The Wizard of Oz
It’s almost two weeks post holiday, and I am FINALLY starting to feel a little more like myself again. The initial flight bloat (and not-so-initial holiday eating bloat) has almost diminished to non-existent, my thirsty skin has readjusted to the drier, harsher air and my feet have accepted, although begrudgingly, that they will again be exfoliated with a pumice stone in lieu of far more smile-inducing sand.
Australia, my fiancé and I’s first trip together, was monumental in many ways. Firstly, from Toronto, our jump off point, there is hardly any further place on the planet, or longer flight. Most couples jet a few hours south the the chill, calm Caribbean or stretch as far as fiesta-, fun-filled Mexico for a beach holiday, but hardly anything he and I do together is common or traditional, so this was rather fitting for us.
Despite the mega distance to the land down under, Australia is bewilderingly similar culturally to our Great White North country. Perhaps this made our trip together a smoother transition into daily life, in contrast to trying to adjust in a language barriered, currency complicated land. Somehow, my gut tells me if (when) we travelled somewhere more exotic, we still would have had the same ease and enjoyment of our surroundings, and best of all, each other.
Full disclosure: I was a little apprehensive and anxious about travelling with my better half. We get along swimmingly at home, to the point of sickening sweetness and constant swooning. But vacation, although supposedly stress free, relaxed fun, can sometimes drive a nail through a couples’ relationship and horror stories of fights, tears, slamming doors, and appallingly, cheating were reiterated to me by tales of once-happy couples.
Let me get this straight: I never, ever, EVER worried, even for a second, about my fiancé’s fidelity, but with my extensive travel experience, I agreed, with a lump in my throat, that an unknown environment can sometimes cause difficulties between friends, siblings, and partners. But something magic happened to us on our vacation. Something neither of us had expected, observed, or participated in before.
Despite the God-awful weather, full of grey skies, cold, windy rain and devoid of sunshine and bright sunny beach days, we fell even further, if humanly possible, in love. All of our loving qualities at home were amplified on the other side; the desire to please the other was taken to the extreme, each of us shoving suggestions at the other to evoke smiles, happiness.
And happy we were. The simplest of strolls thrilled me, elated to selfishly have him all to myself and free of everyday commitments, like work. His constant encouragement and willingness to ensure I got the most of the holiday (“You want that $8 homemade caramel slice? Have it, sweetheart! You know you’ll miss it at home.”) is part of the reason I still haven’t conquered my holiday bloat, and fully made me sure his insistence on putting me first (that $8 was his treat allowance) means I could never find happiness like this in another partner.
Ok, so enough gushing! We did get up to no good and have some fun, too. I mean, constant, down pouring rain makes anyone a little stir crazy. Sneaking into an A game hotel’s rooftop jacuzzi felt delightful; hot, chlorine-spiked bubbles danced alongside the cold rain, which pelted both our smug, thrilled faces and the water’s surface. Shopping partners in crime, we indulged in both internationally unique retail goodies and ice cream cones for sustenance. (Side note: for all those who don’t know – McDonalds, or Macca’s as it is affectionately called in Australia, sells its creamy soft serve perfection in a cone for a mere 30 cents! The only bargain you’ll find in Aus is a really good one!)
We also took an incredible, relaxing, blissfully dazed road trip for a few days up the coast to see some new scenery. Yes, right hand driving caused minor frustrations, most commonly brought on by multiple, whizzing roundabouts, but our end of holiday side trip truly solidified our bond and unbelievable ability and desire to spend time with one another. Long, life changing chats, mostly done on the road with my feet out the window, contrasted perfectly with silly, wine buzzed blabber ambling down the now familiar streets; the combination and comparatively different types of time spent together summed up the best two weeks of my life.
My only other fear apart from disagreements on our trip was post-holiday blues. Coming home to still frosty Toronto and the hard smack of real life days before you’re ready for it often leaves me feeling down. Luckily for me, I suffered neither a strained relationship nor a bummed demeanour upon return; he makes me supremely happy on every corner of the earth.