Thursday, 31 December 2009

Supposedly I'm Middle Aged

According to Erikson's Psychosocial Stages, I'm middle aged. I'm not quite mid-30's yet, but I definitely don't fit into stage 6, which is intimacy vs isolation. I have gone past young adulthood, it seems. This article, on Expat Exchange, where I got the below, (obviously) geared the stages towards expats.

"Stage 7
Middle Agers (Mid 30s-Early 60s): Generativity vs. Stagnation
- Adults in the heart of their lives need to be productive and have a sense that they are able to create something of value in their lives.
For Expats: What do you hope to accomplish as an expat? How is it going to impact your long-term goals? Do you have long-term goals? When one elects to move abroad, a lot of soul searching is likely to take place. Take advantage of that by giving some real thought to where you've been, where you are, and where you hope to get to in terms of accomplishments. "

I was asked, at a recent job interview, where I saw myself in 10 years. Funnily enough, just before heading to the interview, a work colleague and I were discussing the '5 year plan' interview question. I hate these types of questions. Had someone asked me 5 years ago where I would be today...well, let's just say I would have been so far off with the answer. I've never really had long-term goals, other than to travel more, find a good travel buddy/life partner, and to someday be working in a job where using my brain, in a way I enjoyed, was actually part of my daily work. Becoming an expat has actually furthered these goals, directly yet without a structured plan involved. I have been in 5 different countries in the past 5 years, completed a Master's degree, gotten married, become a homeowner, and now, just finally, for the first time since I left uni over 10 years ago, gotten a job I actually really want.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Birdwood

Actual petrol station, dismantled & rebuilt in the museum
Administration building

Sculpture outside the museum


Ute!

Road Train
The variety and quality of tourist attractions in Adelaide keep surprising me. Today Steve and I beat the heat by heading to the National Motor Museum in Birdwood. It's large, modern and has a great selection of vehicles. We managed to spend 2 1/2 hours there (Steve's a car buff and I'm a bit of a museum junkie).

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Happy Christmas from Oz






Our Christmas festivities began last Friday with Steve's work xmas do. The silly little jokes and odd paper hats come out of Christmas crackers, which are placed on the table at xmas meals. The next night we were off to a Chrissie barbie at Steve's mate Steve's house (1 out of every 3 guys down under are named Steve), where Steve was busy roasting a whole lamb on the spit, and Steve was chilling out with a beer;) Tuesday night we went off to Lobethal to see the lights, where Santa was out in his front yard greeting all the passers by with a warm Aussie Ho Ho Ho. Santa's neighbour was selling cherries to all the tourists. Happy Christmas to ya'll out there, and if you're in a cooler climate, please send some snow my way!

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

A New Do

One day while my aunt was visiting, we were sitting at the dining room table, with a fan aimed directly at us, while we tried to beat the heat. She looked at me and said something to the effect of: "I want to do something for you. Let's go and get you a haircut. It'll make you feel better." Now, in the 1.5+ years I've been in Oz, I'd had a grand total of 2 haircuts. This is unusual for me. I've had my hair shaved, bobbed, cropped, dyed, etc over the years. Since I met my husband, I haven't done much with it at all aside from one unique cut on our honeymoon, over 2 years ago. Since then I've not been willing to take the risk, for some reason, so my hair, while having some layering in it, has spent most of it's time up in a poneytail. Yesterday I took the plunge and walked around the corner to a new place by work, and got about 5 inches cut off. I couldn't feel better, and I'm not sure quite why it's taken me so long. Pics are forthcoming.
P.S. Big thumbs up for Cinderella on Leigh Street!

Monday, 7 December 2009

Out of the Mouths of...

boys come the most amusing comments. I really should start keeping a list of the things my husband comes up with. In the care package I got from my aunt this week, she included a little sleigh with a heap of tiny Christmas pressies. I mentioned to my husband the other night that one of my other aunts had wrapped all of these little packages up years ago by hand (you can see them atop the heater in my last post, by the way). Yesterday, he looked over at the sleigh and said..."Those little boxes...is there chocolate in there?!" A one track mind....

Saturday, 5 December 2009

And the Stockings Were Hung by the Chimney with Care...

...with some goodies in them already, thanks to a care package from home. I've now acquired a 2nd xmas tree, and a 'fireplace' since last year, so the house is looking a bit more festive.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Family Time

Suffering the heat with grace
The Australian wave, or why not to go to the St Kilda Mangroves on a hot, fly-infested day

The longer I am away from home, the harder it seems to become to be away from family, or so it feels some days. On the other hand, one benefit of being far from home is that the people you love most come to visit you, for weeks at a time.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Cheesefest

Summer seems to have arrived in Adelaide, finally, and with it more blog posts:) Hubs and I went to Cheesefest on Sunday, and I have the sunburn to prove it. In 2 hours, with suntan lotion on, I have still turned into a bit of a redneck. Next time I will forgo the suntan lotion samples and stick with my trusty Cancer Council 30+. $10, a souvenir wine glass, and off you go. Nepenthe had some nice Chardonnay, and we ended up going home with 6 glasses in total (what, some folks left theirs behind so we helped clear the tables while leaving). I didn't take any pics at Cheesefest, but Susie did, and I'm sure she won't mind me giving a link back to her blog. Woodside was by far the best cheese there, and the lemon myrtle is a must try (Aunt Liz, this place has a sampling room right next to Melba's Chocolates, both of which we'll be taking you to one weekend day while you're visiting). Less than 2 years in, and we bumped into about 10 people I knew while there. See, Adelaide is a small place.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Ticking Things off the List

I'm trying to keep track of all the posts I've made listing the things I want to do in Adelaide. Far too often, I skip things and say I'll do it next year, and while I have a lifetime here, I don't want to fall too far behind. These are the things that are left on my last few posts.

Things I Said I'd do Next Year (Apr '09)

  • Well, most of these things, aside from OzAsia Festival, are still to come (shhh, I missed OzAsia)
Things to do, Part 4 (Jan '09)

Things to do, Part 3 (Aug '08)

  • See the movie 'You The Living' (will have to rent it now)
  • Tandanya (will be ticking this off in a couple of weeks when Aunt Liz comes to visit)

Part 2, discovered under the heading: Top Tips for Expat Transitions (June '08)

Things I Want to do Over the Next Few Weeks (May '08)

  • I have made it to a few yoga classes since arriving, but I haven't gotten into a routine yet, so my aim is to do so before '09 is over

So I haven't done too poorly, in looking over the lists, but I still have some work to do!

