A few weeks ago, to his great excitement, SG was gifted a book on Australia. The book came courtesy of his father, who places a great deal of value on knowing places he is visiting, if his clearing-out of the Weiden tourist information brochure stands is anything to go by. I don’t think anybody had cleared out the Weiden tourist information brochure stands since 1985. The woman with her bleached perm was bewildered.
Shortly after unwrapping his book and lovingly carting it to work, where he pored over it when he was supposed to be working, I received a series of messages stating facts about, primarily, New South Wales. Facts, I am not going to lie, I wasn’t aware of. Does anyone really know why the Harbour Bridge is painted the colour it is? I do, now. Soon a map followed with a possible driving route highlighted. Then the wild assertion he will definitely live in Australia (logistically, we still haven’t sorted that chestnut out) and a litany of reasons as to why Australia is superior to Germany, including but not limited to, better weather, better food, better lifestyle, better beaches.
To say that SG and I are excited about his impending visit is, quite obviously, a vast understatement. I am already beside myself at the thought of showing him what a really good Thai curry is all about, or seeing his face when he claps eyes on some of our beaches. I will make him watch Pa assemble the Christmas pavlova, hope he forgets my lacklustre attempt as he eats Nana’s real-deal Christmas pudding with brandy cream. I can’t wait for him to be surrounded by our funny little accent with its upward inflection and flat vowels, to have a crack at some Australian beer while turning the snags on the barbecue. I can already see us spending a warm evening, surrounded by friends, drinking white Australian wine with the Harbour Bridge glimmering in the background. He may pass out at the cost of living here, at the prices we pay for the privilege of beautiful surroundings, but he will pass out sated and awe-struck and that’s the main thing.
When you and your partner come from different countries, you truly appreciate the context your home country gives you, as a person. How much makes sense when you see someone operating in their comfort zone, in their hood, in the space and with the people they grew up with. Things snap into place, vision sharpens when you hear them speaking to people who share their accent, their nuances, their funny little idioms and bits of slang. When you see where and how and who by their value system, their world-view was shaped. I remember going up North for the first time with SG and how much clicked into place when I did. I remember meeting his family and friends for the first time and how he slid into the overall picture like a puzzle piece for whom there is always room. The last time we were up North, for Easter, he showed me where he and his friends used to play when they were little and owned the neighbourhood like only a gang of bike riding eight-year-olds can. Even more of him made sense after that trip, even more of him was clarified.
And so the idea of being able to show SG where I grew up, built cubbies, fell out of trees, raised millions of guinea pigs and spent summers, for him to meet people who talk like me, think like me, see the world like I do because they saw the same world growing up, makes me feel boundlessly excited. Excited for how much this means to our relationship, excited for how much it means to him and for how much it means to me.
So far, we have a few things planned. The Blue Mountains, the Hunter Valley, the Central Coast. Sydney and her suburbs and beaches will be well travelled. With Christmas, NYE, a wedding and a family beach trip keeping us in my home state for a lot of the time, we won’t get to the far flung places the rest of the world imagines when the word ‘Australia’ is mentioned. But I am hoping to get to Melbourne and maybe, weather permitting, a quick visit up North. But what I want to ask you all now is … where do you think we should go? What special places do you know of in this fine country that you think a German on his first trip down under, cannot miss? Or, what places do you want to see and read about on this here blog, as SG gets to see everything click into place?