A Letter Home

Millstreet Community School

Poole Cross,


14th September,


Dear Mammy,

This has been one of the hardest but most amazing weeks of my entire life! I know what you’re thinking, haven’t I always wanted to spend a year abroad since I was a mere sixteen years of age, so what could possibly be hard about it? Well, Mammy, it’s taking some adjusting! The heat is sweltering, there’s no such thing as a “grand day for the drying” here, every day is, but the ironic thing is, no-one hangs anything out to dry! No wonder we have global warming with all the use of the dryers. My pale Irish skin is not accustomed in the slightest to this constant sunshine, and within four hours on Australian soil, I was as sunburnt as can be! Tomatoes were in the shade let me tell you. The summers on the beach in Ballybunion did not prepare me for this I’m telling you. The streets of Sydney are a far cry from the small lanes of home. The hustle and bustle is a stark opposite of the cattle and tractors in the countryside of County Cork. Despite this, there’s a homely feeling. A trip to Bondi beach isn’t complete without a few Irish people to be spotted. They stand out over here. I have devised a few key ways of knowing if someone is Irish from afar: they tend to be either as pale as a ghost or as sunburnt as a tomato (or occasionally a mixture of the two, reminiscent of a Drumstick lollipop). They will usually be sporting a GAA jersey, from Dublin to Mayo you’ll see all the colours. Keeping on the GAA theme, there’s always a member or two of the group clutching a hurley and sliotar, gaining curious looks from onlookers. Lastly, there’s more often than not a flask of tea to be seen, no matter the weather. Seeing the fellow Irish brings comfort, but also a longing for home. A year in front of me seems like an awfully long time. The girls and I have a lovely apartment. We’ve settled in well, but not after a few encounters with our co-inhabitants- the spiders! I know you warned me of this and I’m well aware Australia is renowned for its creepy crawlies, but by God, nothing could have prepared me for this. The sheer size of them alone is enough to send you running, but then they start to move! The first time I saw one it was on the bathroom ceiling and I was out of there faster than a child out of the classroom when the bell rings at four o’clock. Thankfully, Ciara handled it and has become our resident spider catcher as a result of her lack of fear. Make sure to send all my love to the rest of the family.

I must head off now to a barbeque with our new neighbours!

Love, Sarah