It’s been eight months since Ben and I packed up our lives, jammed all our worldly belongings into a couple of suitcases and migrated to the other side of the world. It took a lot of guts and it’s been a roller coaster of an adventure so far. Now that we’ve committed ourselves to remaining in Berlin for a little longer than we had initially planned, a visit home to Australia was in order.
Here are 10 things that I miss about home that I am absolutely going to indulge in whilst here in Australia for the next 17 days:
1. Our beloved family and friends. We miss these special people so much, living half a world away. They are the reason we came home and we are savouring every moment we have with them.
2. Melbourne breakfasts. Nowhere in the world quite does breakfast the way Melbourne does. My all time favourite spot to start the weekend right is at my favourite café in Collingwood, Bluebird Espresso. I’m a french toast girl all the way.
3. Collingwood coffee. Back when we lived here in Melbourne, Ben and I were coffee addicts simply because there was too much of the good stuff everywhere we turned. While I’m happy to say that I’m no longer addicted to coffee, I’m worried that I very well may fall victim again now that I’m in the coffee capital once more.
5. Sunshine. Ben and I are pretty certain that we have Vitamin D deficiencies (self-diagnosed of course) having battled through the cold, grey and dark winter months (read more here). My memory of the beautiful European summer seems only a dream now. The average sunshine hours over winter in Germany are merely 165 in total and, if I’m doing my sums correctly, that works out be a minuscule 1.83 hours of sunshine per day! Conversely, the lucky Australians on the other side of the world at this exact same time of year enjoy a whopping 737 or 8.18 hours per day. Ben and I are making it our mission to soak up as many rays as possible to rejuvenate and recharge.
6. The close proximity of the ocean. Being close to the beach is something that I’ve always known. Berlin isn’t anywhere near the ocean. In fact, the nearest coast is more than 200km away. True, we spent some glorious days in Barcelona last September and of course, how can I forget the spectacular Greek islands in July? But that all seems like a lifetime ago now and Ben and I are itching to take a trip down the coast as soon as we can. The Mornington Peninsula is looking mighty tempting right about now.
7. Fresh Australian produce. I miss the freshness, variety and quality of Australian ingredients and nowhere around the world compares in terms of the access we Australians have to this. In Berlin, the Ökowochenmärkte (eco-weekend markets) on Saturdays are one of the few places to buy quality produce. For Melbournians, there really are many more options in this regard.
8. No language barrier. Whilst my German is coming along slowly and I’m understanding more and more every day, I must admit that it’s a nice little break to be able to read, listen and understand everything at the moment!
9. Tap water. Although the tap water in Berlin is safe to drink, few Berliners actually drink from this source and instead much prefer the taste of bottled mineral water. Tap water in Berlin is high in mineral content but is also very chalky, leaving a white residue on the bottom of kettles and saucepans. Ben and I prefer to drink bottled water, figuring this kind of residue can’t be good over the long-term. In 2012 Germans spent 3 billion euros on bottled mineral water—hardly an environmentally friendly habit even if their recycling system is super effective.
10. Old haunts. Back when we lived in Fitzroy we loved our favourite old pubs: the Union Club Hotel and the Grace Darling. Weekend coffees at De Clieu or Proud Mary were ritualistic as was a lunch that involved an Italian meatball wrap at Brunswick Street Alimentari or a fresh Banh Mi at N. Lee Bakery on Smith Street and we would always enjoy the perfect dinner at Añada on Gertrude Street. Cravings for these Melbourne delights must be satisfied ASAP!