Sunday, 18 October 2009

What's Your Blogging Code of Conduct?

A Free Man's most recent blog post gave me pause to think about my unwritten blogger code of conduct. It's far too easy to say things online that you wouldn't say in person, and easier yet to forget you're saying them to a larger audience. A few things I keep in mind when blogging:
  • No last names (for some level of anonymity)
  • Never bag your significant other; it's just not cool.
  • Never bag your family; they'll get you back.
  • Never say anything you might later be embarrassed to admit you've said (which should really go for verbal speech as well)
  • Never say anything that could get you into real trouble in real life
  • Don't talk about where you work (same reason as why there are no last names)

When I began blogging, it was more so I could retain all of my stories of life abroad in one place, and avoid the dreaded group emails. Now that I can see I've had approximately 4,000 views of my profile in the last 4 years or so, and have my blog listed and writings posted on other expat sites, I realise that I have some responsibility for my actions here, so to speak. I'd love to babble on about my political views, or give you my thoughts on my workplace, but then I'd have to be accountable for pissing somebody off;)

Monday, 12 October 2009

10 Things I Have Succumbed To

Over at Pond Parleys, Michael and Toni are talking about the things they haven't yet succumbed to in their 'new' countries, as well as things they cling to from their place of origin. I thought I'd take a slightly different angle and write about 10 things that I have succumbed to since arriving in Australia over a year and a half ago.

1. Eating kangaroo and Vegemite. Both are healthy and versatile, and both can be ingredients for chili:)

2. While I'm still learning how to speak strine, I reckon it's heaps good not to resist the local slang!

3. (Some) Aussie pronunciations and spelling. I know pronounce my H's (although only when saying the letter on it's own; herb is still 'erb) and Z is 'zed'. U is added to words like colour, labour, harbour, etc and seems like second nature these days.

4. Mint sauce with lamb. Paula will hate me for this...I tried not to, but I had this amazing homemade mint sauce that was just to die for at an xmas in July party, and then some marinated lamb chops last week that were out of this world. If the mint sauce is made well, there are few things comparable!

5. Another one on the food theme is using both a knife and fork to eat my food. It still seems a bit posh, but it actually works pretty well.

6. Roundabouts, which scared the crap out of me about a year ago, make traffic run so much smoother. I still slow down a bit too much at some times when entering them, but better cautious than crumpled I say.

7. Talking to strangers is at least a weekly occurrence here. Back home, I saw the same people at the bus stop for years on end, would never have thought of saying a word to them, and probably would have thought them nuts and had my keys on my knife as a weapon in the case of them speaking up.

8. Haggling in shops is the done thing, particularly if you're buying appliances or furniture, and I've saved a decent amount this way.

9. I have a clothes line in the basement, which I'm sure I've mentioned before, and hang all of my laundry to dry. I do miss a proper vented tumble dryer, and will probably get one again someday, but it's no longer a necessity.

10. Last but not least, having the toilet in a separate room to the bath/shower seems a perfectly acceptable, and even good, set up!

While most of these things felt strange and uncomfortable to begin with, they're now second nature. Hopefully, in another 1 1/2 years I'll have 20 things to list!

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Endless Summer – The Postcards Tour Finale


Michael Harling is a fellow American Expat living in the UK. I believe we met via an expat forum for Americans in the UK, some time ago. (As many of you will recall, I spent over a year living in England.) Michael's been touring the blogosphere, as a guest poster, and has chosen Suzer's Expat Adventures as one of his final destinations. Have a look at his other posts here. And if you have some extra reading time, don't miss Michael's other blog, Pond Parleys, which he 'co-hosts' with fellow British expat in the US, Toni Hargis. By the way, when you do make it to Australia in person Michael, we'll introduce you to our local brew, Cooper's. No one here touches Foster; it's export only I believe!

Endless Summer – The Postcards Tour Finale

I started this tour just as summer was beginning, so it seems fitting to end it just as summer draws to a close and autumn takes over. It’s been fun and I’ve met a lot of great people, but touring is tiring, even in the virtual world, so I’m taking advantage of that magic we call the Internet to round up the Kindness of Strangers Tour by relying on the kindness of several strangers at once. In a way, making my final tour stop to ten locations simultaneously seems the perfect ending for it—one big autumnal burst before quietly fading away.

This tour began as a means of promoting my book, but it soon became an end in itself and took on a life of its own. Very often, I found myself having such a good time “visiting” people around the globe that I forgot to mention the book. To date, my trip has taken me from Britain to Canada, sunny Spain, Tenerife and even back to my own hometown, ending up here in Australia with fellow American expat-Suzer.

This is the perfect place to end my tour because, as summer has drawn to a close back home, it is just beginning down here. Suzer tells me she’s going to put some Fosters on ice and fire up the Barbie (I’m assuming she means she’s going to light the barbeque grill and not set a perky little glamour doll on fire). So as soon as I finish this post we’re heading out back to enjoy the evening, watch the setting sun make the earth glow even redder and listen to the didgeridoos in the distance. I think I’m going to like it here.

I have to say, of all the adventures I might have imagined for my life as a young boy, touring the blogsphere on other people’s blogs was not a contender. But then the idea of leaving my quiet, rural life, moving to England, marrying a foreigner and writing a book about it never occurred to me, either. I’m glad and grateful for having done both, however, and although the tour is coming to an end, the adventure continues.

May yours continue as well.


Thanks and Good-bye from
The 2009 KINDNESS of STRANGERS TOUR?
Visit the Tour Page for the latest Tour updates.

Michael Harling is the author of
Postcards From Across the Pond – dispatches from an accidental expat
“Laugh out loud funny regardless of which side of the pond you call home. Bill Bryson move over, there’s a new American expat in town with a keen sense of humor.”
-- Jeff Yeager, author of “The Ultimate Cheapskate”

Visit the Home Page: http://postcardsfromacrossthepond.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

PC or not to be...PC

Living in the US, I always felt under restriction as to what I could express verbally. America is supposedly the land of free speech, but we have more rules about verbal etiquette than anywhere else I have lived so far. One area of conversation I particularly felt I had to watch my tongue on was race relations. We Yanks are so bloody touchy on this topic. I wonder how some of my fellow Americans would react to me calling myself a minority. How would they feel about me saying I have a better understanding now of what it's like to not feel like I fit in with the majority. I often wondered why immigrants in the US tended to surround themselves with other immigrants, and why it was so common for us to also segregate ourselves based on colour. Part of the answer is that it's just easier. It takes work to try and fit into a new/different culture. Also, those who are in the majority typically just don't understand what those in the minority go through. I've been here for almost a year and a half now and I do have some Australian acquaintences and friends, but more immigrant connections. The Australians I do know and spend time with tend to have had more 'wordly' experiences than most, either having done a stint overseas or a foreign partner, etc. As I continue to settle in, however, I do hold out hope that I'll make more Aussie mates along the way. On that note, my stage 2 visa paperwork came in the post this week. My police check application has been sent off, 1 of the 2 main forms I need to fill out has been started, and I'll be spending part of this weekend trying to finish up the rest. Wish me luck that it's a smooth and short process!

