Yesterday was my Dad’s 70th birthday. Happy birthday, Dad. My Dad is a kind, hard-working, fit and intelligent guy who can contribute on any topic and can always fit in dessert, no matter how much dinner has already gone down.
Originally we’d planned to celebrate his birthday when they were in Austria earlier this year. Secretly I was entertaining the idea of being in Australia for it. Obviously neither of those things happened. Instead, we had a group Whatsapp call with the family, a mess of technical difficulties and waving kids and laughing and catching up. My mum and I both had a cake and candles to sing happy birthday – and my brother was coincidentally on his way to a birthday party. It was lots of fun. It was also a little bit heartbreaking.
We’re pretty settled here in Austria – we own a house, I have a passable grasp on the language, and I don’t have much to complain about. But never say never. Because moving back to Oz is always a possibility. So here’s my top ten things I will miss about my life here if or when I move back to Australia.
I’m originally from Melbourne, Australia. If you haven’t heard, Victoria (the state where Melbourne is located), is currently in the middle of a pretty serious lockdown. This was even reported in Austrian news, which means, it’s huge. Melbourne is now in week 4 of a six week planned lockdown, but from the numbers it seems like they’re going to be stuck in there longer.
In a world without COVID-19, this past week would have been very different. On Thursday afternoon, a picture-perfect summer day, I would have picked my parents up and delivered them to our house for their (almost) yearly sojourn to Austria.
There would have been lots of hugs and probably a few tears. We might have had a BBQ on the back terrace, listening about how their trip had gone so far – a cruise from Prague to Berlin – possibly they would have had to deal with colds or other difficulties, but they would be in good spirits because they had finally arrived in Austria.
During our recent trip to Australia, hubby suggested we take some time out for ourselves to see a little bit of the country. When you use up a big holiday period to visit home, it’s often hard to see it as a holiday, as opposed to hopping between the same places and people each time.
The place that came to mind instantly (remembering that we have to be practical, we can’t venture too far from Melbourne), was Halls Gap, a place where I used to go camping with the family as a kid.
When I first moved to Austria my parents considered visiting, weighing up cost with long flight time and seeing their daughter. My dad thought it would be nice to make a trip each year and do some travelling along the way, my mum preferred to make the journey only every second year.
A lot of people like to brag about their claim to fame. Maybe their uncle once dated Claudia Schiffer… maybe their great-grandfather invented the cuckoo clock… perhaps a distant cousin on their mother’s side was in the team of scientists who discovered penicillin… whatever is is, you go ahead and brag about it.
Australia Day has different meanings for different people. For indigenous Australians it has always been steeped in unpleasantness, but that’s not what I’m here to discuss. I’m here to tell you that Australia Day for me was never about the arrival or subsequent invasion of the British. For me, Australia Day has, at least from when I was a teenager, been about the Hottest 100.
None of which, by the way, I saw on my recent trip to Australia.
I hadn’t meant to go back to Oz at the end of the year, but with hubby’s new job, I suddenly found myself a-flush with more leave than him, and we decided it was a good chance for me to take the trip on my own.
So off I tripped… for a whole month… just cause I could.