It's the morning of Australia Day and the air in my neighbourhood smells distinctly like burning. It makes me wrinkle up my nose but I'm sure other people associate the scent with barbeques. I hope it makes them smile.
I was disgusted the other day to realise that I have unwittingly accrued a slight tan this summer. How I did that I can't be sure but it's disappointing nonetheless. Thank goodness I'll be in England soon enough where, try as it might, the weather can't affect people's skin. Only their moods. Last night my neighbour talked to me about how when he was in England people went to the pub at lunchtime during winter in order to offset the boredom and loneliness they felt walking home from work in the dark later in the day. I wondered if he knew that I see so many people in the city doing that all the time while the sun still shines brightly overhead for the entire day and most of the night. What's our excuse?
I want to feel patriotic but it is a feeling I'm not entirely familiar with. The things I am proud of in this country are present in basically every other culture in the world, somewhere, and that's what I focus on when I think about things in this world that are beautiful and worth celebrating and fighting for. That being said, I am thankful for a country that gives me public holidays on which I can sleep in and catch up on reading and thinking and cooking. And I am thankful for a country that gives me the privileges I need in order to get organised for a long overseas trip. Right now I am mostly thankful for a country that is gracious enough to let me leave it and come back whenever I want.
I feel guilty for missing those who've left me so very much. I shouldn't want them back so badly, I should stop daydreaming about when they return. They will come back and I should be gracious and wish them well on their own adventures. They're travelling the world and discovering themselves and doesn't that sound like a familiar desire? And yet I count the seconds until they're back with me and I can claim them as my person, my friend. Don't cling so hard, Hannah, or they just might squeeze through the gaps in your fingers like sand. I stare at their postcards, pinned up on my cubicle wall at work, and imagine them. They exist only in my mind right now and, hell, that is a crazy place. Come home, guys. Please? I need you to be real so I can hug you and- I promise- let you go.
Today is waffle day, I've decided. So I'm going to go and eat my feelings. Try not to miss me too much, 'kay?