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Culture Shock and Stress

As I was reading this article today, the thought occured to me that I could still be in one of the stages of culture shock. Recently, a few other expats have mentioned to me that they were having trouble coping, either comparing themselves to others and wondering why they weren't enjoying life in Australia just as much, or admitting that they are seriously stressed out and not really happy at the moment.

Usually, I'm more than willing to admit the stress I am under, but since settling here in Australia, my 4th country of residence in as many years, I think I feel as though I should be just that...settled. I have a full-time job, a husband who I've just celebrated my 2nd wedding anniversary with, a house to call my own, and plenty of new friends and acquaintences that I am able to get together with on a regular basis. The thing is, all of these factors have their own complications. I've pretty much given up what were my career aspirations a couple of years back, due to the fact that there aren't as many pathways in Adelaide into my chosen field. On some level, I've come to accept that I will have to take a step back and re-build my skills, some old and some new, in order to someday create a job for myself that is alignment with what makes me happy. It will happen, but it's hard work and takes a lot of patience in the meantime. My husband is doing very well in his career; so well, in fact, that his average home time is probably about 8pm or later most nights. I hate this and it's caused me to have to re-work my expectations of what married life should look like. While I'm hoping it's only temporary, someday I may have to just accept that having a sit down dinner at the table before 7pm every night is never going to happen. Our house is a serious work in progress, and some of the unfinished projects feel like the physical embodiment of my mental state. This, however, should be alleviated in a few months, fingers crossed, although there are a few things I was very much hoping would be rectified before my Aunt's visit in November. Along these lines, I am dying to be able to reciprocate and invite many of my new friends over to the house for a few dinners, parties and such but I really can't yet because of the undone house projects.

I'm less willing to admit what is causing me stress or unhappiness because I don't want the folks back home to be worried, nor do I want the new people in my life to think I'm not doing well. To be honest, I'm not so sure that I'm not doing well; it's simply that some of things have to settle down at some point, and they will. In the meantime, I'm slightly exhausted! This is the first time in weeks, maybe a couple of months, that I have actually felt inspired and witty enough to write something I feel is worthy and coherent. Perhaps that's a good sign, for now anyway.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Slacker Update



Ok so I've been a total slacker with the blog lately. I am very much anticipating the end of winter and the completion of some more house projects, the lack of both of which seems to suck up my mental energy these days. Hubs and I just had a lovely, and needed, anniversary weekend away in McLaren Vale, where we ate heaps, visited numerour wineries, and spent lots of time sitting in the hot tub and sauna. I think we should do this once every couple of months!

Saturday, 15 August 2009

It Won't Be Long Now

Nothing could have made me happier than to see that sing outside of Kmart that read "Kmart hours now, Monday to Friday, 8am to 9pm". Either this is a new thing, or I haven't been paying attention, but I am overjoyed to know that (aside from Thursday nights in the suburbs and Friday night in the city), there is more open after 5pm that just Bunnings and the supermarket. I've never been much for the blue light special, but pickers can't be choosers in Australia. I hope this means Target and Big W will be soon to follow, then the entire shopping centre, and in years to come, all businesses in Oz.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Patriotism and Identity

I've always felt that there was a lot of truth to the supposition that if you don't know who or where you come from, then you can't know (entirely) who you are. To that extent, if you don't know how you fit into your own environment, you can't identify with that culture, and once again, you don't know who you are. A result of misplaced patriotism, racism, and a lack of acceptance of multiculturalism, is the creation of a nation of people who don't know who they are. With each wave of immigration in the US, there has been a corresponding wave of discrimination, and therefore a lack of integration by each new culture into the existing one. America is, to some extent, a nation of teenagers trying to figure out who they are. Australia is quickly following suit.

As mentioned in my last post, I spent some time the other morning reading an article in The Australian Literary Review section of The Australian called Seizing the Sauce Bottle. Tim Soutphommasane speaks to the topic of progressivism in politics, and patriotism as an ideal that should be upheld not as a hindrance to change, but rather the opposite. Too often, we think of patriotism as something that is held as a conservative or racist value rooted in ignorance. As Tim states in his article:
"Loving your country does not mean adhering
to unquestioned myths or mindlessly repeating slogans
but being prepared to contribute to the improvement
of your community or culture."

It raises the questions, what can we, as immigrants, do to contribute, and how have our perspectives on patriotism changed in respect to our views on both oour home and new country, after the move.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

The Daily Paper

I never read the newspaper when I was living in the US. The two local papers held no interest, and it often seemed to me that too much emphasis was placed on which paper you were meant to be reading, based on your ethnic background and/or where you lived in the Chicagoland area. I was also young and uninterested in what was going on locally, which seemed to be the focus of those two papers. Even though world events and travel were more of a focus, even if only in a more general sense, god forbid I think about reading anything from New York, which might have provided a larger world view. The first time the newspaper grabbed my attention was when I was living in the UK. I'd often grab The Guardian on the weekend, and sit reading it for a few hours. I was fascinated. This English paper seemed much more interesting, offering a more socially conscious, and less biased view, than anything I'd read before, on a broader range of topics. The problem with the Australian newspapers, according to what Aussie history and political perspectives I'd read about before arriving here, was that all the media in this country appeared to be controlled by one man, Rupert Murdoch. As a consequence, I haven't bothered much with the paper here, until today. The Advertiser seemed too local, and The Australian too gloomy. This morning, however, a caption on the front page of work's copy of The Australian grabbed my attention. The Battle for Patriotism, it reads, with a subheading of 'Rethinking Oz literature'. More to come later, but if you have access to The Australian today, I encourage you to read the article, Seizing the Sauce Bottle, in The Australian Literary Review. It's the best bit of Australian journalism I've come across in my time down under.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Movies for Old White Racist Bastards

Hubs and I decided to have a movie and take-away night on Saturday. Well, actually I'd have to say that I decided and hubs agreed, provided it didn't involve any chick flicks. Usually we end up with at least one horror film, as that genre suits us both, and true to form we got some terrible thing called Quadrant, which I wouldn't recommend. The other film, Gran Torino, we could also agree on 1) because it somewhat revolves around an automobile [hubs] and 2) it got good reviews [me]. This was my first Clint Eastwood film, and will definitely be my last, unless someone straps me down to a chair and tapes open my eyelids, Clockwork Orange style. Gran Torino is about an old white racist bastard living in Detroit, who transforms into....oh wait, he's still an old white racist bastard at the end of the film. Unless you enjoy hearing racial slurs every 5 minutes, don't bother.

