So, Where the Bloody Hell Are You?

So, Where the Bloody Hell Are You? - Chiqui Alta


So where the bloody hell are you?

It’s true, I’ve been missing in action.  All this COVID shite, moving between countries.  Having flights cancelled, rescheduled, packing up a house and living out a suitcase waiting for approval to return to my own country.  It went on and on. 

It’s stressful enough when you can’t do what you planned, like return to the "sanctuary," of your own country.  But it’s the year of the unexpected. Governments and people and making erratic decisions. Being able to adapt and go with whatever is coming your way has never been so significant. 

So, when we found ourselves homeless and displaced in the middle of a pandemic, we did what we do best, and went on a holiday.  Silently and without remorse we headed to the white sands and blue waters of the Balearic Islands.  You might know them better as Ibiza, Menorca and Mallorca, off the east coast of Spain. A mere 40 minute flight from Valencia.

The islands were weirdly quiet, a little sad yet also a perfect refuge for the stressed-out and stranded.  When the rental car woman in Menorca showed up to give us our keys (COVID safely), she cried, as she hadn’t had any customers for 6 months. The privilege of travelling to these beautiful islands, typically overrun with tourists, was not lost on me.  Only the year before had we had visited Ibiza and had to fight for a postage stamp size of sand to place a towel.  This year we had entire beaches all to ourselves. 

I guess serendipitously, our cancelled flights were rescheduled to the end of the European summer.  While not without its own challenges, it was Spain’s way of saying she wasn’t done with me yet. My children got to spend their summer on the beach, and we got to say proper farewells to many of our friends. So, despite COVID, we were able to enjoy our ultimate weeks in Spain with some freedom. A contrast to the 8 weeks of hard lockdown where our kids were not allowed outside (plus the 6 weeks where we could only leave our apartment for an hour a day).

Now however, my family and I are quietly settled into mandatory hotel quarantine, required when you return to Australia and plotting our re-entry into Australia. We’re still not permitted outside the hotel door, but there is definitely light at the end of this tunnel.  I’ll get to see my mum, and my friends that I haven’t seen for over 2.5 years.

Thank you to those that tried to find out where I was, in the last month or so.  It was lovely to be missed. Now I have to uncover where my stash of beautiful big shoes has been quarantined. They left Spain in the middle of May and are still being detained somewhere in Australia.  Maybe they look suspect to the quarantine officers – “Like seriously, what women wear size 45 shoes?” I can hear them say.

Let’s show them!! I’d love my little army of tall, big footed shoe adorers to link arms (virtually obviously) and sing a protest to the authorities – “We need shoes, release the big shoes.  We need shoes for big feet.”

Now that I’m back on home soil and in the land of my mother tongue, I’m hoping I’ll be able to sort out any problems with relative ease.  I'm optimistic it won’t be very long at all and I’ll be able to reopen and continue selling beautiful shoes for big feet. 

I’m excited to be working on new plans and new shoes, but they are still a long way off. For now I’ve got the ultimate ballet flats and a new market to make new friends in, as well as workout the logistics to reach the old friends in Europe and America.  There is enough to do while I ride out my time in quarantine here in Sydney. 

So, as the beautiful Lara Bingle, in the famous Australian ad, asks…. Where the bloody hell are you?

Well, thanks for asking - I’m bloody well home.

Sydney Australia, beautiful big shoes on the way home

View from my quarantine hotel room, overlooking Darling Harbour in Sydney, Australia.

Chiqui Alta, 14 days and counting down
Quarantine countdown calendar my girls and I made ... getting closer to the light at the end of the tunnel.
The full 30 second version of the Tourism Australia ad.