Just last night, it hit. Suddenly, sneakily, with quite unexpected force. Right up in the sternum, like a sharp punch. I haven’t felt it at all this year. Instead, I have felt fond, lucky, safe in the knowledge it’s there, I can return to it whenever I want to. But I feel it now. Oh boy.
Even though, with my parents here, we hit several Christmas markets (Nürnberg … wow …) drank glühwein, wore big coats and thick scarves, warmed our bellies with bratwurst and mustard in brötchen … even though Christmas hasn’t happened yet, we haven’t cracked out the fondue, sung the carols … even though I promised myself that this Winter would be different, this Winter I would revel in all things wintry, I would survive and thrive, I would win … I am so ready for Australia.
I thought, at the rate I was going, I’d glide through this festive season and onto the plane, without so much as a nip of longing for the sunburnt country. I thought I was nailing this Winter. But last night, lying in bed, a Cruskit topped with a slice of Bega tasty cheese, wandered into my head and bam. Longing. Not homesickness, no, that’s too strong. Just that longing for something that is loved, that is understood and warm and familiar. And so, so close within reach.
Longing for sun and sand.
For juicy burgers (with beetroot and a fried egg.)
For colour and space and huge blue skies.
For birdsong and barbecues and bare feet. For swimming and salty skin and sunscreen.
For evening sun on the trees.
For excellent coffee, Thai and Indian curries, fish and chips, sushi, hell, I’d even go a meat pie with plenty of tomato sauce right now.
I know there is still Christmas to be had with my German family, and more wintry weather to rug up against, or provide an excuse to stay on the couch with a huge bowl of carbohydrates. I know there’s more magic to be found in this season, before we fly to the other hemisphere and skip out on the worst of it (February, see ya sucker).But the longing, it has started.
And, perhaps because here has become home enough to hold sickness for Australia at bay, this longing – it feels surprisingly good.