- COME BACK. Seriously. It’s a little weird how much I miss you considering I don’t actually see you that consistently. But right now I miss you a lot and you need to COME BACK.
- The beach says hi. So do the parents.
- Since you did the rambly reflection bit, I’ll do a little bit of the talking about our trip bit. It may seem strange to everyone else, since I’m writing this letter to you, and you were just here. But we didn’t do that much debriefing about Australia in person so I can talk to you about it here without it being a contrived exercise.
Okay, it’s a little bit of a contrived exercise, but who cares.
I’m not sure what you expected from Australia before we got here. I’m honestly not entirely sure what I expected either, but if I had to put it into words, I think I expected it to be a lot like a warmer version of the UK, given that they drive on the wrong side of the road, recognize the queen, follow the traditions of morning and afternoon tea, and so on.
But it’s a lot more like home than I realized. Perhaps I should have expected this. Both the US and Australia are former British colonies with troubling, violent histories with their native populations. We are both heavily more heavily populated on the coasts. They have a Senate and a House of Representatives, and so do we. There are American brands in the grocery stores, and familiar cars on the streets. They have a weird fixation with KFC.
These are over simplified comparisons, but I’ve been thinking about them a lot. Especially in the context of questions both nations have faced, such as gun control – which Australia clearly got right, and we still get horrifically wrong.
The most striking differences for me, however, have been the more personal ones. The immediacy of the river, and the wide, uninterrupted spread of the sky. The shape of the hills and rocks in the distance, the way the sun hits the balcony in the morning and hides behind the bend in the river in the evening. The missing loop of Food Network shows in the background. Lorikeets, ibises, bush turkeys instead of starlings and squirrels. Dad and I went to the beach on Wednesday where the water was over my head within five feet of the shore, and there was a swift current you could ride like a lazy river. There may be beaches like that back home, but I certainly wouldn’t know where to find them.
I’m sure there are people in Brisbane who live as far from the river as we did back in Alexandria. For them it’s probably not the city’s central feature, but for me it colors everything.
Anyway, these are my mostly half formed musings. I hope you’ll note that I haven’t used the word interesting yet, though I feel like we may have a similar predicament on our hands. I’m so glad you’re feeling more comfortable. I’ll do my best to help you keep it that way! I owe myself and the world some reflections as well, but since I’m turning 27 in less than two weeks, I’ll save it for then. Having a birthday so close to the New Year is the perfect excuse for procrastination.
In the mean time, stay warm! Eat tasty things! Think loving thoughts about Jack Robinson!
Love you lots,
P.S. AWKWARD FIG TREE