keep left.

Keep left. Two words that honestly make me shudder.

I’ve begun driving in Australia. It’s one of those things I owe to myself to embrace or I’ll surely lose my mind. It was one of those inevitable things. Driving in Nova Scotia has always been a favourite past time for me. A past time that liberated me to some extent and allowed me to free my mind. A past time that allowed me to explore my surroundings while enjoying the company of whoever was lucky enough to share the time with me. If I had a bad day at work, I could always look forward to getting in one of my vehicles and just letting the stresses of the day wear off before I got home. If I felt like running away, the option was there to get away, even for a few hours. It has never been about the destination or the journey as much as it has been about who I’ve spent the time with; alone or with a friend, much like this trip. It was always nice to have the option to just pack up and go whenever you wanted.

From a young age, I had a keen interest in vehicles. I could name just about every vehicle on the road by age three and kept that up through the rest of my life. I’ve always been the odd girl out who knew more about some cars than most guys did. I get more excited over a good set of tires than I do over a pair of shoes. I’d rather spend my money on gas and some extra things for my cars than on a designer watch or bag. I’m the girl who probably has a cooler car than the guy she’s dating, and that’s fine with me. I’d rather watch Top Gear than Sex And The City and that’s just how I like it.

It’s nice to get back behind the wheel again. Most of the driving here is city driving but even still, it’s nice. I like the freedom. Being at the mercy of public transit has honestly taken its toll on me over the past two months. I know I’m coming off as a diva (and that part is ever true…) but honestly, when you are used to something and you sacrifice it, it’s hard, no matter how long you’ve had it. It all comes back to where your comfort zone is and I’ve jumped out of mine completely the last few months. I’ve left my home country. I’ve left loved ones. I’ve left my job and my business. I’ve let my cars, my clothes, my house, my cats, everything. I have my days, much like today where I miss home. Today I wished I had one of my own vehicles here so it wouldn’t have taken me 26 minutes to find where I parked the car I’m driving because it doesn’t make any sounds when you hit the buttons on the remote – it just lights up. That doesn’t help when you are in a parking garage that has 4700 spaces. That’s what panic buttons on the remotes are for. I was panicing. I didn’t want to keep looking for the damn car, I hate shopping more than someone who casually says “I hate shopping” and comes out with a million things – I genuinely hate it. Get in. Get out and even better if you can get away without trying on something or having numerous people ask “did you find your size?” “no as a matter of fact, I just devoured a KFC popcorn chicken meal and I’m having a fat day so if you have a size for that, which I doubt highly that you do, I haven’t found my size – thanks for asking though.” Had I been home, I wouldn’t have had to shop for jeans and long sleeve shirts as I did today because I have heaps of them already. I wish I had been at home where it’s snowing rather than raining for days like in Brisbane – snow I can handle, rain, I cannot. I could have slept in my own bed. I could have actually hugged my family rather than individually FaceTime them, which as much as I love seeing them, it exhausts me to my very core because I have to explain things at least eight times to every person and assure them I’m not dying, starving, being eaten by possums, or getting an Australian accent. It’s a bonus when I don’t have to explain the time difference for the hundredth time.  (I’m sort of joking, I love you all but seriously, figure it out already.)

This has progressed into a rant quite quickly but I guess its mostly a public service announcement to tell those at home that no, this isn’t quite a vacation for me and yes I’m okay. I worked hard to get here and I continuously work hard to stay here. It didn’t just fall into my lap and I don’t wake up everyday on the beach, with a tan and hop around with kangaroos. I go to work like I would at home. I pay bills here and at home. I vacation on the weekends which is what I would do at home – its just a little cooler being in a different country but being away still has its hardships – hardships I accept in order to be here, hoping there is a fair tradeoff in the end.

Enough of the ranting though. The end of all this is that driving on the left hand side isn’t THE WORST, although I’m still pretty biased about the right side and won’t lie, I drove on the wrong side here twice when I started – oops! I’ll get used to it all in time. I am adapting to the ways of life here although I’ve had to give up things I love that aren’t quite the same here. I’ve given up potato chips because they aren’t the same – quite disappointing in fact. I am giving up ketchup because people look at me funny when I ask for an abundance of it. I’ve given up bacon for the most part because it doesn’t get as crispy as Canadian bacon. I don’t use my phone as much – only for Instagram and the odd thing because I don’t have many people I need to talk to. I’m adapting to how possum fights wake me up three times a week in the middle of the night, how fish and chips aren’t haddock but some other kind of fish, how wine is acceptable with any meal, or how friendly the Aussies are. All in all, I’m excited to say I’ll be home for a month, starting July 22nd (after a brief stay in Toronto before that to see Dave Matthews again) and heading to New York before heading back to Brisbane sometime in late August. I booked some weddings and I’m excited to book some of my favourite people in for family sessions while I’m home as well!

In the meantime, I am bringing snail mail back. For those of your reading this, please, if you love me, shoot me an email or message and get my mailing address or if you want a little love, let me know! I love receiving letters in the mail and promise to return them with lots of love, as always, from “Down Under.”

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