Living in London turned me into an excitable mix of a Darryl Kerrigan from The Castle, and a Japanese tourist. The full extent of this transformation became clear when my plane from London arrived at Melbourne Airport.
As we descended towards the runway, I felt like a Japanese tourist who had never seen wide open, empty space before. I was fascinated, mesmerised even, by the beauty of the flat, grassy paddocks that lined the runway. I felt compelled to get off the plane and race over to the green and brown plains. I wanted to roll around in the lush, green grass like I did as a child. I was overwhelmed by a desire to take my shoes off and feel the cool, soft greenery beneath my feet.
The fasten seatbelt sign, which was still lit, fortunately brought me out of my slightly manic, 24-hour flight-induced state, so I could exit the plane like a normal person.
But while the urge to make snow angels in the grass subsided, not even the queues at immigration, baggage collection and customs could wipe the happy-as-a-pig-in-mud smile from my face.
After a week had passed, I’d well and truly left my inner-tourist behind and felt more like Darryl.
For the first time ever, I embraced the peace and quiet of Albury-Wodonga, the self-proclaimed “regional city” on the NSW-Victorian border where my family lives.
Each morning I jumped out of bed, flung open the curtains and the window and thought to myself, ‘How’s the serenity?’
Waking up to the smell of gum trees and freshly mowed grass and the sound of kookaburras is truly refreshing and exhilarating when you have been away for so long. And it’s a far cry from the sirens, planes, buses and pollution that I woke up to in London for the best part of two years.
Sure enough though, it’s only a matter of time before you begin to miss London and its hectic lifestyle, and be longing for a new adventure. But in that precious time back at home, embrace your ‘newly discovered country’ loving ways.
Seeing the beauty of Australia through the eyes of a tourist, or the naivety and innocence of a Darryl Kerrigan, is just one of the many great lessons you learn from living overseas.