Wednesday, March 08, 2006

We have grey days too...

I got an email today from Anita. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you will know Anita and I enjoyed many pointless, multitudinous and hilariously random email exchanges during working hours. It is sad to think that the instant gratification of emailing each other during working hours, whilst in the same time zone, brought is no longer... Alas, I will have to make do with lonely, solitary emailing knowing that Anita will not read my often funny emails for at least another 10 hours. *sigh*

So, Ian says I should blog as this has turned into a cross between a David Attenborough nature doco and a twisted version of A Place Down Under... Not that Ian is half as crass as that one English woman who moved from London to Queensland then proceeded to slag off everything about the place from people who went about barefoot (shock horror!) to the fact that Australian's swear (Good God what is the world coming to!?).

In an effort to stop myself ranting at her seemingly unending ignorance I tried to understand why this woman bothered to move here if she could not accept anything at all about the people, or the place with any grace at all. I came to the conclusion that living in another country successfully is not about accepting the differences in culture, food, language (although that does help). No, it is more about leaving those things you draw comfort from behind successfully. What do I mean? You've heard it before - the Aussie in London who craves Tim Tams or the Brit in Sydney who would give their right arm for proper fish, chips and mushie peas.

The things we miss when we live in another country are not intrinsic to our survival - however, if we let them, they can ruin the reward that a search for an alternative can bring. I spent the first year in London trying to find a decent coffee. Six years along I can not honestly say I found one in all of England. Especially now I am back in Melbourne and coffee here is just simply the best. Well, except for the coffee in Spain which is truly scrumptious. Having said that, I drink more tea now than ever before and people, the English do it best.

Living in another place should be an adventure where you go from one exciting discovery to another. I know my main focus in terms of differences between places tends to be centered around food. It may be something completely different for someone else. But what we draw comfort, a sense of familiarity and belonging from is important to recognise if you plan on living somewhere else for a long stretch of time.

I watch Ian with interest as he navigates the things around us that I easily accept. I got a text from him yesterday which made me laugh. A Labor politician called Simon Crean, who won a preselection vote to retain his seat declared his win a shoo in using the expression "we shat it in". Ian's comment was "Your country is not like my country" True. It would be unlikely to hear any British MP speak a similar sentiment in language like that. Then again, would a British MP have been the head of a major union at one time in his career? Who knows?

The guy who sits over the partition from me at the moment is training a young woman from Bangalore. I overheard him declaring that to use terms like 'Dear' or 'Yours sincerely' in any form of written correspondence is outdated and old fashioned and while we in Australia stopped using them some time ago that practice seems to have continued on in India. The undertone there was that we, over here, are a little more enlightened and relaxed.

I had to stand up and gently say that terms like that are certainly not outdated and that during my time in England I found they are used constantly and generously. She was overjoyed to have a little support and he looked rather sheepish and simply dropped the subject. I have no idea what that was all about but it struck me that perhaps Australians are just a little too relaxed for their own good. And is that, in and of itself a good or a bad thing?

I could go on but I won't at this point for if anyone still does read this blog I want our life here in day to day terms to be what you read about. Not my opinion.

I am having lunch today with my friend who works here and helped me get the job and a colleague or hers. I am looking forward to some girly chatter but also for a little advice and direction regarding the potential role I may have here. I have a meeting tomorrow to discuss what part I could play in the new structure and I do not want to sell my self short or take the soft option. Too many friends would kill me if I did that!

It was actually a bit grey out there when I started this post but it seems to be clearing up. I can see a lovely sail boat on the bay this morning, white sails aloft against the blue of the water. Melbourne looks pretty from here. Pretty and silent. I can see the trains, trams and cars moving but can not hear them. Its an easy perspective from up here you know. However I know the ugly side of Melbourne is there, the more I dig the more I see. I'm glad I set down my rose coloured glasses a long time ago, I think I would be very disappointed in my hometown if had not done so.

As it is I know Melbourne, Australia is like every other city in the Western world. Full of promise and excitement for those who can afford to partake. I do not like what the present government is doing to my country and I hope that one day soon, there is an alternative for at the moment there just isn't.

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