All told, we lived in Australia for three years and six weeks. Long enough to make lots of wonderful friends and to get used to the pace of life in Australia. Long enough to settle in and for it to feel like home.
Packing up our apartment
During our last couple of months, there was a long list of things we wanted to do One Last Time, many of them food-related.
|The day before we left, my friend Kelli came over to show us the true way to eat Vegemite—on toast with butter. I had to admit, it was much better than on crackers.|
|Gourmet desserts from High Tea with friends.|
|At a going away BBQ, we taught our friends about an American campfire tradition—s'mores.|
|Surfers at the beach, photo taken during a Girls' Weekend with friends|
|This possum posed for pictures for quite some time before deciding to scamper away.|
|A very grainy photo of 4 kangaroos, spotted on a hike on our last evening in Australia|
There is such as a think as 'reverse culture shock' and we definitely experienced it in our first few weeks back in the U.S. First off, we immediately noticed that there are a lot more people everywhere. There are 24 million people in Australia and 318 million in the United States. Now, the countries are roughly the same size but not quite, so another way to look at is that there are 8 people per square mile in Australia and 83 people per square mile in the United States. No wonder we were feeling claustrophic!
The other major difference that I didn't remember from three years ago is the feeling of being constantly marketed to. Everywhere we shop, people are trying to upsell us on discount memberships or trying to convince us to buy warranties and insurance on products (some of which only cost $10 to begin with). As soon as I updated my location on my social media accounts, I started seeing more ads.
Luckily, we had tons of family and friends waiting to welcome us back to the States. A few days after we arrived in Virginia, Drew's family threw us a lovely Welcome Home party. They supplied the food, drinks and games and we brought the Vegemite (which, not suprisingly, was unanimously voted as 'gross').
|My mom put this beautiful arrangement of flowers in my bedroom. |
(Also, she left me chocolates, which didn't last long enough for a photo op...)
|Peanut butter! The Aussies aren't as enamored of peanut butter as we are, so shortly after arriving, I had to indulge: peanut butter fro yo, with Reese's peanut butter cups and Reese's pieces and chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.|
|Lunch from The Cheese Shop, a favorite from our college days at William & Mary|
|Eastern Red-spotted newt|
|Tree-lined walkway at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens|
Our favorite beach in the U.S.
It's been an adjustment and I imagine it will continue to be so. We'll miss Australia for a long time and a little part of us will always be a little Aussie. Hopefully, there will be many trans-Pacific visits with our Aussie friends in the years to come.
I haven't decided yet what will happen with this blog, whether I'll continue to write here or retire it and move on to the next project. There are a few more posts I want to put up here before the end of the year though - about wombats and cork trees and maybe some tips for anyone moving to Australia. Then, I'll turn these words and photos into a lovely coffee table book as a keepsake for us to remember our adventures. Not that we'll forget anytime soon...