As soon as Yulia, my Russian roommate, and I reached the Brighton beach, a 45-minute train ride from Melbourne CBD, we were sweating from our heads to toes. The heat was insufferable and I went straight to the sea for a dip. When I returned, our towels were neatly placed on the hot sand and Yulia was getting tanned and reading a magazine. I lied down on my towel, closed my eyes and enjoyed the last cold, salty drops of water on my body before the sun dried them off. “I could do this every day,” I said. Yulia smiled and turned a page in the magazine. “So, is it for sure?,” Yulia asked me without turning her head. I didn’t know what to say. It was for sure I just didn’t want to admit it out loud. Instead, I nodded silently.
I thought about my first few weeks in Melbourne when I wanted to pack my bags and go back to Europe. After almost a year in Melbourne, the last thing I wanted was to leave. The city grew on me and it became my home. The more my departure was getting closer, the more I realized I would miss my life in Melbourne. Even the downsides didn’t seem to matter anymore.
Yulia interrupted my train of thoughts when she stood up to get us an ice cream from the ice cream truck passing by. My strawberry ice cream was half melted when she returned, but it was delicious. I felt happy and peaceful and as I watched the horizon, I buried my feet deeper into the sand as the surface was burning hot. “Why don’t you put your flip flops on?, Yulia asked me, ”and where are they anyway? I can’t see them”. I looked around and saw them disappearing under the hot sand so I dug them out.
As far as I remembered, I hadn’t owned as many flip flops in my whole life as I owned in Australia. These ones were my favorite pair, black and blue with a yellow flower at the top. I got used to wearing flip flops all the time and I couldn’t imagine going back to proper shoes back in Europe as this type of footwear wasn’t as popular as in Australia. “I only want to wear flip flops from now on,” I said, “they are so comfy!” Yulia laughed and we started to compare who owns more pairs and when we became flip-flopholics.
The day at the beach went fast and so did the last days of my stay in Melbourne. As I had enough time before my departure, I wandered around the airport aimlessly lost in my thoughts. Silly as it sounds, I suddenly realized I spent most of my year in Australia wearing flip flops. I smiled when I remembered one my friends shouting, “Life is better in flip flops!” in between the sound of clinking glasses at my farewell party. I couldn’t agree more when I thought of it. After a moment of hesitation, I entered one of the stores to make my last purchase before my flight to remind me of the amazing time I had in Australia.