After residing in Europe for 18 months I was ready to come back to the big old sunburnt country I call home. As a patriotic Aussie, I proudly would tell people where I am from and be bombarded with proclamations about how lucky I was and funny things they love about Australians. What I hadn’t counted on was losing my Aussie-ness as I adopted the characteristics of the European people around me and it wasn’t until I landed back on Australian soil that I realised how much I’d changed. I had to rediscover my Australian self, which was both hilarious and somewhat daunting for those around me.
- You hesitate before pulling out onto the road because you can’t remember if the right side is right, or is left?
After mastering driving on the wrong (or I guess I should say right) side of the road and entering roundabouts completely backwards to what you’re used to, getting back to the left on Australian roads can be a shock to the system. You’ll find yourself triple checking which way the traffic goes and scaring the wits out of your passengers.
- You nearly choke at the price of food in cafes and restaurants
After buying coffee for as little as €2.50 everyday, coming home to Oz and paying up to $4.50 hurts your over-caffeinated soul just a little. Paying $15 for brunch absolutely crushes you when you used to be able to get your smashed avo fix for a measly 8€.
- Likewise with alcohol.
Gone are the days of the 12€ bottles of Jaegermeister. Thanks to the Aussie alcohol tax, your drinking habits are about to become a whole lot more expensive.
- You’re super cautious walking in the bush.
Despite growing up in the country where snakes and lizards were a part of life, after being away for months in a place where the worst thing you could find is a spider, it can be a little daunting to get back out into the great outdoors. After talking up how dangerous Aussie wildlife is to your new European pals, you start to believe the bullshit you have been feeding them this whole time and are overly cautious of stepping out into the scrub.
- You find the buzzing noise of flies literally the most annoying sound you’ve heard.
Imagine a summer without needing a fly swat on hand at all times. European countries lack the droning soundtrack of flies and mosquitoes that our wonderful country Down Under has during the warmer months. The serenity of a fly-free continent such as the Europe seems like a distant and quiet memory.
- You start picking up local catchphrases
Even if you turn on the most ocker Aussie accent when needed, you will find yourself parroting what your European friends say. ‘Yeah’ becomes ‘Ja’ and a ‘bogan’ can also be known as a ‘f***in’ knacker’. This does work in reverse and you will find yourself becoming a professor of the Australian language to your new friends. I’ve never been more proud than when my workmates started answering questions with ‘yeah nah yeah’.
- You’re appalled at the severely limited free WIFI in cafes.
What is this?! You want me to talk to my dining companion? And this NBN rubbish, it moves at a glacial pace compared to the superfast Internet in the Northern Hemisphere!
- You go out in the sun for more than 10 minutes and wonder how you got so damn sunburnt.
If there is one thing you don’t miss about Australia, it’s that big hole in the ozone layer that has the ability to roast you like a tomato within minutes. In saying that, you’re grateful for the huge range of quality fake tan that is available in Aussie shops, the European version still leaves you looking like a tandoori chicken.
- You wince walking outside with bare feet.
After being cushioned in winter boots for so long, protected from the frigid Euro winter weather, your baby-bum-soft feet can’t deal with the blistering hot sand or asphalt. Even wearing shoes inside doesn’t feel like total sacrilege anymore.
10. You’re offended when the security guard asks for your ID at the pub.
You haven’t even looked at your I.D for months, beer is like water for Europeans and if you look a smidge over 16 you’ll be grand for a pint.
11. You’re gobsmacked at the sunset.
While the polluted haze of the Northern Hemisphere made for mysterious and gloomy sunsets, the colourful, clear skies of Australia turn on a show nothing short of spectacular. While European countries have beautiful old architecture, there is nothing better than Australian nature – it truly is the most beautiful country in the world.
12. You’d forgotten what good coffee actually tastes like
No more running to Starbucks for a semi-decent caffeine hit. Deliciously strong coffee is synonymous with the Aussie café culture and you’re totally fine with becoming a coffee snob again.
No matter how long you’ve been away from home nothing beats the familiar accent of the flight attendant as you arrive into Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport, nothing makes more sense than driving on the left side of the road and nothing feels as good as the sand between your toes on an Australian beach. It may take awhile to accustom yourself back to your Aussie self, but once you do, you realise why you will always call Australia home.
This post was originally published on Huffington Post Australia, you can see it HERE!!