“So what will you miss most about living in Australia?” the oft-repeated question goes.
I pause, as a kaleidoscope of thoughts flash through my mind, stopping every so often to extract one and toss it into conversation.
In time, my answer to that question will no doubt become more considered, especially as I have the chance to make some real-life comparisons, but now as I enter my last 24 hours in Sydney, let me flip open the top of my head and let you have a peer around inside…
High blue skies, and I mean high; Sydney harbour from a ferry on a sunny day; the view of the gap from Watson’s Bay; The Sydney Morning Herald crossword (but not on Friday); playing football at Reg Bartley Oval on a Sunday morning; good coffee almost everywhere; meat pies at the football…or the cricket; the sight of jacaranda blooming in spring; the smell of star jasmine as the days get warmer; weekend holiday homes down the coast…or up the coast; watching the Swans win a close one; Live sport in large quantities on my doorstep; watching the start of the Sydney-Hobart from the cliff tops; bumping into ‘celebrities’ on the street or at the airport; Far North Queensland; a cold beer on a hot day; the view of the bridge from the Cahill Expressway; the quality of food; the Sydney Olympics – a golden time; the backstreets of Paddington; the typical Aussie friendliness; being able to call someone ‘mate’ to cover up that you don’t have a clue who they are; great golf courses close to the city centre; the strong Aussie dollar…especially now; a packed house at the SCG; proximity to NZ; a spirit of entrepreneurialism; picking up my wattle tree when I became a citizen along with just about every other nationality you could imagine…and above all else, a great set of friends.
I came to Australia as a young man. We have grown older together, me and this great nation. I have had good times here and some not so good times too. I met my wife here and my kids have been born here -all in all, it has treated me incredibly well over the years. I have been shaped by Australia and will return to the country of my birth as a better person all round.
As I begin the next chapter of my life, I’m sure my mind will often drift back to my time in Australia. But for now, it’s time to turn off the light, close the door one last time and head off into the future.
Australia. Thanks for the memories.