Grace's Great Voyage Down Under, Week 4: Mama's here!

In case you missed my 3 posts so far in this series, I'll reiterate the key point made in it: I am not a travel blogger. 

However, I really want to share some things about my recent travels. 

I’ve decided to write posts in the future about my trips to various Other Places – but not necessarily the way a seasoned traveller and blogger might. I’m just going to write about specific things, moments, and some will exist in a big compilation post while others may stand alone. For instance, if I had an especially magical dinner date, or discovered a secret spot nobody had told me about, or even just had a conversation with a native (of which I have already had many, in Australia!), then that might exist in its own post.

Glad we got that out of the way...for the 4th time. Now, let's look back at my 4th week, out here in the land Down Under. (whoa, that's like, a month?! Mad.)

Ordering our dishes off a tablet menu, on our table at the sushi place in the city. I insist we take a group selfie to send to Mama, so she can pick it up as she boards her flight to Dubai; we do, and Cousin #2 edits it so we all have animal ears or sparkles in our eyes. I try thin mini mushrooms and rincon chips. Both excellent. 


Our ride to the airport to collect Mama was a crazy one, to say the least. We set off slightly earlier than planned after hearing her flight would be landing at 5:45 - almost an hour early!? - but hadn't considered the congestion along the motorways, of which there was plenty. The red lines that run along the busier roads on Google Maps were ominous. 

At one point, the congestion up ahead made the 4x4 in front of us brake abruptly; Nana did the same, thankfully, but then we were rammed from behind. As the tiny Toyota Echo shook and we were thrown forward in our seats - belts straining just a little - Nana let out a stream of 'buggerbuggerbugger shitshitshit' while I sustained one long 'FFUUUUCCKKK!'

The accident, and temporary stop to get the other driver's details and assess the damage (minimal, but noticeable), put us a few more minutes behind schedule and we were so shaken up, we forgot to stop for petrol. This meant for the last 20 minutes before parking at the airport - as we frantically scanned the road signs and squealed hysterically as we went the wrong way around the roundabouts towards 'domestic', not 'international' - we were on edge, expecting the Echo to sputter and stop at any moment. But bless her, she pulled through. 


I get off my train, from the city back out to the shores and shopping centres of Southport, and walk along the platform slightly dazed. I've been reading all the way home; I've finally got properly into the novel I started on the plane from Dubai almost a month ago, and I am somewhat sad to leave its characters behind to return to real life. Being that taken with a book, that desperate to eat up every word, to put off going to sleep at night because I have one more chapter to get makes me want to write. 
Then my eyes finally adjust to the here and now. There's a bright yellow glow up ahead, and a denim blur - ah, Mama and Nana!


Going out with Michelle Gately in the city, having a hipster brunch and visiting all her Brisbane book shop recs (we can now say we've been book shopping on both sides of the world!). Taking photos, as I have in every book store I've been in out here thus far, of UKYA novels written by wonderful authors I consider friends, to then share excitedly on Twitter when I get home - then swapping novel recommendations with my lovely friend, both of us buying 2 new books each. Honestly, books and book lovers can always make me indescribably happy. 

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Turns out, eating vegan doughnuts (from Doughnut Time, Australia's finest doughnut chain in my humble opinion - and any vegan surely, I mean, they have 4 different vegan variations!? - and they're coming to London in 2018) gives me a mad sugar high that lasts hours one afternoon. I was hysterically laughing almost non-stop that day, to the point of screeching crying, and I danced down the aisles in the supermarket, singing along to Shania Twain. Never again.


They're playing obscure and kinda old pop songs in our favourite cafe at Ferry Road Market. I, of course, Snapchat little sis enthusiastically mouthing along to 'Mean' by Taylor Swift, and then bop along to Blue and Jamelia - then I catch a barista's eye, and she smiles at me like we're in on something. 


'You're extra juicy!' Mama declares, as I sit scratching and picking at the insect bites that riddle my legs and arms - four on an elbow, six on my shins, even one on the edge of my foot?! Nobody else has any. My blood is super sweet. 


Getting happily drunk with the family; the whisky and cocktails making it totally okay to belt out Little Mix, dance in the kitchen and eat a whole bowl of seaweed crackers with that peppery dip. 


You can catch up on my previous weeks out here under my 'Australia' tag
Also, I recently wrote about this trip being a holiday, not a project. And that mentality has seriously helped. 


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