Moving abroad to Berlin was a momentous life choice if ever there was one. The three years I spent abroad opened my eyes wide to new ways of living and being, challenging everything I’d grown up to believe. Moving away to the opposite side of the world was also the hardest thing I’ve ever done – it violently spat me out of every comfort zone I knew. I’ll be forever grateful for the experience of living overseas, but there came a point when I started to ache to return to Australia, to come home again. At the beginning of the year, we moved back home to Melbourne and, despite actually spending more time travelling than being home this year, man it feels good to be back. Why? You guys, Germany tires you out after a while! These 25 things make me ridiculously happy to be home.
Why I’m happy to be home in Australia:
1. Doing normal things like going to the bank or post office is not unpleasant anymore. I don’t go there always expecting there to be a problem.
2. I walk around the supermarket in awe. There is so much variety! I can get everything from Kewpie mayonnaise to Thai green curry paste from my local Coles up the road. I no longer have to hit up three or four stores to get the ingredients I need for dinner.
3. It’s a real challenge to find a bad coffee.
4. The air is so clean and clear down under. Even in the cities.
5. The sun is warm here even on the coldest winter days.
6. I’m greeted with a smile (yes, an actual smile!) when I walk into a shop and I’m made to feel like I’m welcome.
7. The variety of food is freaking amazing. Within 100 metres of my apartment alone, I can get seriously good Japanese, Vietnamese, American BBQ, Korean, Greek, French, Mexican, Italian food and more.
8. I don’t have to tip for crappy service anymore! (Okay, mostly I never tipped in Germany out of protest for bad service. You gotta earn it, people!)
9. Shops are open on Sundays.
10. Brunch is a thing.
11. I don’t have to send an official letter by snail mail to cancel a membership or service months ahead. A quick phone call, email, or hell, even Facebook message does the trick.
12. I don’t have to breathe in secondary smoke in bars anymore because, you know, that’s a health risk and illegal.
13. Our families and friends are all within 30 minutes drive of where we live.
14. I’m no longer being ripped off by exorbitantly overpriced, compulsory health insurance.
15. The proximity to the beach. The ocean just feels like home.
16. There is a tropical paradise like this within a couple of hours flight.
17. I understand all the mail I get in the post.
18. I don’t get calc buildup in my shower, washing machine, kettle, etc. anymore.
19. Shopping at the supermarket is no longer an intensely stressful experience. My groceries aren’t scanned and carelessly thrown down, most likely bruised, for me to pack myself (never fast enough).
20. Food is actually spicy again.
21. I don’t get yelled at for breaking the rules anymore, like crossing the lights before the little green man starts flashing.
22. The customer always comes first. Yep, that’s a thing again.
23. Queuing is an orderly process once again. Most Australians understand the process of lining up and waiting your turn.
24. There’s air-conditioning.
- Why I’m Leaving Berlin (And What it Means for the Future)
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- Expats Share: The Best Thing about Being an Expat