Yesterday I sat down in a little half-Australian, half-French cafe to write. Oui oui.
I have learned that Australia are doing this thing where they introduce French…ness, yes… Frenchness, into their food to create Australian “postmodern” cuisine.
There is no punchline to that discovery. Make of it what you will.
I ordered a banana milkshake, more likely contributing to an image of a 1960s American pre-modern Australian retro diner, but it’s my last week in Melbourne and I couldn’t possibly try to fit in now, after doing so well at alienating myself this far along.
In the postmodern cafe I overheard a woman rehearsing her play, using one of the waiters as her stand-in love interest.
The following dialogue is word for word:
“Why won’t you have sex with me?” “I can’t just get into bed with you” “Is it because of the chlamydia?” “I’m not a koala.” “I wish I had a sister so I could kiss her instead.” “I’m going to eat the cheesecake and then go to bed.”
Upon listening to the performance, sipping my incongruous milkshake, wondering whether to ask if I too could join in the Monday afternoon roleplay, perhaps introducing the koala as a real life character and not just the world’s most peculiar yet simultaneously illuminating metaphor, I realised no matter how many little cafes I visit, no matter how cheap the coffee is, no matter how many incredibly attractive notebooks there are in the excess of stationary shops down under, I could now never be a successful writer in Australia.*
The best was already written. The rest is silence.
So it is time to go home.
*I didn’t actually come to Australia with the aim of becoming a professional writer but when I drink postmodernist milkshakes I get really ambitious.
Yes. It is time to go home. Today is my last full day in Australia. Weeping.
I’m really struggling to come to terms with it. The goodbyes I have to make, the obscene amount of ice cream I must eat in 36 hours, to suffice until I hit Italy in July, the mental preparation for the “But you don’t look tanned at all” comments at home, not to mention all these thoughts and emotions being squeezed, manipulated and distorted under the looming threat of my upcoming 24 hour flight.
I don’t ask for much but please, please let this one not include Ebola.
I don’t know how to leave anywhere.
Sometimes my heart aches leaving Waitrose when I feel like I didn’t make the most of the 3 for 2 fresh soup deal with free olive ciabatta.
The last time I went away by myself for an extended period of time was when I lived with a family in Zaragoza as an au pair when I was 18. On my CV it built my confidence, improved my language skills and broadened my teaching methods. In reality the entire experience broke my spirit, like a tortured elephant, who is in Spain instead of Thailand, and who has to teach children of the devil and is left alone for days in a foreign house in the middle of nowhere while they go on a limitless number of trips to Northern Spain’s only Ikea.
That one was easy to leave, one might say. And in Waitrose, nine times out of ten I just go back in and get the soup. So I have nothing to go on here.
There is so much I am going to miss about Australia. I have had the most incredible time over here. I cannot believe how lucky I am to have shared this experience with some of my favourite people in the world, to have seen sights so spectacular I feel positively immortal in their presence until I trip on a seagull, to have eaten sushi and ice cream and pay what you want vegetarian food to my heart’s content. Every time I look back over the times I’ve had in this country my heart bursts with happiness, immediate nostalgia and anticipated withdrawal.
In reaction, I started thinking of the ways in which I’ve wasted time in this trip. (To clarify, by “wasting time” I predominantly mean “time spent without an ice cream.”)
This morning, for instance, I remembered that I moult more than my labrador and should probably make sure I haven’t blocked up the plughole in my best friend’s bathroom before I go.
Across the last two months I imagine at least one week of that time has been spent contemplating whether or not I should shave my legs that day. Or pluck my eyebrows.
I spent two months constantly forgetting to take the pill and then decided to come off it anyway. I spent way too much of my time wearing uncomfortable underwear. Or plaiting my hair and then replaiting it, like a dirty Rapunzel. Or wandering up and down streets failing to make decisions in every way and/or thinking about Thai food.
Or sitting in a postmodern cafe listening to a lady rehearse that play.
No wonder it’s gone so quickly.
Today I saw an advert on a billboard that said “Woolworths in Australia. Proud makers of the world’s first anti-viral condom.”
No wonder my blogs haven’t gone viral. The whole country’s protected.
Not to mention, how do I even begin to compete with that? I can barely make a decision, let alone make an anti-viral condom.
Again. Time to go home.
So I have made a pact with myself. That if I make it through this plane journey I am going to smash life on the other side. I am coming home to write more. To write better. To work. To do some brand new shows with brilliant people. To hit Edinburgh in style. To save for my Europe road trip with Eduardo. To cherish him, my friends and my family. To cuddle my beloved dog. To sort out my anxiety once and for all. To improve my quality of life significantly so that I get what I want from London this time. To turn 25 and feel pretty good about it.
I am bringing a little toy echidna home with me so I remember that if a small, spiky creature with a disproportionately long nose can dare to cross the road in this country (green man means NOTHING here) then I can do pretty much anything.
Today, now I’ve written this, and once I’ve decided whether or not to shave my legs, I am going to spend my last day revisiting some of my favourite Melbourne spots as a lady of leisure – on my list are the Royal Botanic Gardens, Southbank, and the Laneways, before the last Queen Vic night market of the summer, for vintage browsing with my favourite twosome and lots of definitely-not-postmodern-thank-goodness street food. All good things…
I will be writing another post with the actual highlights of my trip with photos up to and including the day the seal broke my phone very soon!
Much love and thank you for reading xx