Friday, 3 July 2009

There’s a Road Train Going Nowhere

Do any of you Yanks out there know what a road train is, without looking it up? I certainly had no clue when I first got here, just as I have very little clue what Midnight Oil's songs are about, beyond a superficial, general idea. Having just gotten my first Midnight Oil cd (which of course I couldn't listen to on the way to work, as no one has portable cd players anymore!) I think it's time for a bit more Australian education. Happy Independence Day by the way;)

Monday, 29 June 2009

Feminism and Islam, Part 2

In response to some comments on the other post, it's not always a good idea to assume that wearing a burqa or hijab is always about oppression. Remember what they say; when you assume, you make an ass out of u and me. Did you all know that there was a time in Iran when new leadership imposed a law onto women that forbid them from wearing hijab? Older women who had worn hijab all of their lives stayed inside instead of going out in public. Can you imagine if all women in Australia or the US were forced to wear mini-skirts and expose their midriff?

To play devil's advocate, a certain level of invisibility can be a good thing, as a woman. When I was 16, and then again at 19, and the last time at 24 or 25, I had a shaved head. Majority of men treated me as less than female in public, there were no common flirtations back and forth, and I got so used to it that even now, I sometimes think that should be the norm. Remember, feminism is about choice.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Feminism and Islam

In reading through the newspaper yesterday, I came upon an article discussing French President Nicolas Sarkozy's ban on the burqa in France. His argument was that it was degrading to women, and that France should not allow women to be treated in this way. To be honest, it sounded more as though it was an attempt to force French values on immigrants. This is not the first time aspects of Islam have been surpressed in France. I remember a few years back, there being a ban on hijab in schools. Since when has Mr. Sarkozy become the French authority on what is degrading to women, I ask? When Muslim women move overseas to places like France, they (some, at least) have a choice as to whether they want to wear hijab, just as nuns choose to wear a habit, orthodox Jewish women choose to wear wigs, and those of us who wear our hair down choose the style and length. It seems to me that France is far too worried about change, and imposing French values as a means of avoiding diversity.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Getting Ready for the 4th of July

So I'm hopefully having a couple of guests over for the 4th of July, which is the Yank Australia Day, for those of you who don't know it. It won't be warm, and there won't be any fireworks, but at least I won't have to listen to any hillbilly music either. The baked beans and pineapple cake covered in coconut pecan frosting will be on the menu, as will ribs, hamburgers, hot dogs and potato salad. Absolute bummer of it is that I can't eat the ribs, nor will I ever be able to eat ribs again, unless they are the kind that fall of the bone, which is one of the most gutting things about my recent tooth injury:( Guess I'll have to learn how to cook them that way!

Saturday, 13 June 2009

In Praise of International Students

When are people going to realise that diversity makes things interesting, and is a positive complexity in so many ways. There was a special insert in The Advertiser this past week dealing with international students. If you're not in Australia, you may not realise what has been going on with regard to hate crimes against foreigners lately, mostly interstate but coming home to Adelaide this week as well. One car torched, another person bashed in Rundle mall, and fliers from the Australia First party being distributed around campus that request, "Overseas Students Go Home!" I was an international student, and I'm a foreigner, so I thought I would take a moment to personally address the 5 myths about international students mentioned in Denise Von Wald's (Chief Executive, Education Adelaide) article.

Myth: International students take the place of local students
There was only one English student on my course, which was an MA in International Tourism Management. In this case, Brits were typically more likely to finish a BA in Tourism and then hit the workforce. Had they been interested in the MA course though, there were plenty of places for them available.
Myth: International students pay massively inflated fees to ensure their acceptance into Australian institutions.
I had to pay at least twice as much as domestic students in the UK, and had to undergo the same entrance requirements.
Myth: International students work illegally while they're in Australia.
I spent most of my time in England with other international students, all of whom stuck to their 20 hour per week of allowed time in the workforce, and none of whom were paid under the table.
Myth: International students are all rich.
I took out loans to finance my MA in the UK, which on average, would take an individual 10 years to pay back, at a rate of about $200 a month.
Myth: International students study and leave, giving nothing in return to the SA community
Yes, I left the UK after having spent a year doing a degree, but if nothing else, I certainly stimulated the economy with my local grocery bills and other expenditures. I still have friends from my degree I keep in touch with, and at least one of them, who was from elsewhere in Europe, has stayed in the UK and has filled a niche role in the industry in which she studied.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Let There Be Heat

We finally got our heater installed this past week, and have been enjoying it all the long weekend:)

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Nice Surprises

Everytime I call my Aunt Liz, as soon as she realises it's me, her voice changes when she says: "Susan!" I always thought it was nice but didn't understand how she could be that excited just to hear from me. The other night, my mobile rang at about 8pm and the name that showed up was my husband's brother D_. I was surprised he was ringing me, but then I said hello and heard a response hello and a pause, then..."It's J_", who's my nephew. It was his birthday and he was just ringing to say hi because I'd texted my bro & sis-in-law earlier in the day to wish him a happy birthday from us. It was so cool! It's cheesy but I think I'll always remember my first phone call from my nephew. I now get why Aunt Liz has a change of tone when she realises it's me on the phone.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Just Because I'm a Native English Speaker...

