The Other Side of the World
It was a beautiful morning in Sydney this morning, the sky so blue and the sun up before I was. God that felt good, to make a cup of tea early in the morning without having to crash around turning on lights and shivering. I did miss that, about Sydney, the longer days in winter, the season itself so much shorter, so much more livable. But you knew that, you knew I missed a lot about Sydney, it was the main reason we found ourselves driving to Frankfurt airport one month and two days ago, with the radio on and the boys in the back. You understood.
Winter is nearly over here, although I missed the first two months and everyone says they were freezing. Now it’s warm enough for open shoes, for tourists in the city to crack out their shorts and sandals. They’re probably European, marvelling that our Winter feels like their Summer. And what a wonderful thing that is, something, like being able to watch Midsomer Murders with Mum and Dad, that I am savouring every moment of, storing away to remember when the days are long and cold again and Mum and Dad aren’t around. The weather in Germany will start turning soon. That greenness will turn golden. Remember Piusallee in the Autumn time? Covered in red and gold, leaves the size of my head. I wonder what the park in Weiden will look like in the Autumn. The perfect setting for scarves and take away coffees, I suppose. I’ll see it next year. We can take a coffee from the Black Bean and sit under some red and gold.
I started my teaching course today and the bus driver called out to me on the trip this morning. He wanted to give me a brochure with all of my ticket options. I didn’t hear him, but a lovely guy got the brochure for me and handed it over. On the bus on the way home tonight, a passenger sat up the front and talked to the driver, called him mate, had a chat, thanked him profusely. I was the last one on the bus myself and moved up to the front seat to ask the driver a question. He answered and then asked how my day was, what I had done, what I did for a living. He told me a bit about his daughter before he turned his bus back into the depot and dropped me off. I thought about how silent and efficient my bus trips in Münster were, how there was a sign that said ‘DON’T talk to the bus driver!’ how everyone pretended not to see anyone else, pretended to be completely invisible, even when that woman got on board, screaming and crying because her child was hurt. Someone helped her, eventually, but the bus driver barely said a thing.
Those little things always make me happy to come from here, from a place that says ‘thanks mate’, from a place where bus drivers ask about your day and tell you about their daughter because there are a few minutes to spare and the bus is empty and two people sitting near enough to each other should have a conversation, should connect on a Monday evening.
I saw cockatoos today and I thought of you. Have you ever seen a cockatoo? Or does the word sound as funny to you as lorikeet or rosella or wonga pigeon? I thought about how I cannot wait to show you all the big, colourful parrots in the garden, cannot wait to see how you feel about being woken up by the laughter of kookaburras. I thought about taking you to Koala Park and getting one of those strange, furry things with their oily, grey coats, to dig his little claws into you for a photo. I thought about driving down south and seeing the kangaroos come out to feed at twilight. I thought about how I cannot wait to show you my country, give you context, make you understand even more than you already do.
So, one month and two days. 96 more days to go. We’re doing well. You’ve already managed to kill my sunflower plant and both basil pots found their way into the bin – something about small, white worms that were absolutely not your fault. But everything else in our little place seems to be okay. I miss it. You’re working hard to get out here, I’m working hard to lay the foundation for a longer, more permanent German life back there. We’re both working hard together, apart, for the same thing. We’re both on the other side of the world.
Isn’t it funny, the way things go sometimes?