Not that Australia was showing its nicest face over the last couple of days. There was rain and hail and wind. Nevertheless there is one statement I can make: I love it here! I love Australia, its beaches, its rain forests, its mountains, its desserts and plains, the heat and cold, wind and sun. And I love the variety of people that made Australia their home.
It’s 12 years now that we disembarked the plane here in Melbourne. The three of us, tired, unsure, excited, not knowing how life in Down Under will pan out. Our little 3 year old in tow, who didn’t speak a word of English and had to leave his dog who was also his best buddy behind (he would follow us a couple of weeks later).
I still remember the first morning in our friends apartment. The wow moment when we saw the boats, the ocean and the city’s skyline. I remember the hustling around to get driver’s licenses, bank accounts and phones organized. I remember sitting down on a display sofa while shopping for furniture and barely being able to get back up again because exhaustion hit. Most of all I remember what a trouper our boy was. Doing all of this with us, while being super exhausted and not getting grumpy or impatient.
I remember when we finally moved into our apartment, assembling furniture (and having a good laugh while doing so) and the first night we spent there. We moved from a big house with a big backyard into an apartment with a balcony. I was worried that our son would struggle with it. But he was excited. Excited about having a balcony. Excited about the nearby park which was much bigger than our backyard was we left behind and about the beach that he claimed to be his.
We spent hours on that balcony. Hours of just watching the boats and the big container ships. And each time one of the big ships blew the horn he asked me if our things would be on this ship. If he finally would get his toys back.
We discovered the city together, found new friends and settled in. We grew roots here. Not only because of how beautiful this country is but also because of all the wonderful people we met along the way. All the new friendships that we were able to create over the past years mean so much to us. Family is not necessarily blood. Sometimes it has nothing to do if you are related or not. Sometimes it’s just about an experience that you share. A challenge that you overcome together or as simply as this: chemistry.
We celebrated our 12 Aussie-versary. I know we will celebrate our 13th and 14th and 15th. Because it’s an important day in our lives. This country and its people has adopted us. And we have adopted the country and the people too.