I think Australians forget sometimes that I'm a foreigner too. For some reason, people here don't seem to think it's inappropriate to talk about the things they don't like about immigrants in front of me. Over the past week, I've heard the following negative things about immigrants from various cultural backgrounds:
  • They can't speak properly
  • They're lazy and/or unintelligent
  • They move too slow
  • They smell

It reminds me of being back in the US, and being in a group of whiteys who thought it was ok to make black jokes, although I almost find it more insensitive in this situation, as if I was black and people are making black jokes in front of me...or something to that extent. I speak up sometimes, but it gets real tiresome.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Friendly Doesn't Mean Friends

If there is one thing in Australia that I'll never accept, it is that of people dropping by unexpectedly, or even calling to say they are in the area and wanting to drop in. My plan is to erect a fence at the front of the property as well, with an electric door for the driveway, which will be shut most of the time. I'm not an unfriendly person, but unless I invite you over, in advance, I probably don't want you here. At times, it feels as though I am living in Bizarro World. For example, when the ex rings up Saturday late afternoon and wants to stop by because she is in the area, I want to say: "Huh, what...well, of course not, it's Saturday night and I am spending it with my husband, alone, which I was looking forward to...duh." Instead I must be nice and say "Sorry but it's not a good time. We're very busy and have plans early tomorrow." I want to be friendly, but I don't want to be friends...but I want to be nice and manage boundaries without upsetting anyone. But at least there is pavlova. Yes, I know, this is a strange segway, but I have to acknowledge sometimes that I am living an utterly and completely different life. As the quote on the bottom of the page says, "Life in a foreign country is a dance of submission and resistance. ...you find yourself giving in easily, with a struggle, or not at all." Pavlova, particularly topped with bananas so as to taste similar yet even better than banana cream pie, I can give into easily. People stopping by unexpectedly I would have to give into with a struggle, but would prefer to give in...not at all.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Apoplectic

Main Entry: ap·o·plec·tic
Pronunciation: \ˌa-pə-ˈplek-tik\
Function: adjective
Etymology: French or Late Latin; French apoplectique, from Late Latin apoplecticus, from Greek apoplēktikos, from apoplēssein
Date: 1611
1: of, relating to, or causing stroke2: affected with, inclined to, or showing symptoms of stroke3: of a kind to cause or apparently cause stroke ; also : greatly excited or angered

This is how I feel today, in regards to Australian customer service. More to come depending on the outcome of my encounter with Barbeques Galore tomorrow.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Kitty Kins

There is a local (feral, I think, although here they call them tom cats and reserve the term feral for people) cat who used to use my lawn for his litter box. Now that I have bought a brand new door mat, he has taken to whizzing on my front door, which is wood. I rang the local council and RSPCA today and if it keeps up, will be inquiring with the neighbours to see if he belongs to anyone, then renting a cage to trap him and dropping him off to the RSPCA, who will give him some time, see if he is microchipped, and if not, unltimately euthanise him. I have bought some herbal sprinkles, removed the doormat and washed the screen and front door in hopes this will send him elsewhere, so I don't have to go the cage route:( He's very cute but....

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

I do actually get to celebrate Cinco de Mayo this year, although a far cry from the proper meal as I will be having fish and chips at the pub, with workmates. Hey, at least I will be at the pub, and perhaps I shall get the Aussie bartender to make me something with tequila in it!

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Universal Healthcare -or- Reduced Quality For All

So at the moment I'm $900 out of pocket for medical/dental expenses, with much more to come on the dental side, and hopefully nothing for medical. About $100 of that is getting reimbursed to me from Medicare. Had the doctors and xray techs I'd gone to bulk billed, they would be getting reimbursed, not me, which would be preferable. I've save upwards of $300 on my dental bills with my private hospital & extras cover, which I pay $60 a month for, but that only covers a maximum of $500 total on major dental, and even that is a 12 month wait period, so if I end up needing root canals etc that's all on me. Had this occured in the US, I would have paid $20 total, which was the co-payment for seeing my doctor. My health insurance cost me about $60 per month through work, and my dental $4 per month, again through work. Had I racked up $10,000 in services from the dentist, do you know how much I would have paid? $0, nada! That type of dental insurance doesn't exist in Australia. I had some chest pain and was coughing up blood the other day, so the doctor told me I could wait and see, or go for a chest xray. I chose the latter of course, which turned out fine, and it seems all is well with the chest, both on the xray and physical symptoms, although there is still a need to take it very easy for a week or so, with no strong physical exertion. A doctor in the US would have sent me for some extra tests I'm sure, and maybe even given me some antibiotics to prevent any chest infections. Anyway, this whole rant brings me to the conclusion that if you haven't experience universal healthcare/socialised medicine, don't say you want it just because it gives you a nice, warm and fuzzy feeling to think to everyone being entitled to healthcare. What it means is that yes, everyone gets some coverage, but it will be reduced coverage and less quality care. I agree that children should have coverage regardless, and insurance companies shouldn't be able to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, and that coverage should be reasonably priced for all, but it shouldn't be universal, unless you want mediocre care for all to replace good care for many.

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Two Grandmas and 3 Teeth


My grandma met her first husband singing in a jazz band. She loved music and singing, and when I was a little girl, she used to play her electric organ for me and sing. The most memorable song, which I remember listening to her sing from the living room while I was laying in bed getting ready to go to sleep, was 'All I Want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth'. Both my grandmas were special ladies, and many of the women in my life have taught me how to be a strong woman myself. My other grandma once fell down the stairs of her house going down to the basement and had to lay there with a broken arm all night because there was no one to hear her call. I had my first big fall this week, right down the front steps, landing face first on the concrete driveway. I started bawling just like a little kid does after I tasted blood and ran my tongue along my broken teeth. It looks like I may be getting more than 2 front teeth, and well before Christmas, but it could have been much worse. I've had a lot of support from the ladies back home, and the new friends I've met here, so as much as it pains me to have to go through this, there is some positive out of it.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Australia v America

Not a football match, but the differences in communication and culture, are to be discussed, yet again. Yesterday I went to Lush to pick up some shower gel which I've been coveting since Christmas but being thrify about. I couldn't get to the shelf that Sonic Death Monkey was on as there was a woman sniffing and obviously trying to decide which gel to buy. When she took a sniff of Flying Fox I said to her "That one is really nice." and her response was "It smells awful. I thought something in it had gone off." Truly Australian, the honesty there. Had the same conversation taken place in the US, which is unlikely to start with because we don't talk to each other if it's not out of necessity, she would say smiled and said "Yes, it is." then gone home and told her friends and family about the crazy lady who talked to her at the store. You see, us yanks are suspicious creatures, who are keen to show off, but don't always look for the true connection.

On that note, I got a copy of Yoga Journal in the care package from my mother that came yesterday. As I was reading it on the bus this morning, it struck me how 'American' the magazine felt, and how I really don't enjoy it the way I used to. Half of the magazine is adds for things that will allow you to practice yoga whilst looking better, and most of the articles which aren't about yoga positions revolve around things like finding oneself or how to be a better person.

What's wrong with us yanks that we don't know who we are without reading a magazine, and that we need to show a good front, but are wary of talking to and/or getting to know our neighbours?

