I just recently arrived back in Germany after a 2.5 week holiday in Australia spent visiting my family and friends (photos are coming!). It has been 3 years since I was last in Australia. Three years in which I have grown as a person and have been changed by living in a foreign country. Also it has been three years since I spent more than 3 days in an English speaking country. Therefore this visit gave me a lot of food for thought. As some of you know, I’m adverse to making set in stone plans for the future, but I’m not against thinking about the future and where I would be the happiest.
I expected to find some aspects about Australia hard to deal with, although some of these where unexpected. I most certainly did not expect to spend the first three days in Australia physically cringing when I heard the Australian accent. The broader it was, the more I cringed. I did expect to find prices expensive but not as expensive as they actually were for certain things. I also did not expect to feel such hatred against the current Australian government. I dislike them but I didn’t expect that I would be yelling at the radio or TV every single day. It was not good for my stress levels.
I missed my friends more than I realised. If I lived in my perfect world, I would relocate them all to Hamburg in a heartbeat. My friends can put my shit in perspective more quickly than anyone else I know and without them even realising that they are doing it. I really need to put more effort in staying in contact and sharing the mundane rather than just the ‘important’ stuff and only over Facebook. As much as I love Facebook for staying in contact with everyone, and it does a pretty good job at that, it doesn’t allow the depth of contact and sharing with my friends that I realised was missing.
From sitting down with my friends and sharing the mundane it made me realise that my life is not in Australia. At least not in the medium term. All of my friends are doing it tough in some way despite the vast majority of them being in well paying jobs and with no kids. Hearing what they need to either sacrifice or go through to make ends meet in Sydney made it clear to me that the quality of life I have in Germany is far superior to what I would have in Australia. I knew that on some level but my time there really drove it home. I came back to Germany totally assured that my life is here for the foreseeable future.
That said I do need to go back to Australia more regularly. Three years between visits is really too long. I’m not sure my bank account could handle yearly visits, but I think every two years is do-able. I have such wonderful and amazing people there that I want to keep in my life for as long as possible. I can’t expect that they can visit Europe so whilst I can afford to travel to Australia every couple of years I need to do that.
I also need to bring some balance between what I see as my Australian self and my living in Germany self. This point is hard to verbalise but I need to have touchstones to my home culture in my daily life to keep me balanced and not feeling so disconnected. By the same token I need to keep putting down more roots here in Hamburg and becoming more integrated. This is not something that is going to happen overnight, but it is something I need to keep actively working on rather than becoming complacent about it. I have incredible people in my life here and I need to keep working on those relationships and strengthening them.
My trip back home was really important to help solidify some of the thoughts that have been swirling around my head for some time and making things seem clearer. I feel I am on steadier ground than I was before I left. Every so often I need a jolt to make me realise the things that are important to me and this trip did that.