Everywhere I look on social media at the moment, I see posts for Autumn (or fall, depending on where you’re from). The orange leaves, the steaming mugs of hot chocolate and the grey, hazy skies fill me with nostalgia. Australia’s seasons are on reverse, so it feels like everyone else in the world is cosying into Autumn whilst we are welcoming the new beginning of Spring.
And don’t get me wrong, I love it here. Having the seasons flip has been fun to experience and I’m really looking forward to an Aussie summer where I can hit the beach and have a glass of wine watching dazzling sunsets on our balcony, but I can’t help feeling a twinge for home when I see these Autumnal posts.
I feel like I never really appreciated England when I was there. Of course I appreciated the people I knew there and my home, but as a country England was lost on me. When people would be proud of be from Yorkshire and gifts shops sold prints of scenic shots of the UK landscape, I didn’t get it. It didn’t feel like where I wanted to be or where I belonged so I couldn’t see anything good there. All I saw was the rain.
How naive I was.
It’s true what they say about never really appreciating what you have until it’s gone. The idea of being able to do something as silly as going shopping at the White Rose or going for a cocktail on Greek Street in Leeds gives me butterflies. Mundane, ordinary things like seeing a Co-op or eating a packet of crisps in a flavour that they don’t sell here make me smile wistfully. I know that whenever I go home, be it to visit or to move back, I will appreciate it all so, so much more.
I know that Brexit rages on and police cuts have meant a rise in crime and that schools and the NHS are disgustingly underfunded, but trust me when I say there is so much that makes Britain great. Even though we complain about the crappy weather, the cold and terrible trains, there’s beauty in British life.
There’s beauty in wearing a hat and scarf, in cuddling up on the sofa under a blanket, in the grey days, the days stood at the bus stop feeling the cold right through to your bones. There’s something wonderful about the way the birds sounds or the way you can leave the city and be at the countryside or the beach in next to no time. There’s something magical about walking out of your front door and being hit with a smell that can only be described as ‘cold’. There’s something special about being able to watch Love Actually year after year and it never once getting old.
England, I’m sorry I ever doubted you and I’m sorry you’re doubting yourself right now. You’re great, you really are.
Walkers crisps, BBQs once a year, dizzyingly high hopes every single World Cup, Waterstones, the festive menu at Costa, Ant and Dec, the smell of damp leaves, terrible soap operas, Stephen Fry, street lamps on at 4.30pm, comedy like nowhere else in the world… it sounds like home to me.