Sunshine Coastal Chillin’

by leahplotz

I marvel at the landscape, how different the plants and trees are compared to Victoria! Parakeets decorate the pines, transforming them into Christmas trees. I see a whale (!) from the plane. Surfers of all ages line up the expansive beaches, as local cafes serve up amazing fresh juices. Guys and kids throwing a rugby ball back and forth, boundary lines carved out in the sand with a stick. The looser sand massages my feet as I walk with my shoes in one hand. This is the Sunshine Coast.

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Alexander Headlands beach

“G’day love! Are you enjoying your holiday? You from Melbourne?”

“How did you know?” I asked, bewildered. “Cause muh dear, you’re wearing a sundress. …It’s winter.”

I had planned nothing but chill time in Maroochydore and a tour to Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island (more about Fraser Island in the next post—it was awesome).

I did yoga classes, took long walks, went for a run or two, and after sunset, I watched a movie with a good cuppa (tea). When I booked the five day trip, I was weary that I had committed to too much and would be bored.

Below is Mooloolaba beach. One other person’s towel in the photo. The day after, this beach was packed with hundreds of people, all trying to squeeze a glimpse of a dying whale, apparently with a couple of shark bites to its side. The whale didn’t make it much longer.

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Mooloolaba beach. Below 20C = beach was empty.

On Sunday, I had to count the days on my hand, time seemed to have disappeared. I couldn’t believe how active I had been on my “lazy” holiday. I felt great, sleeping for ten hours each night. So much sun, chill time, and shopping, and I wasn’t ready to let that go. So I chucked my bag into a locker, and spent hours at the beach, drinking fresh juice and ate an amazing pumpkin salad at the Beach Street deli, recommended to me by my hosts. I stayed until the late afternoon, until the winds started to pick back up, and my sweater was no longer enough to keep me warm. The only thing left to do was take that last flight out of MCY airport home.

When I was a little girl, I would marvel at the spectacle of lights flying at night gave. My favourite activity to this day is recognising the townships and landmarks as we fly over them. On a date night in March, Michael tried pointing out different landmarks of Melbourne to me from the city’s tallest tower. I loved even that, reminding me of what I feel like when I fly at night.  So as we approached the state of Victoria again, I was saddened that I couldn’t play this game of Guess the Town, or have anyone point out to me which town was which. But then suddenly, there she was: Marvellous Melbourne. So incredibly vast she is; stoic even. Her suburbs, supporting and interlacing; I felt like a little girl again.

This was significant for me, especially feeling the way I did about coming back to the cold, wind, and rain after all that sun. Up north, even my ulcerative colitis seemed happy to take a break. The pilot said as we reached the clouds “Welcome on board ladies and gentlemen. The current weather in Melbourne is….not so good.” Melbourne has not been my happy place so far—one difficulty after the other, it’s far from everywhere, and adjusting hasn’t come as quickly as I predicted. It is still a large and noisy city, too, and I am still a small-town girl who is a light sleeper.

All that said and done, it was delicious to land and see my breath in the biting midnight air. I was finally able to make peace with the ding-ding’s of the trams and being able to hear my neighbours. I feel very safe in Melbourne, I can walk to pretty much everywhere I need to be.

And I really can’t complain about that.

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