Context & Clarification

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?

10 thoughts on “Context & Clarification

  1. Things I would do with an overseas guest are:

    A Manly ferry ride.
    A day at the beach
    The Rocks – for a slice of history
    Sydney Art Gallery – for a look at Australian art
    Dinner at one of the many restaurants on King St, Newtown. My recommendation is Dumpling King for the world’s most gorgeous dumplings.
    Yum Cha on a Sunday in Chinatown
    Trip to the Blue Mountains and a bush walk whilst there. Feel free to tell stories of Drop Bears and Hoop Snakes.
    Trip to the Vineyards up in the Hunter Valley. Don’t forget to stop at my home town of Newcastle on the way. Not only do we have a very large tower shaped like a penis, but our beaches are so much better than Sydney’s 🙂
    The Great Barrier Reef and Byron’s Bay- if you can get up north

    You guys are going to have a great time, regardless of what you do!

  2. I love this post. I was often bewildered when I saw my hubbie in the place where he grew up, but I treasure those memories and it really helps to understand his history.

    You will have a great time showing him around but don’t forget he’ll occasionally be overwhelmed. I’d go to Straddie (Stradbroke) or Fraser Island if you were going north, but really he’ll be dazzled by the beaches wherever they are.

  3. I just love your blogs. Amazing as usual! So excited for him to come and visit and for you to be tgether again! You have to visit the Reef! Angelo will organise a fantastic itinerary for both of you if you wanted to see the great Barrier Reef, Green Island and Cape Tribulation! Not being biased but it is a gorgeous place for not only Aussies but especially for tourists ! We’ll look after you and of couse, you have a place to stay! xo

  4. This post made me tear up with joy! I absolutely loved reading it. I did an exchange in Wollongong, Australia a few years ago and my partner came to visit me for the last few weeks – and I too had the pleasure of showing him around your MAGNIFICENT country! Of course I recommend taking your partner down to Wollongong – but that is just my personal bias 😉 I absolutely LOVED the markets in Kiama – and the blowhole too. Melbourne was my favourite place that I traveled to when in Australia – but I also really really loved Kangaroo Island, Barossa Valley (although Hunter Valley is also amazing and has some great places for wine tasting) and Tasmania. I only went to Cairns when I traveled North but I’ve heard really great things about Fraser Island and the Whitsundays. I think that no matter where you go or what you see together your partner will be BLOWN AWAY at the people/sights/food (Thai food..mmmm) and overall vibe of Australia. Can’t wait to keep reading and hear all about how your visit plays out!!

    So excited for you.

    W

  5. From my point of view, New South Wales (The beaches! Blue Mountains! Sydney!) is already a great place to show SG around – but it was the Outback which gave me a sense of Australia’s vastness. The red earth and the big NOTHING will give him a pretty good insight into not only the Australian continent, but (in my opinion) also the Australian soul.

    You will have a great time, Livvels! xxx

  6. So excited for you. Everything you write about is so true. It doesn’t even have to be your other half or someone from another culture. In London, we have so many migrants and travellers, it’s always interesting even when friends and family from abroad visit. It’s all about the context. Of course, being in their home context is just magic. Things really do make sense. Here’s to you and SG and your long-awaited journey of more discovery! I look forward to discovering more of the land of Oz with you 😛

  7. Brilliant ideas, all of you!
    @Meg, shall be working in Manly for the next little while, so a ferry ride will happen. Chinatown = sensational idea. Vineyards weekend booked, Blue Mountains definitely happening and I think a little drive up to Newcastle when we are staying on the Central Coast, might be in order.
    @Jojo, CANNOT WAIT for the Reef.
    @Wanderlust, Melbourne trip booked!
    @Tinka, the big red rock will have to wait for next time. I think Round 2 will entail the middle and the west!

    xxx

  8. If you can possibly make it to Tassie, come on down! We have the world’s best whisky, our seafood is better than Sydney’s and the beaches – checkout Wineglass Bay – are less crowded.

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