Returning to Australia three weeks ago was quite something.

The first thing that stroke me as I stepped outside was the smell. The magnificent, warm, flowery smell out there. I travelled back in time 11 years and a flow of wonderful memories (evening walks, conversations, sensations) joyfully came back to me. I was walking around with the biggest, stupidest smile on my face. Doppy french girl!

On the day I left Sydney, 11 years ago, I was devastated. My poor friend Rob who drove me to the airport had to helplessly witness me cry my eyes out for the whole journey. Not only had I fallen head over heels in love but it was breaking my heart to leave this unexpected haven where life was sweet, safe and fun. Maybe it’s the fact that this country is almost as big as the US but with a population of only 20 million people but I felt a sense of possibilities that I had never felt before. And almost a feeling of eternity that’s very hard to describe. Australia is so far from the world that it seems out of time. The absence of history (well, not as such because the history of Australia is fascinating, but the absence of oldness, in a much more obvious way than the US) makes you feel brand new and free. Living near the Ocean also had an incredible soothing quality and I knew that lifestyle had changed me and made me a happier person. It was really ridiculously hard to go.

But you know me, right?

I made a solemn promise to myself that I would be back. I didn’t know where or when, but I swore I wasn’t done with the dream and that I would get to smell frangipanny trees again.

So it’s hard to explain the overwhelming joy I felt as I set foot here again. I was strangely amazed that it was still there. Nothing much had changed and the haven had always been there for me to come back to.

Oh and there is something very special about keeping one’s promises to oneself.


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