Things I miss about Australia

In June 2017, I moved to Scotland with my partner and our cat, for an adventure. Eight months later, I am in Canberra briefly, before we move back home permanently after an amazing time experiencing life in Edinburgh. When we first arrived in Scotland, my homesickness was like an ache in my stomach - tempering the excitement I felt at being in this new country. Even as I revelled in exploring and building a new, different life, I would be startled with images of Canberra, flickering views of familiarity, that would capture me while I was on the bus, or walking in the Pentlands, or staring at the vast mountains on Skye. Randomly, I would remember the Dickson shops carpark, or Haig park, or the driveway leading to the barn where I horse ride. For a moment, I would be transported home, and reminded of the things I missed.

I captured these moments in a running poem, called Things I miss about Australia. I feel like my thoughts gently moved from the frustrations of finding my feet in a new city, to realising what an impact a home country has on my sense of identity.

__

Gumtrees,

leaves filtering blue sky

Blue sky.

Supermarkets that call things the right names

Paper towel not kitchen towel

Pumpkin not squash

Why can I never find capsicums/peppers on self-serve checkout?

Horses

The horses I know

The no-one-cares-what-breed, school horses with their pricked ears

Their greedy snuffles at lunch

Their obliging natures and openness to each new human

The Aussie drawl

The sprawling a's and consumed t's

The use of ‘cunt’ as both slander and term of endearment

The ability to say 'no worries' like we mean it,

And only ask 'you alright?'

If there's cause that they may be otherwise

How listening to The Whitlams grabs my heart in a fist

The growing up, the changing,

the Australian years that made me

Crisp blue skies in spring

Canberra showing its beauty,

no thought of haters

That smell from Commonwealth Park that makes your senses flutter

And your skin tingle

Little ones

Nieces and nephew, their talcum powder smell

Their giving smiles and warm clutches

The way they make no sense

The way they need no justifications

Mum.

Let's be honest, I'm a mama's girl

The security of knowing she's there

The pleasure of catching up as friends

Of knowing her in this new way

The streetlights on wide avenues in Canberra

The way an Australian twilight lingers

The way the sun burns its way out of the sky

Red, and orange, and as bright as can be

My people.

The shared slang and known in-jokes

The drama of unburdening ourselves to each other

The brunches, lunches, coffees, dinners, walks, chats

The sense of knowing myself

The certainty of identity that only comes

in a home country and a home town

The wondering what so-and-so is up to

Safe in two degrees of separation

Home comforts

My car that works, without fail

My nice big salary with its regular fortnightly payments

My full wardrobe of clothes to choose from

Capitalist success, basically

The openness

The vastness of a sunburnt country

The way the horizon is in the distance, where it’s mean to be

Not shrouded in hills and stone and pavement.

The belonging

The strange pride in an Australian accent

The joy of using slang and having people actually understand it

That bubbling feeling of homecoming when the signs of Sydney airport come into view.

Home.