Long sighted

Being long sighted, I spend a lot of time finding distant objects and staring at them in an attempt to rest my screen-damaged eyes. Usually, those things aren’t all that far away – I could probably walk there and back before the tea got cold – but Hobart is different. Out every window is a view of distant, circling mountains and a cascade of cottages tumbling into the ocean. Everything seems like a long way away in Hobart.
In lots of ways Tasmania could be a different country. On a number of occasions I’ve tried to argue that it should be, but I am told by friends who know things that it wouldn’t work, because something something the economy. But there must be some neighbouring countries in Europe that are less disparate than Australia and Tasmania. Everything about this place is both very familiar and very foreign. The wind feels different because it hasn’t been that long since it was circling over ice. The river that flows past everything is big enough and deep enough and grey enough to be an ocean (it basically is the ocean really but Google maps says it’s a river). In the handful of days since I landed here the temperature hasn’t surpassed twenty degrees even though it’s December (December).
Then there’s the strange “us and them” mentality they all have down here. No one thinks it’s strange to refer to everyone else as “mainlanders”. Even my boyfriend gets called a mainlander sometimes now and it’s been less than two years since he left this funny little island. This tourism campaign is definitely a bit racist. (All the Tasmanians I know insist it definitely isn’t racist.) 
Maybe there’s something in it. I’ll admit I spend all my time here looking like a tourist. I keep gazing out at those vistas with a sleepy, happy look at my face and you can probably guess I’m a mainlander from twenty paces. I guess Tasmanians get that a lot.
I like it here. I like the way the gardens are spilling over with roses and holly hocks and strange, spindly lavender even though this is Australia and it’s summer. I like the way the grass sometimes has little white daisies in it. I like the way all the houses seems to be stacked on top of each other, cascading down the bubbling masses of hills. I like the way the furthest thing you can see is almost always blue-green and most of the time it’s a mountain of some kind. I like the way everything is just. so. pretty.
I don’t mind being long sighted in Hobart.
I’m in Hobart-Land for almost two more weeks. Recommendations welcome.
Credit for a bunch of these photos goes to my boyfriend Alex Bennetts

Further reading

December – home

I spent the first minutes of 2018 on the beach. I’ve never actually spent New Year