A year ago today, Rhiannon and I were sitting in the McDonalds on St Andrews Square. Backpacks at our feet, we shuffled our fries around on the tray and tried to pretend we weren't terrified.
"The Big Mac is much smaller in the UK."
"I guess everyone will be less fat than back home."
The next day we each purchased a mobile phone. I added Rhi's number to the Phone Book. She added mine to hers. And that was it. My gut rumbled with panic. Would I ever know anyone in this country and get their numbers in my phone? What if it's just us two for the next two years? What if we don't find a job? What if we can't find somewhere to live? What if I have to slink back to Oz and live with The Mothership?
These days my phone has a modest collection of numbers. I found a home, and not one but two jobs. Now I am cosy in Edinburgh and don't need McDonalds for a dose of (albeit evil) familiarity. We're doing alright.
Bazillions of Antipodeans head to the UK every year, so it's not like we're doing anything new — but I still can't believe we that we actually did it. I used to be so scared of things. There's so much I didn't do, opportunities I ignored, out of fear of looking stupid or being uncomfortable. I'd spend my day in a panic, nauseous at having to phone a client at work, or to walk into a shop and tell them my shoes were broken.
If you've spent any length of time being afraid or depressed or maybe even just plain blah, plonking your arse on the other side of the planet is a rockin thing to do. There's no bigger rush than doing something you never thought you were capable of doing. The more you push yourself the more you want to squeeze every drop out of your day. The people you wind up meeting, the wacky things you get to do — it's all so bloody addictive and makes you want to hump the planet in ecstasy for being such a fun and scary place to be.
I hate to be such a navel-gazing wanker, but after a year away I wanted to say something.