It all made sense to me as a I walked home from Netball Olivia’s impromptu Christmas get-together. I understood what these cold, snowy Northern Hemisphere holidays mean to me. And why people in parts of the world who experience warm Christmas days exhibit a nostalgia for the movies, the songs about sitting in front of the fire, rugged up with those you love; about bundling up and making snowmen in the fresh powder in the backyard; about sipping mulled wine and eating heavy meals, even though it contradicts our experience. I get it.
As I wandered home in the bitter cold, I came across homes that made me stop and admire all the effort, all the love that had gone into preparing them for the holiday season. Many of the stately brick homes and colourful timber-framed houses in Lincoln Park had some form of holiday decoration: wreaths decorating the front doors, coloured lights decorating the trimmed hedges, fir fronds and ribbons of red velvet decorating the stair railings and fences, and grand decorated Christmas trees lighting up the front windows. So lovely, so sentimental. People here care about traditions and about celebrating each other.
But it’s all about being outside in the cold, the snow, and turning your head towards the inviting homes, seeing the family Christmas tree in the window, the tinsel glistening in the street light. You yearn to be in there, celebrating with this imagined family, full of good humour, good food and an outpouring of love. I fight the urge to walk up the idyllic, snow-covered stairs of these homes in search of who these people, to discover what their lives are like and hear what their stories. But these are their moments, the memories they are building. And I feel like an outsider.
I aspire to be with those I love, those who know me and my back story. The semi-delirious conversations out on the sandy beaches with mates, the trips to the SCG to watch the cricket, the feeling you get when it’s 41 degrees outside and you feel as though you’re about to burst from the heat. The days spent doing whatever we want and regrouping for a family BBQ and free-flowing conversation.
Just so desperately homesick right now, and nothing is helping. But at least I know I’m not alone.