(un)holidays

The life in Townsville  is generally quite laid-back, but the last two weeks were exceptionally lazy. Just with the mid-term break, we had enough time to travel and relax, but right before the lecture recess there was an additional free time – Easter. Or was it?

I feel I must be getting old since I’ve started missing all the Easter preparations I hated as a child. I remember promising myself, ‘when I grow up, I’ll never…’ I will never spend a whole day cleaning or cooking, or doing other no one-knows-what’s-they’re-for-but-we-do-them-anyway things. I’ll never exhaust myself with house chores instead of simply enjoying my free time. I do remember myself saying this, but well, now I changed my mind.

Australia is not a very Christian country so it shouldn’t surprise me no one cares too much about Easter. It’s all about eating chocolate eggs, barbecue on the beach and drinking. Like  so many other events. Not too many students get back with their families, and I understand this – it’s simply too far to travel for many of them.

I myself, being fairly atheistic, don’t miss the spiritual overtone of holidays, not that I see many people in Poland actually paying attention to it. But I do miss the accompanying ‘rituals’. I miss the cleaning of the house, the making of vegetable salad of which after three days everyone just had enough, and the sometimes awkward family dinners when oblivious aunts ask just one question too much.

It is these rituals that make holidays special. Without going through the pain of preparations, Easter is just a weekend like many others. And I didn’t like the feeling of routine it gave me. Holidays provide a sense of periodicity and stability, something to hold on to. Yes, to my surprise, I came to the conclusion, I like periodicity. Like the succession of seasons, yet another thing I hardly notice in Townsville – since the rains stopped it’s been 30 degrees every day, every week, and the only sign of the flow of time are the shortening days. And something about it just feels wrong.

But with ANZAC Day nearing, I’ll have a chance to experience a true Australian holiday. I wonder, should I go to the parade…?

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