They say you don’t truly appreciate something until you don’t have it anymore. After living abroad for almost five years, I often find myself reminiscing about Canberra, and thinking about all the things I miss most about home.
So listen up Canberrans – here are some of the things that make our capital such a wonderful city to live in.
While I can live without the poisonous snakes disguised as sticks on the Mount Ainslie paths, and the furry spiders that creep from under the sun visor just as you enter a roundabout, the more cuddly and colourful wildlife is definitely at the top of my nostalgia-list. Hailing from the nation’s capital, where cockatoos shriek from the eucalypts and kangaroos bound across the suburban streets, I am a total wildlife snob. I am now living in Europe, where people leave seed out for the sparrows. Give me a warbling magpie over a dull sparrow any day (except perhaps in Spring – I never really nailed the whole pipecleaner-helmet look).
Coffee is coffee, right? Wrong! Only after leaving Australia did I fully appreciate our wonderful coffee culture down under, and realise that Canberra’s cafe scene is a gift for the taste buds of all caffeine enthusiasts. Try ordering a coffee in Germany and, I can assure you, it is bound to disappoint. Baristas are a very rare breed, with coffee typically dribbled from automated machines and finished with a dash of long-life milk. The lack of delicious coffee has meant I rarely spend money on caffeinated beverages – yes, I confess, I am also a coffee snob. While this has been of benefit to my bank account, it has also meant that a trip to Lonsdale Street is always at the top of my to-do-list when I visit home, to indulge in an assortment of patterned lattes, coconut flat whites, and hazelnut cappuccinos, and fill my keep cup ‘til my heart’s content (and beating very fast)!
There is a reason Australians are known for their outgoing and sociable attitudes – we really are a friendly bunch! Living in a foreign language country often leaves me feeling like I am in my own bubble, never fully understanding what is going on and being said around me. Coming home to Canberra is a real overload for the senses – not only can I understand everything that I hear, it also feels like people are approaching me from all angles. Whether it be an old highschool friend, the man walking his dog around Lake Burley Griffin, or the checkout-chick at the Ainslie IGA, everybody is always up for a chat!
Written by Lisa Stelling