Saturday, November 25, 2006

Home is...

I fly out of Melbourne later today. I hate this part of the trip. Last time I had to say goodbye and fly back to London, I was still crying when we touched down in Heathrow. By that stage, my eyes were so swollen and red and dry that I looked like one of those goldfish with the bulging eyes, but all bloodshot. People had stopped looking at me with pity and started covering their children's eyes and giving me horrified stares.

I have had such a lovely time catching up with friends and especially spending time hanging out with my family - I really am conflicted about going "home" to London. I think it is time to convince the Boyfriend to come out with me, pioneer-style, and start a new life in Melbourne. It is a great town, a little provincial to European eyes perhaps, but with pockets of interest if you take the time to search them out, and a fantastic live music scene. I miss the gum trees and the warbling of magpies. I miss the crazy up-and-down weather. Most of all I miss my family.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Oz Food Fest

Burger rings. Twisties. Two-minute noodles. Mint slice. Snack bars. Tim Tams. Barbeque shapes. Strawberries and Cream lollies. Dim Sims and potato cakes. Solo lemon ("light on the fizz, so you can slam it down fast" - bloody Australian, that). Choc Wedges. Freddo Frogs. Caramello Koalas. Fruit Tingles and Kool Fruits. Ahhh, Australian junk food, how good it makes me feel (in a warm and fuzzy nostalgic way) when I am eating it and how bad it makes me feel 20 minutes later.

Funny how I can't work up the same level of excitement about, say, Australian nectarines or bananas. Apparently I need some glaringly ugly packaging and a host of added E numbers to make my saliva glands start working properly.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Melbourne 1, England 0

Yay! I have been home for a few days now, settling in to life as the "missing daughter". It's great - everyone wants to spend time with me and no one will let me do any housework - but the best moment was finally going through the gates at Tullamarine airport after a hellish flight and being blinded by the beams from my mum and dad. The crying started in earnest at that point, and at the same time I could feel my face break into a massive smile, the kind that takes over your whole face.

First impressions of Melbourne - so quiet and so immaculately clean compared to London that it seems everyone has been scrubbing the streets in anticipation of my arrival. The air smelled so sweet I could have taken a bite. And everyone seems so friendly and forthright. It has actually come as a relief (surprisingly) to engage in that straight-talking aussie way, where people talk to you as if they have known you for years. Even the shop assistants are so friendly you feel like bringing them home for dinner.

Good old Melbourne has put on a brilliant show of weather - rainstorms, hail, ice-cold days which would rival London for bitterness. But I don't care - I have my family to keep me warm!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Dreaming of home...(or at least I would be, if I was sleeping)

I leave for Australia this Saturday morning... right now I am a nervous bundle of excitement and dread at the prospect of going home. Dread, because I have mixed feelings about continuing to live in the UK and I know two weeks is going to go by very quickly. Excitement, because I haven't seen most of my family for two long years. Or my little Pepper-dog.

I have been over here now for nearly four years. Last night, I was reading Clive James' autobiography (highly recommended, BTW) and he made a comment about how, if you have been away long enough, going home constitutes some kind of time travel. A hum of recognition went through me. I definitely feel as though I will be travelling back into my past, revisiting old friends (some from distant high school days) and going back to my old bed in my old room in my old family home, with my old parents taking care of me. Actually, that's a bit cheeky - my parents are incredibly young compared to most of my peers (my mum was merely 23 when she had me).

There was enough of a gap last time I went back (2 years ago), that when I looked at the books on my bookshelf and the CD's on my CD rack, I felt miles away from the girl who lugged her refridgerator-sized backpack to Tullamarine airport, crying helplessly all the way, and waved goodbye to her parents without knowing when she would see them again.

The combination of giddy excitement, stress about making arrangements, anticipation of emotional roller-coasters to come, as well as fear of coming back to the UK, has meant that I haven't slept for at least two months. I am currently a walking zombie, necking Fizzygoodmakefeelnice (ie. Berocca's) and stumbling through my days with only the hazy vision of a Qantas ticket keeping me going.

Roll on, Saturday.

Friday, November 03, 2006


I know in my last post I was despairing about global warming, but BRRR! It has been freezing here the last few nights! Our crappy old boiler was on the fritz again on the weekend, so we survived for 3 days and nights with no hot water and no heat. It was like camping, but even less fun, because at least with camping there is hot(ish) water to be had at the communal showers. At least camping, you are semi-warm for 10 minutes out of the day.

I think our gas bill is going to implode this Winter, because we are just beginning to become aware of the utter igloo-like freezingness of our top floor flat. I never understood that all the houses in London are huddled together and piled on top of one another - eureka! - in order to share as much communal heat as possible.

The bedroom and bathroom at one side of the flat are especially cold. The bathroom floor is particularly bracing first thing in the morning - "like an ice-rink" in the immortal words of the Boyfriend. The bed itself has become uncomfortably tomb-like, so that laying your head on the stone-cold pillow at night is eerily similar to laying your head on a marble slab. I feel like there should be an epitaph etched into the bedhead above us, saying "Here lie two poor souls who froze to death before their time".

I am currently petitioning our landlady for a new boiler. We already have plastic sheeting over the windows and vents. Plastic sheeting stuck up with sticky-tape. I would hate to use the phrase "trading on former glories", but it must said that the proud British Empire is certainly not what it used to be.
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