As most would assume, there are pros and cons to living in one of the most beautiful, yet isolated, places in the world. For me, the pros outweigh the cons, otherwise I wouldn’t have been here for the last six and a half years; I love the climate here in the South West of Western Australia, I love the fact that I feel that my children and I are safe, and how I rarely even think twice about not locking my car doors. I adore the beautiful, un-crowded beaches and pristine waters, affordable dependable health care, and advanced education system, among other things… The downside is it’s SO DAMN FAR from… well… from everything. As most of you know, I’m from Montreal, and Montreal is as far from Perth as humanly possible. Honesty, it doesn’t matter whether I fly via Sydney and LA, or via Dubai and New York, it’s the same distance, and approximately the same cost, east or west.
Perth is the most isolated capital city in the world, and is highly underrated for it’s exciting night life, beautiful beaches, amazing vineyards and wine industry, as well as its surrounding areas such as Ningaloo reef, the Cape to Cape track, South West Crystal caves, etc… . My opinion is that Perth is underrated due to its isolated location. Not many people want to travel for two days breathing recycled air with 350 other passengers strapped to a chair with no leg room, and spend 2000$ to do so. Even just getting to Perth from Sydney is a 4+ hour flight. Which leads me to my next down point, I don’t get many visitors. It was a hard adjustment not seeing my friends and family at the drop of a hat. Having lived previously in the Bahamas, I could hop a flight for 300$ and be back in Montreal in 3 hours. Now it’s $2K per person and 36 hours of travel time.
So in early December when I read on Facebook that my old high school sweetheart and his band would be coming to Australia on tour in January, I was ecstatic. Obviously, those lusty feelings of high school love from my teenage years are long gone… I repeat, long gone; nonetheless I’ve been following Jon and his band the Franklin Electric since he released his first song in 2012, and have been a big fan since. I quickly scanned the tour dates and cities on their Facebook announcement, and when I saw Perth on the list I couldn’t contain my excitement.
A) I love the Franklin Electric and their entire first album and
B) I couldn’t wait to see a familiar face.
The first familiar face I saw from Montreal when I moved to Australia was in January of 2010, and he too was an old high school flame, and was also the lead signer of his band touring around Australia, i.e.: the one and only, Patrick Watson… Hey, what can I say, I had a thing for signing piano players when I was young. The excitement I felt when I saw Patrick on stage was incredible. I was so grateful and happy when my husband and I got the opportunity to eat dinner with him and the band after the show, and catch up on life and their experiences in Australia. I can’t really explain the feeling of excitement I had within me; all I can say is that there truly is something to be said about when you’ve been away from home for an extended amount of time, and you haven’t seen anyone from your past life for months and months, and then you suddenly see the face of an old friend. A friend you spent an incredible amount of time with, even if it was 20 years ago, and you haven’t seen them in nearly 10.
Eventually January rolled around and Jon and the Franklin Electric landed in Perth and I caught up with him and the band before and after his two shows. My hubby and I managed to show the band their first lot of kangaroos in Australia, despite the fact that they had already been down under on the east coast for nearly a month beforehand?!?!? Their shows were absolutely mesmerizing. If you haven’t heard of them or heard their music you really should have a listen. Seriously – stop reading this blog right now and Google them – FRANKLIN ELECTRIC… Old Piano is my favorite song, but 17 is a second runner up, and This is How I let you Down is also on my top 3.
Anyway, all that to say, after 2 child-free days and nights in Perth with hubby, Jon and his crew, I came back home down south with a permanent smile on my face. I had an energy within me that touched my heart and soul. Yes, it was probably a combination of having some kid-free time with my husband up in the warm busy energetic city, drinking cocktails, eating yummy meals at nice restaurants that didn’t even have a kids menu option…. but in all honesty I truly feel that a good portion of that energy came from having that piece of home, that piece of my past here in my present. I hadn’t met anyone in the band before they came over to Perth, but they all live or lived in Montréal at some point in their lives, so it was fun chatting about the difference between Montreal and Australia in the lifestyle, the lost in translation moments due to the forever-abbreviating Aussie lingo, as well as what they missed most while on tour, and what they loved most about Australia. All in all, it’s an energy I will have a hard time forgetting, and it doesn’t take much to reignite it as I just have to click on my iTunes folder and scroll to my ‘Taste of Montreal’ playlist.
So, for all of you who live far away from your homeland, I feel your pain and I know your joys. There are so many ups and downs to living abroad. Sometimes it’s the little things that bring a smile to our face, that our new friends in our new home won’t understand, unless they too are from a far way land, or have once been in those shoes…. Either way, I hope someday you get to experience that unadulterated joy I felt last month. It was nothing short of heartwarming, exciting and fulfilling, and everyone who sacrifices living away from their home and native land deserves to feel a bit of that every once and a while.