First class – a glimpse into the high life

Flying first class

It’s one of those things we only dream about… flying first class. I’ve flown business before, with a free miles upgrade, but first was something that was probably never going to transpire. Yet when I flew to Australia recently, that’s exactly what happened.

We’d initially planned for business class. My back would not have survived 24 hours of economy, so booking something that allowed a fully reclinable seat was an imperative for me to even consider the journey.

The jump in price from economy to business is monstrous… the jump to first is still hard to swallow but comparatively not as hard. So we figured, with the extra benefits of first, why not take the leap. And if you’re going to do it, why not do it properly? So with some trepidation about my back, but a little spring in my step, I boarded an Emirates A380 for my 24 hours of luxury. Was it worth it, you ask? Well read on!

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Return to Oz

Safety Beach, Australia

Two years had passed since seeing my friends and family back in Oz… two years since I’d had the searing Aussie sun on my back, since experiencing the feeling of crispy summer-sun-dried grass on the soles of my feet… It’s not an eternity. It’s not impossible to endure. Not when I chose to live so far away.

But it had been a hard two years of lockdowns and back pain and then the joyful but also emotional news of pregnancy. And I yearned with every part of me to get home.

And so eventually, after changing my mind, and changing it back, I did just that.

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Goodbye dark days… hello Summer

Safety Beach, Australia

I’m usually a fairly optimistic person. But I have been a bit down lately, as many of you read in my recent blog posts. But I have to say a big thank you, to everyone that reached out to give me a bit of love and support, and reminded me that it is all going to be ok. Because it is going to be ok.

I was already feeling more positive… the sun was shining, the weather was warming up… and despite the fact that the world was still being super crazy, I was doing ok at letting go of things out of my control.

And then suddenly I found myself on a plane to Australia.

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One other big difference of living abroad

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

People are always asking me about the differences between living in Austria as opposed to Australia. I always reel off the big, easy ones – the culture, the language, the weather, the fact there’s no ocean and so on. Of course let’s not forget the quirkier ones like the fact that they tend to use foil instead of cling wrap and that you always have to pack your own groceries. If you haven’t already read it, check out my blog on the 25 differences between Austria and Australia.

But there is one other big thing. And it can’t be reconciled – it can’t be learnt, and it’s really hard to get used to. Because it’s the past. It’s the fact that the way I grew up versus the way the people around me grew up is completely different. I’m not saying that it’s bad. I’m just saying that it is.

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The world was always huge, but the pandemic has intensified the distance

Australia beach sunset

There are thousands of people all over the world who haven’t been able to get home and see loved ones during the pandemic. They’ve missed births, deaths, weddings, divorces and everything in between. It’s heartbreaking. But what it does demonstrate, is that even though we’ve all gotten used to the fact that the world does not seem so big, it’s still a bloody big world. I’m sad that I haven’t seen my friends and family back home for two years. But the thing is, this is kind of what I signed up for.

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Adapting

driving wrong side of road

When you move to a new country there’s a huge element of adaption that takes place. You might have to speak in a different language, drive on the other side of the road, buy more suitable clothes, or get used to new foods. Change is hard, which I think is why so many of us who move to new countries take things with us and do things the way we used to – even if it makes life more difficult sometimes.

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Oz international borders opening… really?

On the beach in Safety beach, Australia

The world is abuzz with the news that it’s actually going to happen… Australia is finally talking about opening its international borders. I’ve been hearing murmurings for a while, but when it hit globally the other day, a number of people got in touch to spread the love. It even made it to Austrian news, so you know it’s big.

Except I can’t help but feel a little bit cynical about the whole thing.

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What better to break lockdown boredom than an afternoon of cocktails?

Virtual cocktails

Stuck in the middle of a long, cold winter of lockdown (one of the few full winter’s I’ve endured in Austria since arriving), one of my friends (a big thank you goes out to Larry) made a plan to get some of my other Aussie mates together for an online event to help brighten it a little. She’d told me that she was organising something but I didn’t find out it was cocktail making until a few days before.

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Feeling like a rock star – we all should sometimes

Dancing concert
My very first medal

There are moments in our lives where we feel like rock stars. When I was in kindergarten I took a newborn lamb for show-and-tell one day. My uncle owns a farm and in lambing season sometimes we’d get a few abandoned little-uns to take home and bottle feed until they were plump and ready to survive on their own. On that day, at age 4, I was a rock star.

I began dance classes a year later, and in my early to mid-20s I was still attending the same dance school. This dance school perfectly suited my ‘average’ dancing abilities. Unfortunately it’s not natural talent, but mechanical learning that means I have any rhythm as an adult. It wasn’t a terrible dancing school, it just wasn’t where professional dancers got their start. But that place was where I grew up. I loved the dancing. Sure, there were some not so fun parts: exams could be excruciatingly nerve racking, ditto the concerts where everyone was watching (though in reality, it was probably just my mum).

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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.

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