So I am excited to be returning to God’s country, as we so love to call Australia. Despite all the traveling I do and the love I have for so many places around the world, Australia will always be my home and hold the most special place in my heart. Spending every day sharing my culture and country with my students over the morning TV broadcast show this year, made me desperately miss it and fall in love with it all over again. Circumstances really led us to be returning home now, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot I’m looking forward to:
Family: Geez, I’d been in trouble if I didn’t say this!! Jokes aside, we are really looking forward to spending time with the family. Since 2002, we haven’t spent more than
4 weeks at a time with them, and even those have been spaced apart by months and years. Babies have been born, marriages have happened with a big one planned for next year, and crises have been dealt with without the support of our shoulders. For an unknowable length of time we’ll be around to celebrate birthdays and special holidays again. Craig’s family is all still at home. I have one sister and her two boys home, a sister on one side of the country, albeit a little closer than now, and a traveling brother somewhere in Africa who will be difficult to pin down in one spot for a catch-up beer. Rumours have it that he will touch down in Oz soon. We are very excited that Kalrya will have nannies and pops, aunties and uncles and cousins to play with, to charm and be spoilt rotten by. And just quietly, the added extra help will be much appreciated. We might be able to get some time out to get some things done or even go out on a date or two!
Friends: Back deck, chardy, best friend. It’s all I need to say really. Oh, hang on better bring in all my other mates as well. I love my friends from back home. When we get together, its just fun and light, with lots of laughter. It’s been a long time of separation, so I hope with the passing of time into ‘adulthood i.e children, families and responsibilities we haven’t lost that wild and carefree connection. In Australia, friends spend a lot of time together, and I look forward to continuing this part of my culture.
No fear of offense: Australian’s don’t offend easy and I like this. I always felt, living in the States, like I had to be careful of everything I said. My foot was always in my mouth and it seemed like I was offending everyone. In Australia, its pretty much okay to say what you think, make jokes, even crude ones, and pay out on others. In fact this is usually a sign that we like you. I’m looking forward to just being myself again and being relaxed with that.
Aussie Lingo: I love our Aussie slang. It is just so colorful and unique. One of our Aussie mates married an American girl over here, and she would always say, “When you three get together, I kind of just sit back in silence, as I can never understand what you’re saying. I know you’re speaking English but I still don’t understand you.” It’s like we have our own secret language and I love that. So many times when I talk, I’m met with blank stares and I immediately know I’ve let an Aussie word slip and have to correct my self. No more of that. Look out guys, I’m going to be speaking only Aussie lingo for the first few weeks of my return, and please forgive me if an American word or two slips out in the process.
Aussie humour: Hasn’t this landed us in some hot water over here and made us have to back pedal quite a bit? Americans just don’t get our humor or maybe they just don’t think its funny. But
we do. Our humour is very dry and full of mockery. Nothing is sacred, and we’ll mock at and laugh at just about anything or anyone. One thing to know about Australians is our attempts to laugh at ourselves and others is not at all meant to insult or offend. There is no malice behind it, and although abrasive, it is not meant to be personal. You know someone is your true friend when they laugh at you when you fall over. They’ll always pick you back up, but the laughter is a way to say “No worries mate, you don’t have to be embarrassed, she’ll be right!”
Aussie sport: We’re just so good at it! And don’t ever tell an Australian otherwise. Its the thing our country prides itself on the most. I may even put the bib back on and play some netball again. Anyone?
Non car-reliance : I miss walking. It’s hard to do here, as it is such a car-driven country. Back home, I can walk or bike everywhere. Walk to the shops, the beach, my friends house, or the train station so I can commute in relaxation. Ah! The blissful freedom of just me and the world unobstructed.
The beach will now be a 5 minute drive or 20 minute walk away. Yes! I can go there everyday if I like. I think I will, and I think I will kiss the sand each day and let the waves kiss my feet as I walk and breathe it in. There is no place like the beach and there is no place like an Australian beach.
No Winter: Well, there is but there’s no snow and black ice, or coats, scarves,and beanies. And winter is short, not an eternal 6 months of frozen- imprisoned blues. Australians love an
outdoor life, so anything that stands in the way of that, is really detrimental to our health.
Barbies: The Australian ritual that can sometimes mostly last all day and all night. Bring a plate, gather round- boys around the barbie with their beers, girls laughing around the snacks and wine- come together once its eating time, and then unleash the madness.
Gum trees and Kookaburras: Every morning I would wake to the sound of a kookaburra or the vision of my favorite tree, the Gummie outside my window. I love the deciduous forest of America, but oh how I love the Australian bush. We have such a wide variety of native plant and animal life. Being surrounded by the exoticness of Australia each day is going to bring me such powerful life energy.
Going out to dinner: Going out to dinner in America is really no great event, because it’s so common. Americans eat out all the time; it’s so cheap not to. You might meet up for dinner, eat, have one drink, and go home. At the end of the dinner, I’d find myself, scratching my head and inwardly saying “Is that it? Where’s the rest of it?” That’s because if Aussies meet up at a restaurant for dinner, it means there is a special occasion or a big night planned. Plus, we have ‘bring your own alcohol’ restaurants. So when you walk in there with an eskie (cooler) full of beer, you are moving in for the night,(until you are forceably removed or your beer runs out). Going out to dinner in Australia means long- drawn out celebrations that end in either a dance at the club or sunrise drinks at a mates.
Understanding: I love living as a foreigner, but I also love the comfort and understanding that comes with living in your own culture. There is no need to explain or try to understand, there’s just a comfortable knowing.
(happy sigh) See you soon Australia!