Living in the UK, it can be easy to take for granted all of the history, culture, architecture and more that is right on your doorstep. And although Australia has an interesting history of its own, sometimes you just crave a little Europe.
It started with moving to Broome. Although I had met a whole bunch of Europeans in Sydney, probably more so than Australians now that I think about it, I was enjoying Aussie life so much that I hadn’t spared much of a thought for home. Moving to Broome brought with it the retelling of old stories on my trips to Italy, South Tyrol, Belgium, Austria, Prague, France and more.
Sharing these stories with new people made me nostalgic for the trips I have taken. To make matters worse, I started reading ‘French Women Don’t Get Fat’. Although its technically a dieting book, which I didn’t realise at all, it’s also full of tidbits about French culture. I had also read ‘Lunch In Paris’, another food orientated book about expats en France, before I left Sydney. On top of all of that, Allie Pally (my BFF) recently took a trip to Amsterdam and Barcelona with our good friend Harriet. The photographs and beauty of these cities is making me crave travelling Europe more and more. I’ve seen quite a bit of it, but being in Australia really makes you realise, and appreciate, just how thick with culture the continent is. Every city has a history. Every country has a culture and language to dive into. And all of it is a short flight away from my home in North Wales.
I want to go eat all of the cheese. I want to eat Italian peaches again. I want to roam German Christmas markets and eat my body weight in Stollen Cake. (Now that I think about it, most of these are going to be nipped in the bud by my newly discovered dairy intolerance, but we’ll worry about that later.) I want to burn the soufflé in Paris a la Sabrina. I want to meet Mr Bradley and Irving in Rome and go on a whirlwind adventure for a day. I want to be Smitty! And, let’s face it, I want to be Audrey. I want to just eat and laugh and drink and see and experience and explore and share it all with new and old friends.
Aaaaaah. There’s so much to see and so many things to do. I can’t choose what I’ll do first. After Christmas I want to move to Melbourne and experience Australia’s Culture Capital, that’s for sure. Would I accept a writing/social media marketing job in Australia and settle down? That would be amazing, but what about Europe? What about becoming a teacher? Because training as a teacher means I can work and live in the US for up to three years and I can finally live the dream of San Francisco. But maybe writing would take me there. But only if I were successful. What about Hong Kong? Being a teacher there would be amazing and anyone who’s met me knows how much I love that place. How can I decide between creativity, spontaneity but possible corporate settings and helping others, changing lives and absolute set routine. How can these two people exist in one space?!
Nevertheless, I am more determined than ever to make the most of this proximity when I finally get back home. Regular weekend trips (perhaps starting with a few days in the Christmas Break) and a real appreciation of all of the culture that my passport allows me to soak up. I can’t imagine anything more satisfying to spend hard earned money on.
As some of you may know, I am a huge huge huge fan of the Stuff You Should Know podcasts and I implore you to check them out. Recently they did a ‘How the Berlin Wall worked?’ episode and this made me even more fascinated with European history. How ignorant I am to others cultures some times.
On top of all this, I have started teaching myself French. I have a lot of free time here so I thought why not. I’ve been wanting to do it for about 18 months and still haven’t managed one way or another. I am not a traditional learner so it’s a weird process that I’m not sure can be measured by outsiders but I’m feeling positive about it all the same.
Help me decide what to do? How can I be 23 and have only just narrowed down my options to two completely different paths in life? Do I have to choose, or can I have it all? If so, where do I sign up and how do I start working towards that.