As I sit here writing this, it's next to 40-degree heat in Sydney and the feeling is surreal.
It's Christmas Day and there's a full spread on the table but those that you love are further afield on the shores of Ireland.
Moving to Sydney recently, this is by far the hardest time to be away from home. My grandmother passed recently and it's also the first Christmas without her around so a very different one for the family. Having lived away from home for five years, I've always been relatively lucky to have experienced Christmas Day back home.
There's always a unique set of traditions - the lead up including donning Christmas jumpers for 12 pubs of Christmas. On Christmas Eve there's the local, where you meet and greet everyone. The whole town is out for last-minute shopping and the country bumpkins make their way into town.
Being the oldest of 14 cousins, we also have an annual St Stephen’s Day swim in the cold and brisk Irish sea, just to embrace life for what it is. Cold and harsh sometimes.
You realize now that it's the little things.
The mushy peas and the gravy on your spuds. Waking up in your dad's family home in Drogheda to see the look of delight on your brother's face as he sees the gifts Father Christmas left in the night. The slice out of the Christmas cake as you look at the grin on your father's face. Your mother's smile as she gets another next year's diary.
You also realize just how many times her organizational skills have saved your life, or your little sister’s, in a tiff over the last roast spud.
All of the things that time and distance make you really appreciate as an Irish emigrant living thousands of miles away.
Luckily enough, I have a best friend, who has flown in from teaching in the Middle East, to spend the days with as well as a childhood friend from home here also.
But for now, I know from friends overseas, in Vietnam to other parts of the world, it's the hardest thing by far to do. This time last year, I remember driving through Saigon on a motorbike and it just felt out of place. I feel the same now when I see Christmas trees and decorations in the middle of the Australian summer.
I feel like I'm in a weird adult immigrant version of "I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here” except it's "I'm an Immigrant, Get Me Out of Here."But us Irish are strong and have been for generations so I suppose I will embrace the difference as I celebrate and have dinner with South Americans in a hostel and hit up Bondi beach for that obligatory “I'm in Australia” photo.
But behind every smiling picture, there are a thousand words of homesickness left to say. So I'll count my blessings and be thankful for the close family and friends that I do have when so many people are experiencing pain and loss.
Hopefully, I’ll get in a quick Skype call back home with the time difference to hear my brother’s stories and maybe tell my sister she can have that last spud any day!
Australia’s got it all - climate, outdoor’s life, lovely people - but to this Irishwoman during Christmas and the New Year, it's a fail.
“There's no place like home,” as Dorothy said.
Where in the world will you be ringing in 2019? Let us know in the comments section, below.