Today is a public holiday. A day away from the drudge of the day job. The reason for this extra day to sleep in and wallow in endless nothingness, no deadlines, no clients, Australia Day.
I was reflecting on my life as an Aussie. In 1986 I arrived from the UK with a lovely new husband, 18 month old baby, $2000, nowhere to live, no job and no idea how things would turn out. Madness? Undoubtedly. A mistake? Never.
Within two weeks we had jobs, and had put a down payment on a beaten up old three bedroom house and we felt like we owned the world. At last we were home owners. Our boy had a garden to run and play in and our work colleagues became fast friends, taking pity on two dumb 20 somethings fresh off the plane, giving us old stuff to furnish our new home.
As soon as we were able we became citizens. In the time we’ve been here we’ve moved all over and had another little Aussie to add to the population. Even when we were dirt poor and had to walk everywhere because we had no car, nearly lost it all and had to move into a half built house during the 90’s recession, I never regretted emigrating.
I loved having the headlights of my car sweep over our front garden in the bush and watching dozens of kangaroos leap for cover. Seeing a koala walk up the front drive of our rented unit as my little boy screamed teddy bear. Waking up early and walking down to Echo Point in the Blue Mountains to see the early morning fog in the valley below. Sitting cross legged on a concrete floor in a half built house we’d spent every spare minute for the last twelve months working on watching the IOC chairman announce the winner of the bid to host the 2000 Olympic Games was Sydney. Spending a week camping at the ocean and having miles and miles of empty beach to ourselves. Snorkeling on the Barrier Reef with tropical fish and sea turtles. Waking up in the morning to the laughing of Kookaburras in the trees at the end of the street. Inhaling the fresh scent of eucalyptus after a storm has cleaned the air.
I’ve traveled the world over and seen a lot of things but when push comes to shove, I’m glad the first plane flight I ever took was to bring me to the country I now call home. Even if it does mean I now have a funny nasal accent.
Happy Australia Day