After my stay in Ireland, my first home away from home, I went back to Denmark and worked at my distant family’s campsite in Copenhagen, which is only open three months a year; June, July and August. I’d done it the year before, when my uncle owned the place, and visited on a few other occasions, because my father and cousin worked there previously (we’re not inbreeds, I swear).
While working there, my cousin and our mutual friend (both of whom I’m going to Ireland with) went to our favorite club for the millionth time that summer – even though none of us were technically old enough to get in. Before the club turned into a club, it was a restaurant, and we had this trick, where we booked a table for dinner and then just stayed there until it turned into a club. That way they didn’t check our ID’s. We even snuck in drinks in our handbags to save money at the bar – oh, the nerve!
I was absolutely certain that this was meant to be
Anyway, on this particular night, I noticed a guy that I thought looked really cute, and immediately called dibs on him. He was wearing a green t-shirt (my favorite color) with the number 28 on it (my favorite number), so I had a good feeling about this. We somehow started talking, and I found out that he was Australian and that his name was, let’s say, Freddie – which was also the name of a cat my father had, when he died.
Freddie (the guy, not the cat) was a couple of years older than me, and I was absolutely certain that this was meant to be. I mean, how else could I relate to all these things about him?! We talked, we laughed, we danced, we kissed, and I was sold. He left Denmark two days after that, because he and his friends were following the Australian rugby team around Europe, but he didn’t leave without us going out once more and exchanging contact information.
I’ve read somewhere that falling madly in love from the beginning is a bad sign. Apparently, it’s supposed to make the feelings go away faster, while also not noticing all the little things that will annoy you about the other person later on. But that’s exactly what we did.
A month later, I was in Venice to meet up with him, while later, he missed the Tomatina Festival in Spain to come to Denmark, then for my birthday he gave me a trip to Paris, where I got to meet his dad, who was also there for his own birthday. Things were moving very fast, and before I knew it, I’d said yes to moving to Australia to be with Freddie.
Fast-forward three months, on exactly the 1st of January (many years ago), I landed in Sydney airport at eight or nine in the morning. I’d missed New Year’s Eve, because it was cheaper to fly on that day, and he probably shouldn’t have been driving, but we made it, and that was it. I stayed there for two years, a month and four days.
Falling madly in love from the beginning is a bad sign
At first, I took little one-time jobs that I found on Gumtree, which is the Australian equivalent to Craigslist, then I was offered a nannying job, because I had experience with it, but decided not to take it considering my feelings toward the last nannying job, so I settled for a door-to-door sales job.
W o r s t d e c i s i o n e v e r . Imagine driving to a suburb in the middle of nowhere, walking around in the Australian summer heat trying to sell people a mobile phone plan that was like any other, without a toilet or shop nearby, knowing that you’d be picked up in five hours at a certain location. In turn, you receive AUD300 a week as a base salary and then whatever you sell adds onto that. Needless to say, I didn’t sell a single plan! So, I quit after two weeks. On the bright side, I did meet some people that I still talk to on occasion.
After this disaster, I landed a job in a chocolate store. Hallelujah, I’d found my calling! I was packing and selling delicious chocolates to happy costumers every day, and I got to eat as much as I damn well pleased. As a bonus, the manager was my age, and it was as if we’d known each other forever. She let me do all sorts of things that a regular employee wasn’t allowed to, like take money to the bank and do the employee rosters.
Unfortunately, with the visa I had, I could only stay in the same position for six months, so I had to quit. Luckily, with all the extra responsibility my manager had given me, I was able to get a job as weekend office coordinator at Borders, you know, the bookstore franchise, while during the week, I was a regular sales assistant in the store.
With me having always been a bookworm, this was just perfect! Even more so when the full-time office coordinator quit, because then, I took over her position, which meant doing minimal time on the floor of the store, working only on weekdays from 7am to 4pm and having every weekend and bank holiday off. I even had my own goddamn office. Does it get any better for a 20-year-old?!
That was work-wise, though. I learned that Freddie wasn’t entirely the guy I hoped he was. Just as I’ve experienced with every single guy up until now, he had difficulties being honest with me. Among many other things, he claimed to have written a poem especially for me, which I was so thrilled about – until I found out he’d written it for another girl a few years earlier. At some point, he developed an addiction to gambling, which I would’ve happily helped him get out of, but he also chose to hide that from me. I really loved him, though, so I just accepted it.
There was really only one solution…
When I’d been in Australia for 10 months, and my visa would expire within the following two months, we knew that we had to do something. There was really only one solution: getting married.
To make things as hassle-free as possible, we agreed not to tell anyone and just have it done at the registry office, but the idiot went and did it anyway. His mother wouldn’t let us settle like that, so before we knew it, she’d arranged a wedding and I was shopping for a wedding dress.
The ceremony was held on the 1st of December, a month and a half after my 21st birthday, on top of some cliffs at one of my favorite beaches in Sydney, and it was a nice, sunny day (my albino shoulders got torched). We had a short lunch/dinner afterwards, and then celebrated the way I wanted to: at the beach, swimming in the ocean.
With my family being relatively poor and only given a three-week notice, none of them were present. Regardless, they were happy for us and had “seen it coming” (ha!).
I got my visa, and I was able to stay – in the country and in my office coordinator role. Until I no longer wanted neither, which was 14 months after the wedding. We just weren’t mature enough to make it work, and I willingly take most of the responsibility for that one.
I’d missed out on all the little things that make up a lifetime
I want to add here that I truly did want to marry him. I’d never loved anyone like I loved him, and I thought we might as well do it then as well as later. But neither of us knew how to be married. We didn’t communicate properly, we didn’t cover each other’s needs, and I felt him change into a completely different person, in a very short amount of time. He matured much faster than me, and I honestly thought life was so boring. We bought an apartment, had a cat, ate in front of the TV and went golfing on weekends (at least he and his friends did, I took pictures of the surroundings). I tried to apply for other jobs and looked up photography courses, but my heart was no longer in it. The relationship, my lack of a social network and thus the country were no longer for me.
Also, I’d found out that I wanted to go back to studying, which I could do back home and get paid for, instead of paying thousands of dollars for it in Australia. Most of my friends back home had completed their educations as nurses or social workers or whatever, and I felt that I hadn’t accomplished anything.
Freddie was still doing his apprenticeship as an electrician and wasn’t willing to go to Denmark within the near future. All the while, I couldn’t stop thinking about how I’d missed out on so many birthdays, two Christmases and all the little things that make up a lifetime, and I just knew I had to leave. So, I did, and by age 23, I was a divorcee.
With all that being said, I don’t regret anything. I’m a walking cliché, I know, but I’d seriously rather live a life of moments that make me go “oh well” than “what if.”
Lastly, to lighten up the mood, here’s a photo of me and a koala: