Thursday, 8 December 2011

My Aunt Lydia Shelf

I got a fantastic package in the mail yesterday, from my Mom and Aunts Liz (& Lydia).  I really should have taken a photo upon opening it up - everything was secured in bubble wrap, and with absolute care and attention to detail, which was no great surprise, as that care and attention are all I saw when I went home on my last visit.  For the past 15 years, since the death of my Aunt Rose, my Aunt Lydia has lived near us, and I think her last few years were some of the happiest in her life, due in part to her own wonderful attitude towards life, and the presence of her two sisters being nearby.  Aunt Lydia could teach us all a thing or two, about being not only open but enthusiastic to new situations and people, always keen to make a new friend, and content with living in the moment.  I was lucky to inherit all of her White Sox memorabilia, and found a nice spot to display it proudly.


Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Sunny with a Chance of Storms

Tomorrow is my Aussie work team Christmas day out. The weather is forecast to be sunny and 34 (or 92 for you Camericans). We'll be sailing, or catamaraning, to be more exact, then having a nice lunch, followed by some cricket or perhaps another drink or two, for those of us who can't drag ourselves from the pub to the dry zone. Add to this the fact that after over 4 years in the Southern hemisphere, I finally feel settled in and am looking forward to the holiday season in the heat, and I should be totally stoked. My bag is packed with sun tan lotion, a hat, a scarf, and a mango slicer, but I've lost my enthusiasm. A little after 9am perhaps, a sound such as that you might hear coming from a local mosque started to grow louder. Slowly, my co-workers gathered at the window. (Keep in mind that I've seen Australians march in the streets every few months these past couple of years that I've had the privilege to work in my current job.) The men went first, and then the women all joined hands and gathered onto the road, slowly beginning their own chant, and helping to hold up hand made banners, giving name to Imam Hussein. Apparently, he was a martyr killed in 680AD and this walk was part of the traditional Ashura commemorations, a Muslim holiday season of sorts. Unfortunately some of my co-workers decided it was an appropriate time to vent their personal opinions. The Muslims must be protesting, it was assumed, and perhaps because they had not yet turned Australia into a Muslim state. Traditional festivities in local schools are no longer going ahead, and it's the fault of the foreigners. Dear god, this is Adelaide, and we certainly wouldn't want any changes! If you've seen the world headlines today, you'll know that not all marches went on peacefully today, with only background noise. One wonders if any of those out on King William Street today might have been out in the crowd of which almost 30 people were killed today, had they not been given refuge here in South Australia. Don't get me wrong; I love coming into work and seeing a Christmas tree and reindeer on display, but I'm not always sure it's worth the trade off. I think we foreigners need a catch phrase. We're queer, We're here! is already taken but the simple fact is, we're here. We're here to stay. We're here and we all need to be accepted. We're here and we need to be able to bring our traditions with us, and celebrate who we are. If we aren't accepted, we can't integrate, and if we can't integrate, what does the future of Australia look like. Pretty bleak, I think...