Friday, 17 April 2009

Friends

I'm referring to the actual physical beings, not the television show. Yesterday I had lunch with a small group of expat women, who came from places as far as the US, Canada, China, Colombia and Singapore. One of our main topics of conversation was that of friendship and the feeling of belonging/identity. Three of are married to Aussie blokes, and for us, this poses a particular challenge. Not that Aussie lads are inherently flawed, but more so that fitting into their circle of friends is a hard path to go down, at times. This could be said for anyone moving to their partner's country and trying to find their way into a life already begun. If I haven't mentioned before, when I got my spousal visa for Australia, a part of the application was a form titled the 'Australian Values Statement' that I had to sign, saying that I agreed to accept Australian values. While I thought the while thing was highly ethnocentrically biased, I did get a slight laugh over the value of 'mateship'. Since then, I've found that it's no laughing matter. I was warned about this by a fellow expat who'd previously lived in Oz, but paid it little attention at the time. My husband's mates go back many, many years. It's wonderful that he has had some of those friends for 15 years or so, and majority of them I have no objection to. In fact, I even like some of them;) What has not been so comfortable is that, in true incestuous Adelaide nature, some of those friends are also ex-girlfriends. One of those has been very nice to me and is well and truly over my man, so it's less of an issue these days. That being said, it was a little odd going to a bbq the other month. The scenario: myself, my husband, his best mate, his best mate's wife (who is best mate's with my husband's ex-fiance), hubs ex-fiance, and hub's ex-fiance's new boyfriend. That is a mouthful, hey? Now, as I said, I like the ex, she's been super nice and welcoming to me and actually gone out of her way in doing so, and she's my husband's clubbing partner, which means I know he's hanging out with quality people at least when he does go out amongst the less geriatric crowd;) That being said, there is something about spending your Saturday night with someone your husband has seen naked...a lot. There was a moment that evening when hubs and best mate were chatting away, ex and best mate's wife were chatting away, and ex's new boyfriend and I just looked at each other and had a good eye roll.

Part of my not feeling like I fit in here, or in with the hub's crowd more specifically, is my own insecurity, part of it is that I have little in common (could be perception) with the mates, that they have this bond that I'm going to have to be patient to wait to be any part of, and part of it could be that I'm not trying hard enough. I'm hopeful than when the porch is done, the dining room is cleaned up, and the heater is in, I can actually begin to entertain a bit more and rectify some of this. In the meantime, it's an other example of the patience and flexibility needed in the expat lifestyle.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

In the Grand 'Ole English Tradition

Australians, at least here in Adelaide, seem to relish in holding onto certain English traditions. Cuisine is a prime example, fish 'n chips being on every pub menu, servings of Christmas pudding and/or fruit cake placed on every holiday table, and ridiculously huge chocolate eggs everywhere you look at Easter. Taking a public holiday for Boxing Day and celebrating the cricket is standard, and of course keeping the Queen as the head of state....for now anyway.

The most English, and to my mind most offensive 'Briticism' is the tradition of being sick in the street. As I may have mentioned once or twice before, it doesn't take until the end of the night, but vomit starts to appear on the pavement around 10 or 11pm. Happy hour may have something to do with this, so too may alco-pops, which fuel binge drinking. The thing about binge drinking is that is causes no embarrassment to those who partake here. I'm not sure if this indicates a lack of values impressed upon Australians whilst growing up, or if it is truly a part of the national culture. I am not the only one who thinks this tradition needs to be curbed. The local politicians, headed by Julia Gillard, are pushing to have the tax on alco-pops increased. As alcohol here in Oz is expensive as is, many are crying out that this is an infringement on their right to get shit-faced at a reasonable price, and appealing for public empathy by decrying the measure as revenue raising. I for one am all for it, particularly if the extra funds are used to bring on more police persons and night-time street cleaners!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Hobart - A Tale of Two Heads, part 2

The new plan is to do a write up on every city/location I visit as a tourist, in a vain attempt to progress as an amateur (travel) writer. I've been doing some writing on topics such as travel, the expat experience, and marriage over the past few months, all for free of course, and submitted to various web sites and blogs (links are on the left hand side if you haven't already seen). Hobart is next, so I think I'll just play around here to begin with.

As my third city to see in Australia, it was a toss up between Melbourne and Hobart. With four days off for the Easter holiday, adding a couple more on wasn't a problem to extend the 'respite' from the rigours of life in Adelaide a bit longer;) The budget airlines were competing for our business, and as Tiger managed a bit better of a deal to Tassie, we decided to save Melbourne for a time when we could afford a week or more, and do the trip properly by going the Great Ocean Road. So we booked our flights, sorted out a private room at Hobart Hostel, looked through the Lonely Planet and spoke to a few mates, then shelved any further plans until about a week before the trip. Feeling too cheap to pay for a rental car, we decided on doing it all by foot and public transport, which worked out surprisingly well.

Landing in Hobart at lunchtime on the Wednesday before Easter weekend, we dropped our bags at the hostel and headed out to have a look around the city and grab some lunch. After a wander through the Elizabeth Street Mall, we decided to go for the $7 foot-long special at Subway and listen to some street entertainment. Not your typical buskers were these few young lads playing classical music. A further wander around the waterfront brought us to the Lark Distillery, recommended by one of my workmates for a good nip. Although what they have on offer is expensive, even for Australia, you can get a good range of tasting samples for $7.50. The key is to do like us and share, as well as ask for more of what they have out than what they initially offer. If you don't behave like a twat, and the bartender is nice, which they all seem to be there, you can happily enjoy enough to get slightly warm. On offer is a range of scotch whiskey, gin, apple and cherry liqueurs, as well as some lovely pepperberry bush liqueur, made with an herb unique to Tassie.

On Thursday we attempted to make the best of our last day with public transport, so we headed off to the Cadbury Factory. About 4 hours and $40 removed, each, we came back into town with bags heavily laden with chocolates etc. Although the costs were extremely reasonable on the chocs, we both agreed that the $15 charge for the 'factory tour' was the biggest rip off we'd encountered in our history as tourists. For the fee, we were sat in front of a TV screen for 1/2 an hour and given the tiniest box of Favourites you ever did see. Apparently the factory has been closed to visitors for over a year, due to health and safety reasons. I strongly encourage you to take public transport to Cadbury ($4.40 all day bus pass in Hobart) and skip the 'tour' at Cadbury in favour of spending the extra cash on the important stuff. A more worthwhile tour is the $10 Hobart Penitentiary Ghost Tour, which we went on later that night.

