yeah i know, i’m wondering the same thing. how could something as uninspiring as liquorice be the muse of an entire think piece ? well first off, it’s not just any liquorice. it’s very specifically darell lea’s raspberry twists. all other flavours and brands are subsequently uninvited to read this essay.
i have been told before in my career that i should feel so accomplished being able to have my dream job. part and parcel of the job description is being well media trained so i always have the same politically correct answer of ‘there’s so much more i have yet to accomplish/ everyone is a work in progress’ which i stand by and is 100% true. but the reality of the situation is, i have never, or rather very very very rarely, actually felt accomplished. as i found myself eating these darell lea raspberry twists, standing on the pier, watching the sun set on the peaks of the sydney opera house, i realised that this was one of those extremely rare moments.
growing up my family couldn’t really afford to travel. my mum was a single parent struggling to provide a good life and plentiful opportunities and exposure to her two children in a single income household and so the furthest we ever went was to singapore, and that too on the extra coach that departed from the dataran merdeka bus station at 10am daily. i’m not complaining, drinking the blue virgin soda and eating KFC shaker chicken bites still remain top tier memories from my childhood and i wouldn’t change a thing, but i don’t remember ever being aware that there were other places to go or that the world was bigger than just these two countries linked by a causeway. until i went to dance class one day and one of my friends had just came back from australia. i was in awe. i had never seen so much cute stationery, toys and sweets in one place and she seemed to have a never-ending supply, pulling them out of her bag one by one in a truly remarkable show and tell that most 12 year olds only dream of. the last item out of the bag as i’m sure you’ve figured by now was a singular packet of the darell lea raspberry liquorice twists. liquorice??? what is liquorice?? i remember asking my mum after class that day, but quite frankly in the moment i hadn’t a clue. try one, said my friend. and so i did. this is where i have to break it to you, liquorice is not thaaaat great tasting. sugus is about a 100x better. but in the moment as she showed us printed pictures of her trip taken on a disposable camera the 00s were famous for and told us stories of kangaroos and koalas, i ate those twists and to a much younger version of me, they tasted of wealth, opportunity, luck and privilege that i increasingly became aware that my family did not have.
fast forward back to present day. eating this very same snack, in the country where it’s made i realised 12 year old me was a little dramatic. but also that she never thought it possible that one day she’d grow up to become someone who could afford to go to australia. with enough agency and independence to walk into a convenience store, and buy her very own darell lea raspberry twists. and when the sun was gone and the moon came out, for just a second i thought of my 12 year old self. and goddamn, i felt accomplished.