Pretty much everyone can agree there's no place like home. Some of us spend our entire childhood in one place (heck, some of us spend our whole lives in one place). We grow accustomed to the food, the people and the lingo. While I'm sure everyone misses their "home" just as much as I do, I think any Australian who has traveled overseas can agree there really is no place like our home. My country may be strange, but it wasn't until I left that I realized what I had been taking for granted.
For those who have never ventured down under… here's what you're missing out on:
1. Smashed Avo
Oh, my love… how I miss you so dearly. I miss how easy it was to find you back home – you were number one on any café menu, usually preceding "eggs your way." I miss how you so delicately meshed with fetta and a squeeze of lemon to create that smooth tang. You are fresh, you are pure, and you are delicious… and yet, you don't exist here. It's not even like I can make you myself. Avocados in Tuscaloosa simply aren't avocados. Unless you're willing to fork out $6 a pop at Fresh Market for something more genuine, you'll have to settle for rock hard, crunchy, small green balls that most certainly cannot be "smashed."
2. Summer days spent at the beach
I know what you're thinking… "But there are beaches in America, Jade."
NO. Just no. NOTHING will compare to an Aussie beach.
I don't mean the big, commercialized ones with tanned lifeguards, tourists and screaming kids running around (please refer to Australia's most iconic TV show "Bondi Rescue" if you are unaware of what I'm talking about). I mean the beautiful little beaches you stumble across with your bestie on your day off. The more untouched, the better. There's nothing that screams Australian summer more to me than these hidden gems.
3. Listening to Aussie radio stations all day EVERY day
My drive to and from work each day was somehow bearable thanks to the national radio stations (I have one favourite in particular, and I'm sure my Aussie pals know exactly which one I'm talking about… *cough cough*… Triple J). It's made by Aussies, for Aussies, and it's the perfect mix between talkback, music and current affairs. It's the only way I could possibly stay up to date through my HECTIC schedule at home. My limited — correction: non-existed — access to a car in Tuscaloosa, as well as a 16-hour time difference, makes these usual habits impossible to keep up. I can feel myself slowly wasting away without my daily fix… soon I'll be nothing but a shell of my former self.
4. My everything: Cadbury Chocolate
When I first mentioned to my housemates that I missed my favorite chocolate — Cadbury Dairy Milk — they thought I was deranged. "There's Cadbury chocolate here you fool!"
Once again, NO.
US Cadbury is a pathetic attempt at chocolate. I'm offended you thought for a second that it was even comparable to the real thing. Until you've tasted the smooth, milky goodness of UK/Aussie Cadbury, don't bother talking to me. Cadbury milk chocolate in the US is a fraud… do NOT trust it.
5. The feeling of equality between males and females
This one is a bit more serious, and something I've quietly noticed on a few occasions. While I'm sure both the US and Australia have similar levels of equal rights, I still feel strangely inferior as a female over here. Maybe it's just college culture and my luck in crossing paths with a few males who have a hilariously false sense of entitlement, but I still tend to feel pretty uncomfortable at parties and in bars/nightclubs. Even the whole, "I'll pay for everything because I'm the man here" situation sits funny with me. I don't enjoy being treated like I'm less capable than a male, like I'm worth less than a male, or like I need to act a certain way because I'm a female.
6. Unlimited access to live music
I'm such a fiend for a small, sweaty concert, and with Australia having its own bundle of incredible local artists, it's easy enough to catch one at an inner-city bar most weeks. In my opinion, the sweatier the crowd, the better. Nothing like the thrill of possibly having your teeth knocked out in a mosh pit! It's now been 76 days since attending a gig, and I can confidently say I'm not coping. I will always rate live music over a nightclub.
7. "G'Day, mate"
OK, so I don't think anyone has ever actually said this to me seriously, but I do miss that nasal Aussie twang. I didn't realize how strong and strange our accents were until I heard a fellow Aussie speak amongst a majority of Americans over here. We are so lazy with our pronunciation! I love it, I miss it, I crave to hear it again.
8. Fresh produce that I regretfully took advantage of for 20 years
I never, EVER thought I would want to voluntarily eat fruit and vegetables, but here we are — after eight weeks of fried chicken and Wendy's four-for-four deals, I think it's safe to say my body has been through enough. Sometimes I feel like I'm the social experiment for how much weight an Australian can gain in one trip to America. Someone PLEASE point me in the direction of some fresh produce.
In my final months in Australia, I road-tripped four hours through the Northern New South Wales countryside. It was 5 a.m., and I had a moment of nostalgia, or pre-conceived homesickness. I saw the sun rising, kangaroos on the side of the road, and green for as far as the eye can see. I knew that I would think back to that moment when I was most homesick and miss how great it felt to look outside the window and see land that is so undoubtedly Australian.
10. My family and friends
Duh! Look at them!