It is the first day of Spring! As Google gleefully reminds us today, with its google-doodle. But I feel less enthusiastic than the multinational corporation.
For many years now I have struggled with the start of Spring, as many often struggle with the onset of Winter. It has less to do with the weather and more to do with the associations I have with that weather. In my early twenties I lived in Australia, I even did part of my undergrad degree there on a scholarship. It was an interesting and crazy time that was a major part of my formative years in some ways.
Whilst there I spent time with my Australian-based family (aunts and uncles), was in one of the worst relationships of my life (that I still have no idea what or how that even happened) and I made some friends – good friends, many of whom I have remained very close to and constantly miss. And despite my love of Winter (warm fires, big scarfs and hot chocolate), I loved the constant sunshine of my new home in Adelaide, and the freedom it gave. That freedom to be out and about, to meet for drinks in the evenings, to live a more outdoor lifestyle without the mud and rain of England, but with the edition of seemingly bizarre (and pretty awesome) wildlife.
I considered many years ago moving back to Australia, but staying sensible I knew that really the grass isn’t always greener – there were many things about Australia that weren’t for me – the bugs, the lack of rain, the politics, the casual racism. It’s not that I think the UK is necessarily any better, I just wasn’t blind to the things around me – I was not, and never have, seen Australia through rose-tinted glasses. Do I wish that I could go back more often? Absolutely, I miss the friends I made over there, some of whom remain my closest friends despite the distance.
So at the beginning of each year, with the onset of the first few sunny days as Winter draws to a close, I get meloncholy. I guess I get a little homesick for Adelaide, but moreover the sunshine reminds me of my friends and my life there and how much I miss it. Give me a few weeks and I will distract myself with the coming sunshine here, the BBQs, the beer gardens. But even so, I can never imagine a time when Spring, for me, doesn’t hold a saddness.