It’s been two years since I’ve set foot on Aussie soil and four since I moved away, so it has been a blessing indeed to have the opportunity to come home and see some friends and family. The primary reason behind my visit is to go to a wedding of two of the loveliest people I’ve ever had the good fortune to know. To that end, I have been spending the first part of my trip in Brisbane where coincidentally, quite a few friends, and my big brother, live which has meant that I’ve been able to catch up with quite a lot of people in one hit some of whom I’ve not seen since my last trip and some I’ve not seen since before I moved!
The first few days I was hosted by my oldest, and one of my best, friends and her lovely partner who spoiled me quite a lot. It’s been amazing to catch up properly and in person as opposed to the odd skype call here and there. Conveniently, the pair live around the corner from my big brother, which means that I have had the chance to see him a lot too and have been able to stay with him a bit as well. During the days I’ve been able to potter around, relax, chill out, meet people for lunch and generally just have some me time.
It feels great to be home and surrounded by people who I’ve known all or most of my life and I suddenly realise how much I am missing by being so far away. That closeness is hard to come by and easy to lose so I am feeling very humble that people are making so much effort to catch up.
There has also been a lot of time I’ve been on my own, due to people still having to go to work. I must say, in some ways I do like being by myself and it’s given me an opportunity to get over the jet lag, relax and enjoy the change of pace from London. I’ve been to Brisbane loads of times before but never have I actually looked at the city from the perspective of a tourist. So, on one of my days to myself and seeing as the weather has remained lovely, I took the bus into the city and spent the day meandering around, first stopping for coffee at Southbank where I also soaked up the rays and spent a few hours reading. I don’t like shopping, so didn’t spend too long in the city centre, but one thing of note was it was quite nice to be walking down a high street and not see every second shop closed. It seems the death of the high street is not so apparent here (yet), which is good.
Southbank is a long stretch running alongside the river with lots of green space, a fake beach where the kiddies can swim, a couple of cute restaurants and cafes and wide footpaths. I walked along and wandered about checking it all out for a while and then decided to see the Botanical Gardens while I had some time. It was nice to take a long stroll and collect my thoughts before wandering back to Southbank where I treated myself to a glass of wine and some seafood – I have missed Australian seafood!! It has all been very luxurious and relaxing and I have to say I quite like this holiday caper!
As much as I love travelling, it is usually pretty full on what with trying to get everywhere and see everything so it’s quite nice to be somewhere that I already know pretty well and have the base of someone’s house to stay in rather than a hostel/hotel room and not have to rush around. It’s a very different kind of holiday and I am absolutely loving it.
I am still enjoying the novelty of being back and being reminded of little things that make Australia feel like home, such as people always thanking the bus driver when they get off the bus, the hot days and epic afternoon or evening storms that seem to come out of nowhere, what it’s like to wear summer clothes and not feel weighed down by so many layers and a couple of other, inconsequential things. I am also being reminded of things I don’t miss though too, like green ant bites, mosquitoes, flies and bugs in general, as well as how much you need a car because everything is so spaced out (I miss my bike).