Unfortunately we didn't make the best use of our all day bus pass, and forgot we wanted to go to Richmond, a pictueresque little town about a 1/2 an hour from Hobart. After a long walk through Battery Point and Salamanca Place on Friday, we called around and found out there was a means of transport, for $25 each, that would get us to Richmond. Although it killed us to shell out, it was well worth going. The oldest bridge in Australia was awaiting our viewing pleasure, and various other architectural beauties took us about 2 hours to see, after which we stopped at the Richmond Arms Hotel for a pint. The Royal Tasmanian Botanic Gardens was a must see on the way back into Hobart, where we quickly made a path across the lawn to see all we could in the 1/2 hour we had left until closing. That evening we headed off to Axum Ethiopian Restaurant, which also doubles as an internet cafe. We were the only diners there, and it wasn't the best Ethiopian we had, but after a day of hiking around, it was a welcome meal.

On Sunday, our last day in Hobart, and also Easter, we did an hour long hike up to the Cascade Brewery for a long lunch and beer tasting. We decided to forego the tour and instead spent about 3 hours trying a few brews, having a tasty meal and wandering the grounds. It was well worth the walk there, and afterwards we cut across, still on foot, to Wrest Point, where we treated ourselves to a couple of Long Islands and a sit outside the Casino, where we watched a fantastic sunset. A short walk further on was Sandy Bay, where we stopped for Chinese before heading back to the hostel.

As you can see there is plenty to do in Hobart, even on foot. We'll definitely be back to Tassie, and might even get a car next time;)

Monday, 13 April 2009

Two Heads Are Better Than One



















We saw this on a cap in one of the tourist shops in Hobart, which also had two little Tasmanian tiger heads on top. Australians are known for their strong tendency to take the piss on other states than the ones they live in, but it's interesting to see Tasmanians making fun of themselves. If you haven't figured it out, Tasmanians get teased about being inbred.

More to come, as we are just home tonight and I'm tired. A list of some places we visited over the 5 days we spent in Hobart are below. Further descriptions will follow.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Things I Said I'd Do Next Year

Because I was too busy, I decided to skip a lot of things this past year, saying I'd do them next year. Well, now is the time to start doing those things, and in order to do so, I need to try and remember what they are and make a list.
  • OzAsia Festival (3-17 Oct 2009)
  • Russian Film Festival (Nov 2009)
  • Mexican Film Festival (Dec 2009)
  • Adelaide Film Festival (Feb 2009)
  • Man Alive (March 2010, I hope)
  • Womad (March 2010)
  • Fringe (Possibly more of it, although to be honest I thought the program was a bit lame) (Feb/March 2010)
  • Indofest & an Indian festival, name of I don't remember (both March/April 2009)
  • French Film Festival (April 2009)
  • Spanish Film Festival (May be able to make this one this year, as it is 14-17 May)
  • Adelaide Festival (reputed to be better than the Fringe and on every 2 years only, 26 Feb - 14 March 2010)

Saturday, 4 April 2009

This Marriage Thing - Navigating Love Abroad

Dina at This Marriage Thing asked me to be a guest blogger back in January. Thing is, there's some kind of script error over on her blog, and you can only see my entry if you have Mozilla Firefox, so I've decided to paste my article here as well.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I’m delighted to have my friend, Susan, guest blog today. We’re kinda kindred spirits. She’s an ex-pat from the States. And, I feel like one from work now that I’ve retired, eh, transitioned, uh whatever. Enjoy!

When I saw that Dina was looking to broaden the focus of This Marriage Thing, I was hoping there might be some room to address the issue of what it’s like to begin or move a marriage overseas. Since meeting on a backpacker tour of Ireland, my husband and I have lived and loved in four different countries, before we were finally able to settle down in his home country of Australia. Along the way, we have faced challenges particular to a marriage on the move.

Starting on the Road

As I said, my husband and I met in Ireland. At the time we were both living in different parts of England, myself while studying and himself on a working holiday. For 8 months, we met up every 2 or 3 weeks on weekends, and for our last 4 months in the country, after my degree was complete, I moved into his London flat. This involved my husband staying in the UK longer than originally planned. In fact, he was away from home for a couple of years longer than he’d expected to be as a result of meeting me and I ended up permanently moving to a country I had intentionally left off my list of places to ever even visit. We found ourselves talking about marriage 4 months into the relationship, much sooner than we would have if we didn’t have to think about how to avoid living 10,000 miles apart. We went from the UK to a long visit to the US, then on to Australia where I got a working holiday visa for a few months, simply because he wanted me to suss it out before he felt ok with my decision to move there permanently. After that, we were off to New Zealand, where we got married and spent the better part of our time there waiting out a spousal visa. Almost 3 years later, we’ve now been back in Australia for about 9 months, where we are being patient with settling back into our home and marriage.

Making Allowances for Excess Baggage

I’ve found over the years that being an expat partner/spouse adds a lot more complexity to a relationship, making essential relationship values such as flexibility and patience even more important. Both partners need to be committed to being open-minded about the challenges they will face when one or both are moving to a new country. New expats need to be a bit more open to trying new things, and those partners who are already in their home country need to accept that flexibility is essential and some things they take for granted may not be (at least immediately) acceptable to their immigrant spouse/partner. Stubbornness and resistance to change can cause roadblocks and unhappiness in any relationship, but can be the downfall of an expat relationship.

Growing Up and Making Space

I’ve matured so much since I met my husband; some of the growing pains including crying myself to sleep when I felt my husband wasn’t being understanding enough. An important thing I’ve learned is that you can’t expect your spouse to fully understand what you are going through if you’ve moved to his/her country. They can sympathise, even empathise, but they will never know exactly how you feel, just as you yourself could not have imagined what it would really be like before you stepped off the plane. One person can never be everything to you, but as an expat, you have to make a special effort not to only unburden yourself on your significant other.

The story of the filing cabinet is a perfect example of how two people can view something in two completely different ways due to two entirely different mindsets. This comes up in any marriage, and as we all know, it’s not always about who is right or wrong, but how to deal with the situation in a way that works for both people and doesn’t hurt anyone. As it goes, I didn’t have a car here for the first 7 months or so, and had to rely on public transport or my husband to go anywhere. One weekend, I asked my husband to drive me to the local shop as they had a great deal on a filing cabinet. He was tired, and said no, so I ranted and raved and cried about how I felt like I was trapped, to no avail. I felt terrible and not understood at all, and my husband had a few choice words for how he thought I was acting. Neither of us truly understood the other. My husband eventually did do some running around looking for me, but couldn’t find that one. I still need the filing cabinet, but I haven’t seen as good a sale since then and I’ve been in between jobs until recently. The moral of the story: buy a car, even if it is cosmetically challenged and 15 years old. And remember, just because two people come from English speaking countries doesn’t mean cultural differences in communication methods don’t exist, but that’s an entirely new story.

