I hopped on two planes and travelled for nearly two days to fall in love with this city the moment I walked through the airport to the baggage claim. It was a chilly winter morning when a gush of cold air grazed my cheeks and turned the tip of my nose red when I stepped out of the automated airport gate.
Adelaide – The Glorious Little Capital Of South Australia.
I soaked up the frosty atmosphere on the ride to an inner southern suburb of Adelaide, which is a bit underrated as it is constantly overshadowed by its’ bigger and better counterparts – Sydney with its’ beaches, Melbourne with its’ culture and Perth with its’ sunsets. Nevertheless, there is a reason why it is nicknamed Radelaide, and why it is worth a stay of its’ own.
For months I had dreamt of frost, so when (almost) winter called, I accepted it with charm. My breath rose in visible puffs to join the clouded sky, and the chill in the air brought crispness to the leaves. Rosy cheeked, I stomped my foot to keep warm and pulled a cotton hoodie over my head. My teeth chattered and the cold swept into my gloves, numbing my fingers until they ceased to bend properly, stiffened and frigid. In my sneakers, I strode out to meet the world made anew and clapped my hands for joy, for the sight of the home was more gorgeous than my imagination had conjured before.
To a city girl from Maldives who grinds her head in law school, this is a welcoming trait. The change in the temperature from 32 degrees celsius to 16 degrees celsius was anticipated, and nothing short of enjoyable. Inside my toasty warm home, I cozied myself up in winter apparels, unaware of the hazy fog outside. Sipping baking Earl Grey in one hand and browsing the interweb with the other became a habit, whereas I used to find myself in the same position during the rainy season back in Maldives.
Nevertheless, the peek of sunshine between 8 AM to 4 PM brings joy to my heart. Having the sun shine on me with coldness upon my face is refreshing, as I stow my body inside a warm trench coat. The combination of hot and cold has a purity that elevates my spirit, and the world made as pristine as a book, ready for new stories! The kookaburra calls are unique, and they fill the surroundings with laughter as they rest on the backyards’ wall. It is a challenge to dry up the laundry, but how I wish to take the cold caught clothes as they are to Maldives where it is too scorching for my liking.
With that being said, having spent all my teenage years and more in the Paradise on Earth, it is only natural that one will get all too accustomed to it. Thus, I crave for anything but parching temperatures, the last browned leaves clinging to the trees and the dark, frosty and electric air. Despite the fact that I am battling with the ever so common cold which ALWAYS greets me with a humid atmosphere, I will purposefully leave the second layer behind and stroll in bare feet topped by bare nudes.
Coming from a country where the majority of the population try to avoid eye contact at any cost, being called “love” by old ladies who are strangers is a delightful feeling. Whenever I am out and about, I am left in awe at the courage of the older generation. Striking up conversations with one passerby after the other makes me feel so overwhelmed, as it is beyond the bounds of possibility to walk 1 kilometre without being greeted by at least three utmost strangers. The ever so friendly smiles and the heartfelt laughter of Australians makes me feel like I am home, far away from home. Having people graze at my olive skin with awe and hijab with admiration makes racism and Islamophobia seem long gone. The concept of ‘catcalling’ was alien to this city, and chivalrous approaches of young men proves an excellent upbringing.
So, here I am, sitting on a beach and gazing at the endless horizon in a city where a part of me lives now. The air is frozen lace on my skin, delicate and cold, like winter waves on sallow sand. The sky is washed with colours of the setting sun, and watery lights are illuminating thin patches to brilliance. In some moments, I am watching my heels close to the frozen ice arena, and in others, transfixed to the interplay of clouds and sun in front. Only the slipping of the ice skaters brings my attention earthward once more, the need to stay upright pulling my mind into the present.
Yet, nothing can be compared to the allure of my Maldives. Thus, I am proud to call the group of scattered emeralds floating across the Indian Ocean my home. The people I converse with reminds me of “How lucky!” I am to be from Maldives, and it makes me feel homesick every once in a while, for parts of me are back there. And not matter how far I travel to, or how far I plan to settle down, Maldives is my homeland and there will be a place in my heart with endless love reserved for my Tropical Paradise with Everlasting Summer.
I will see you soon, In Sha Allah.
Images may NOT be copied, distributed, printed or otherwise disseminated or used without my written permission.