After a unfathomably long, but so short time abroad, it was time for me to begin the journey home. The long, long journey from the America to Australia. Mum, David and I left sparkling Vegas and took a short plane ride to L.A. We had a 7 hour layover at LAX because Delta seemed to think it was fine to change out flights to a later time even though we had paid extra for the earlier ones. Instead of sitting, bored at the airport, we took a taxi to Santa Monica. Mum has a particular fondness for Santa Monica, and I can see why. It’s got a beautiful beach, colourful pier, great shopping and a fun atmosphere. The issue was, whilst sitting in the cab, the meter just kept ticking. What the internet predicted would be a $16 fare turned into $30. But, the holiday was nearly over and it would be (nearly) the last time we felt robbed by a taxi. We lugged our carry on luggage down to the beach and and breathed in the sea air. It was so thick and full of oxygen compared to Canada and Vail. My lungs were very happy. We were there to watch the sunset over the ocean, which never seems to get less beautiful.
We went to the exercise/playground area which was apparently the birthplace of the fitness revolution and had fun swinging into the Californian sunset.
Out brief time in Santa Monica was filled with swings, crepes and shopping. Our plane departed at 10:45pm, and so at about 7.45pm we started looking for a taxi back to the airport. The one we happened to stumble upon turned out to be some fancy hybrid for rich Santa Monica people, and the meter went up much more quickly than we thought possible. We had no option to get out because the taxi went straight on the highway – and when you have a plane to catch walking is not the best idea. So as the meter surpassed the $40 mark we had no choice but to think we were helping the environment – well not helping, but damaging less.
On the very bright side, we got back to the airport with plenty of time to spare. I had been on many flights recently, but this would be the last for a while. Once in my little spot, my paid for space for the next 14 hours, I tried to make myself comfortable. I recommend never traveling on an aeroplane with a sore tailbone – it hurts. I am complaining, but the flight was fine. I watched several movies I’d been wanted to see. I couldn’t get to sleep, but after a few movies and walks around, the sun began to rise. It was a new day in Australia, and for the first time in 5 months, I would be there.
Our plane landed in Sydney at about 8am. As we were flying in I looked out at our incredibly blue sky and water. I had never noticed how blue it was before – but man, it’s beautiful.
We got off the plane and there were Australian accents everywhere. Not just other travelers, but the people behind counters and on loud speakers. I must say – they sound kind of funny.
Of all the airports I’ve been to, which if you know me is a lot, the customs at Sydney Kingsford Smith is the worst. The line is huge, and the list of what you have to throw out or declare is longer. I mean it makes sense, we are an island and I don’t want any more little pests like the cane toad to upset the ecosystem, but it’s not super-fun to line up.
Maybe the line only seemed so long because so many people I loved were at the other end of it. When I got through the gates I saw Mark, my Grandma and Grandpa and my Dad standing with welcome home balloons and ready for a hug. It was so great to see them all in the flesh again, pixelated Skype conversations have really got nothing on a hug.
Sydney was hot. Much to hot for my many layers and boots that I had to wear to make my bag lighter. Although the Summer is unseasonably cool for Sydney, it was still a lot hotter than in Canada!
I got home, and I mean really HOME and saw the house I grew up in. It looked so big, bright and clean through fresh, nostalgic eyes.
When I got inside Barry was waiting with a bunch of flowers each for Mum and I and Grandma had hung up more welcome home stuff. I visited my dog and my mouse, who both remembered me (or at least pretended to to spare my feelings). My studio was warm and inviting and my bed so fresh and comfortable. I LOVE holidays and travel. It is just amazing, but there is something very special about coming home.
For dinner we had a good Aussie salad with tomatoes and lettuce grown in the garden, avocado and a ripe juicy mango. Oh mango… the taste of Summer.
In the spirit of experiencing Summer, the next day we went to the beach. We drove down to Wollongong on the road a drive to uni every day on. My perception of time is strange. It feels paradoxically like no time has passed since I have left, and a lifetime has passed. It is surreal to think that I lived in another country and this whole familiar world went on without me, and now I’m back it’s just the same, but different. Anyway I’m sure I’ll wrap my head around it, I’m not really that egocentric. At the beach the sky and water were so blue. We had a summery-salad lunch at Diggies on the beach (where I had a quinoa salad – woo!)
So there it is. I’m back in Aus, and it’s mighty fun to look at through fresh eyes.