It’s January 26th and that means one thing to Australians: it’s Australia Day.

Falling on a Friday this year, I imagine most of the country is taking a nice, long weekend. There’ll be time to catch the cricket, catch up with mates and family, and generally get in a few more days of warm weather before the kids head back to school and the year really starts in earnest.

Over this way, though, it’s a different story. Instead of sandy beaches and sun I’m heading to Paris for a day of work in the rain. More than that, I’m also heading into what is basically a flood zone, with some of the roads cut off, low lying areas under water, trains that dive a little too deep underground just a little too close to the river cancelled until further notice, and grey, grey skies.

So, yes, it is Australia Day and I am celebrating (well, at least in my heart…) but it is about as far away as you can get from typical Australia Day weather for me.

I counted up this morning and it turns out this is the twelfth Australia Day in a row I have been out of the country. I couldn’t remember whether all of them have been spent here in France but I imagine most of them were. No fireworks by the Swan River or early morning beers to celebrate living in the best country in the world for me (and for multiple reasons); instead, it is shooting through the French countryside at 300 kilometers an hour to one of the shining cities of Western Europe and a day to be spent in meetings, working on slide decks, and strategising about the next couple of months of marketing.

One thing I won’t be doing today: running. It’s something like a rest day, I reckon, though I’ll still be moving about plenty in Paris and then on my return to Lyon. But with an early morning train and a son to collect as soon as I return to Lyon, there’s just not enough time for a run or anything more than a brisk walk. I’m not hurting from yesterday’s effort, by the way. Despite the 15K on the treadmill being not quite as interesting as, say, 15K in the hills near Lyon, it wasn’t painful and I don’t feel any fatigue. Indeed, the only reason I am tired is because I got about 90 minutes less sleep than is optimal last night so I am playing this Australia Day a little behind the eight ball in that respect.

Still, run or not, I think this is setting itself up to be a good Australia Day. I enjoy visiting Paris, I am comfortable moving around the city, and there’s always something interesting to see there, even if this time it is likely to be ‘the flooded capital’ instead of ‘the sparkling lights’. I’m looking forward to collecting Jamie after his fencing training this afternoon, and we’ll be celebrating Australia Day tonight with our neighbours who are coming by for some food and drink. Oh, sure, the kids will end up playing video games all night or constructing something incredible out of LEGO for everyone to marvel at, but it’s nice to have people around and to just chat.

Happy birthday, Australia, from us expats here in France, and here’s to the next couple of hundred, too.

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