You’ve got to start from a place of malcontent for the love story to be good.
Find the unrelenting cheeriness insincere. Feel alienated by overegged introductions. When someone asks you if you love Australia, it’s a closed question. Get lost in a supermarket of unknown brands. Chocolate tastes weird.
How are lemon trees just the norm? Hear your accent parroted back to you. Lighten up, it’s all well-intentioned.
Cheap sushi. Laugh at the random slang. Begrudgingly find it endearing. Let it vindicate your ‘otherness’ despite so many similarities to home.
Go outside. Feel the honeycomb warmth of the sun. Write letters. Your friends squawk when they hear the exotic, mad, loud birds. Their birdsong echoes through your phone and outer space satellites. Imagine your friends’ reaction if they saw the tropical colours of them too.
Hours of solitude stretch out before you. Wait for people to wake up on the other side of the world. Buy a bike. Liberation from transport delays. Gently, oh so gently, take a hand off and signal.
How small all problems are when you look at the sky at Wilson’s Prom.
Feel a cool change cycling over the river. Buy British digestives (check the label) and share the elevator with four Asian people drinking bubble tea. Fold hot slices of cheesy pizza into mouth on a winter walk home from a bar.
No more small talk. Coffees become conspiratorial or confessionals. The cornflower blue Yarra punctuated by a single rower. Empty roads, empty beaches. Dad’s impressed by clean public toilets in every town.
Terracotta sunsets. Deeply crispy regulars roasting at the public swimming pool. Bats.
Australia is made from ingredients. Eucalyptus and lemon myrtle. The scent of cedar wood pine as it’s being sanded down for a neighbour’s fence. Sand that’s so white, it reflects the sun and never feels hot. Red rocks. Life on Mars. Life here, I’m falling for it.