expensive. Don’t waste your money. There’s nothing I really need. But she was adamant. Yes, it’s expensive, but it’s considerably cheaper than a flight. And she was right. I could see that it made her happy to do it, so I relented.

But after much discussion about the box, I realised that I was quite excited about its impending arrival… though I wasn’t holding my breath. I knew that postage was backed right up. My mum had posted a birthday card to my husband for his September birthday on the 2nd of the month… and it didn’t arrive till the 19th of October! Seems like that small envelope did more travelling than anyone else this year! However, apparently parcels are different. The box was passed over to Australia Post on the 28th of October, and astoundingly, took less than two weeks to arrive.

And when it did, I ripped it open, feeling like a child on her tenth birthday. My mum was right – it was a small box, and it didn’t really contain anything of note – some of it was stuff I’d left behind on the last trip, some of it I’d requested, and there were a few surprises – a couple of handmade facemasks, the yearly family calendar, some bathroom products I have trouble sourcing here and of course, the elephant ice blocks, which I’d forgotten about, but can’t wait to use (the water inside melts, but it doesn’t water down your drink, and best of all, there’s elephants in your drink).

It was a little bit of home come to me.

The funniest thing by far, and the thing which used up the rest of my time that day, was a small USB stick simply titled: BALLET CONCERTS. It turns out that my mum had gone through my old dancing concert videos, and copied all my dances onto a stick for me. If she’d told me she was doing it I probably would have told her she was wasting her time – but with it playing out in front of me I was buoyant, and mostly in hysterics. I cringed at the earlier years – that solo I did when my year 7 crush was sitting in the audience – how embarrassing! There was evidence of my pitiful attempts at ballet – pigeon toed to boot. And those costumes! Some of them were just tragic and some of them looked like we were wearing nothing at all!

Luckily I gave up ballet in my early teens, and focused on tap. As I watched myself grow older, I was at least grateful to notice that I improved, and even learnt how to smile onstage.

My mum has since announced that she’s going to prepare another box. She’s taken all my non-essential food requests (like more Tim Tams, hot English mustard, and Savoys to name a few) and that’ll keep me stocked until I can get back there, or someone can get here.

It’s going to be a weird Christmas, but that box has helped relieve some of the monotony and isolation that winter and lockdown has caused. So if I’m feeling low, at least I know I can kick back with a packet of Tim Tams and watch hours upon hours of my tragic dancing!

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