I love a sunburnt country, A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!
– Excerpt from My Country, by Dorothea Mackellar
Happy Australia Day.
I miss the place I have called home for the last 14 years. Usually it’s the middle of summer, and there’s be BBQs, beach trips and fireworks. However this year, I’m on the other side of the world, where it’s winter, and only a handful of people are aware of what the day actually symbolizes.
After living in America for a total of 9 months in the last 2 years, I have come to appreciate Australia and the life I have there so much. There are so many good things about America that Australia doesn’t do quite so well, but there are a huge bunch of things that Australia does really really well, that I totally have taken for granted my whole life, and didn’t realize until I cam here.
The thing I miss and love most about Australia:
I love them. You don’t have to pay to park (like at American beaches), there are lifeguard who are usually good looking, the water is usually warm, and the sand is white. The waves are good, and the views are beautiful. And despite the news stories, there aren’t really any more shark attacks than anywhere else in the world. I’ve never seen one, not known anyone who’s been attacked by one.
Milo. Chicken chips. Pub meals. Yoghurt. Mangos. Chicken salt. Tim Tams. Sausages. Things made with sugar and not corn syrup. BREAD! Meat pies and sausage rolls. And those little squeezy tomato sauce (not ketchup) packets that you get with them!
Not only is it worth more than the US Dollar at the moment, but the notes are coloured (meaning you don’t need to check twice that you’re tipping the pizza delivery man $3 and not $60), and the silver coins make sense – the largest is worth the most and the smallest is worth the least! Plus, the notes are plastic, so you can go to the beach with money in your board-shorts pocket and not worry about it turning into paper mache!
Melbourne and Sydney in particular. Sydney Harbour. The trams in Melbourne. Manly Beach. The sheer size of the crowd that can fit in the MCG. Oatley. St Kilda Beach. Fireworks on the Harbour Bridge on NYE… it just goes on and on.
I discovered a new love for AFL last year, and it has grown since realizing that American football is more advertising and switching of players than it is actually a sport. I mean, in which other sport do you see guys in short-shorts launching themselves off another guys shoulders? Not many… Plus, the fans are friendly (except for the Collingwood ones.. hehe) and enthusiastic. There is nothing like the roar of an AFL crowd (except maybe the cheer of a basketball crowd here, as I have learned). I even kind of miss Cricket…
The Health System
Free hospital treatment? Check. Cheap doctors’ appointments? Check. Decently priced prescription medication? Check. This is the number one reason why I would never choose to live* in the USA over Australia. (*as in, for the rest of my life).
Never Feeling Underdressed
Thongs*? Check. Singlet? Check. Bikini Top? Check. Shorts or skirt? Check. You’re ready to go.
Seriously, Americans get ripped off. We get so many more days off work. PAID.
The Blue Mountains. Kangaroos. Emus. Koalas. Frangipanis… the list is endless.
We Know How to Make Fun of Ourselves
And we have some pretty funny comedians… check this out!
I have a lot to say about the wonderful country that I have called home for the last 13 years. But the main thing I have to say is that I miss it. A lot.
Happy ‘Stralya Day