Changing your Itinerary

As I tell people, being an expat is a wonderful opportunity to re-create yourself. You not only should but also need to develop new interests in your new home. Talents you’ve always had but perhaps never put into action become more apparent, and important. You’ll need to create something of your own in order to gain independence as well as keep yourself busy and meeting new people. Being an expat is an excellent confidence builder if you treat it as an opportunity. My husband was afraid when we met that we didn’t share enough interests, but as his father said, it’s been a blessing that we don’t, particularly in this situation. His friends are lovely, but I’m enjoying making my own. I’ve been forced to cast away my shyness. I’ve even formed an expat social group that has grown to 150 members in under a year. We meet up once a month for drinks and conversation, and I’ve met most of my new friends this way. You may ask how an admittedly shy person got the courage to begin and host a new social group. The answer is out of necessity. As an expat, you have to get used to meeting and socialising with strangers, unless you are ok with being very lonely. I can almost say I hated Adelaide the first time I was here, and while living in New Zealand, I knew I had to do something to change that, or I’d be leading a very unhappy life. This is home for my husband, and I could see very early on that he wouldn’t be happy anywhere else. I knew I could find things to make Adelaide work for me, so I did.

Arriving at Your Destination

One essential component of any relationship, and a key to successfully negotiating a change or new situation, is patience, and you must constantly remember that it takes time to settle and grow into anything. Marriage is a growing process, and the destination is not as important as the path. My husband and I still have a lot to learn, but we’ve certainly become more flexible, understanding partners because of the extra hurdles we’ve had to go through. We appreciate the very existence of our relationship that much more, I would say, now that we’ve had to work so hard to maintain it’s very existence in the same location. If you can handle a relationship abroad with grace and success, you can handle anything!

Friday, 3 April 2009

One Year In

Today is my 1st anniversary of entering Australia on my spousal visa. I've spent this year job hunting, fixing up a house, meeting new people and attempting to form some new friendships, getting acclimated to my new husband, his friends and family, and developing some new hobbies for myself. It's been full on, and stressful at times, but also good for the soul, as my Aunt Liz would say. I'm still getting used to being a wife (but loving it), looking for the right permanent job, observing the (work in progress) house looking hugely better than it did 12 months ago, inside and out, and I'm doing a lot of things I always wanted to do but never made the time for. People keep telling me I seem to have settled in very well, etc and in some sense I have, but without wishing the next year away, I'm looking forward to being even more settled in this time next year. Let no one fool you with outside appearances; it is loads of work, but it's worthwhile at the end of the day...most days;)

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

You Know You're in Australia When...

  • Outlook's spell checker tries to change chocs to chooks:/
  • People respond to your questions by calling you stupid, for example at the post office when you ask for the post code for Brisbane and they say "Stoooopid...it's 4000, duh" (Nah they didn't say it quite like that but the tone was the same.)

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

The Woman of the House

I like what my mom used to say when contractors told her to talk to her husband and get back to them..."This is my house." Well, my house isn't my house yet, and even when it is, it won't be my house but our house. While my husband watched Clipsal all weekend (well most of...he did dig some holes in the yard and help me out on commercials, so I can't say he wasn't productive), I did the following, all on Sunday no less!


  • Went to the hardware store and bought string, fly screen and spline, that stuff you put around the door frame to keep out draft, mirror brackets, and an electic hedgetrimmer
  • Hooked up my new toy and trimmed some bushes. I love love love the hedgetrimmer and wish I had bought one months ago
  • With hubs help, cleaned and re-screened 3 windows
  • Scraped the old stuff from the door frame, cleaned it up, and put the new stuff on. (Man I wish I knew what that stuff was called!)
  • Decided the mirror is too thin for the brackets, so they'll go back next week when I go back to get more fly screen

Home ownership is not for wussies.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Adelaide's Finer Moments

As thousands of people ventured out from Australian trailer parks this weekend to watch Clipsal, I was reminded of this video. Oh go on, you know you want to.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Entitlement

One of the things that gets under my skin about Americans is their sense of entitlement. I was going to say people, but it does seem to me that Americans are worse than the average (at least the average Australian). It's never bothered me to pay taxes, and I've never felt as though I pay too much, in any country I live in. Now that I've had experience working in the public sector, I wonder how the measly amount we actually pay in taxes manages to foot the bill. Well, it doesn't really, in many cases, does it. I'm glad our president agrees with me that the sense of entitlement many people (ahem, AIG execs for instance) is an issue. This seems to be a recurrent theme this week in the life of Suzer, and there are a few people I've come across who I'd have loved to tell to get over themselves, but I've restrained myself. Anyway, here's to the weekend.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Why Going Home is Important

I often hear people talk about not having been home in years, sometimes upwards of five, which seems amazing to me. I do know quite often it is for financial reasons or justnot being able to find the time that finds people from going home, but 2 years seemed long to me, and I am going to try to not ever let it be that long again in between visits. Aside from the obvious of seeing family and friends (and pets!), going home can be a refreshing break and a much needed change of pace. I forgot what it was like to be single, and kept finding myself behaving in ways here that the old suzer wouldn't have approved of. I had turned into a nagging, dependent wife who did far too much housework and worried all the time about house repairs and money. For two weeks, I left that me behind, and at the end of the visit, I was not going back to her. No more will I be calling my husband to find out what time he will be getting home from work, panicking about him spending all of Saturday on the internet, or getting headaches from clenching my jaws over all the house repairs that need doing. I'm over it.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Forgoing Duty Free Alcohol...

for the premium lounge. Well, it was either $45 for alcohol or $30 for five hours in a lounge with internet access, free food, showers, and a place to nap in front of the beautiful mountains in Vancouver, so I chose the latter. It sucks leaving home after a visit. I'm all gross from crying.

Friday, 20 February 2009

More Cowbell


Um, actually I meant to say...more snow, whoo-hoo! We may get 6 inches or more tomorrow night. As the stupid blonde chick said in the airport, BOO YEAH!

The Gold





So I think I've babbled on about the old girl scout song before ( I bloody hated the girl scouts by the way ), but these are some of the golds. It's great to catch up with old friends:)