|We’re always fascinated with these puffy flowers, often found in tropical climates.|
There are so many aspects to living in Australia that we find endearing, humorous, and pleasantly surprised that it would take days to write about them all.
Instead, today, we’re sharing some of those thoughts and perspectives. Sure, our opinions are tainted with our long-established Americanized views (some of which are wafting away as we travel the world) but, after traveling to countless countries we’re beginning to feel we’re acquiring an ability to make a fair observation.
|This creature was in the living room with us. We scooped it up in the dustpan putting it outside on the grass. Immediately, it ran back toward the open door to the house. Picking it up a second time, Tom took it out to the rainforest in the back yard. We’d expected to see more insects in the house in Australia and although we’ve seen quite a few, there hasn’t been nearly as many as there were in Kenya and South Africa. As we were warned, flies are rampantly preventing us from keeping the doors open. There are no screens in the house other than two small windows, one in the living room and another in the bedroom.|
And for those of you out there that always hover on the side of being “politically correct,” which we strive to accomplish in a subtle manner, we may seem to be generalizing and stereotyping an entire continent and culture.
We can’t help it. Australians are simply unique in many wonderful ways! To say everyone falls into the wonderfulness category would be foolhardy since every country has some less than desirable types. Thus, we don’t include them in this category.
|Sunrise, this morning, which ultimately brought a sunny day.|
However, there is a common thread that appears to run through the Australian people that we’ve observed over and over again, everywhere we go, in literally everything we do.
Australians are fun, friendly, generous, and considerate people. Their manners are impeccable. They laugh easily and find a way to bring humor into many situations and yet remain sensitive, often easily showing emotions in times of worry, compassion, and sorrow.
When we spent 18 days on the cruise on our way to Australia with over 1400 Australians on board, we had the most fun we’d ever had on a cruise, day after day, night after night.
|Limes grow in the yard ready for picking. Guacamole, here we come, using pork rinds for dipping.|
Early on in that cruise, Tom and I both noticed our feet were swollen, a condition neither of us normally experienced. It was due to sitting with people all day long, drinking our iced tea (and other beverages for Tom) while engaged in lively conversations, often laughing our butts off, hardly moving from our seats.
After a few days, we made a point of getting up and walking around a bit while the other of us held our seats and the ongoing delightful banter. The swelling dissipated in a few days while we continued having such an extraordinary time.
|Tom, reaching up to pick a lime.|
Living in Trinity Beach we didn’t have an opportunity to make new friends. The privacy of the house and the fact that we hadn’t gone out to meet people at social functions and various establishments was entirely our own fault.
By perusing menus at dozens of local restaurants, we realized it was too risky to dine in restaurants while here. Although the options sounded tasty, many included sauces with ingredients I can’t have.
Also, when foods are cooked in pans with gluten, sugar, or starch, my food could easily be contaminated if cooked in the same pans. Few restaurants throughout the world make this accommodation, although, we’ve been lucky on cruise ships and dining in some restaurants.
|On a walk in the area on this narrow road.|
Had we gone out to the pubs and casual dining, most assuredly, we’d have made new friends. I practically made friends while grocery shopping at Woolie’s (Woolworth’s) or the pharmacy where even the other shoppers often started up conversations, let alone the friendly staff.
Whether we were walking on the beach running into others doing the same, sitting on a bench in a park, or walking down the street, friendliness is the expected norm in Australia.
In our old lives, I walked almost every day, often in cold weather. Living in the same neighborhood for 26 years, I’d often encountered the same people on a regular walk.
|It’s hard to avoid taking more photos of these Flintstone’s character statues in a nearby yard.|
A friendly nod or hello may have been in order, but a conversation was seldom to be had. The busy nature and fast pace of life in the US, often attributed to keeping people constantly on the move, seldom with time for idle chatter. We were no different. The pace of that life contributed to our desire to travel the world.
But, that life was our norm. We never questioned it. We had our own little neighborhood and circle of friends, rarely stepping outside that safe cocoon of people we knew and loved, still staying in touch with many of them today.
This is not to say that people haven’t been friendly in other countries. We had a phenomenal time we’ll always treasure with many new friends we made in South Africa, hopefully, to return someday to see them all; Okee Dokee, Louise and Dani, Dawn and Leon, Linda and Ken, Hettie and Piet, and Kathy and Donald. The list could easily continue on and on.
|Most yards are left relatively wild in order to embrace the local vegetation. However, this neighboring home has a more manicured yard.|
Also, as any of the readers who followed us through Kauai, Hawaii will recall, we made more friends than we can count, particularly our dear friends Richard and Elaine.
Richard proved to be the best social director in the world by virtue of a kind and loving nature that made him revel in bringing good people together. We easily recall countless great social events and ongoing connections with Pat and Brenda, Vicki and Jerry, Cathy and Rick, Bev and Sam, Alice and Trevor, Louise and Steve and Cheryl and Paul (who are from Minnesota). Here again, the list could easily continue on and on.
We miss Richard, frequently touching base by email, as we do with many of the other friends we’ve made in various countries and of course, those we’ve met and come to love, having met them here online; Liz and Dave, Staci and Glenn, Pat and Dan, Joanette, Jodi and countless more, too many to list.
(We apologize for not mentioning everyone’s name).
|A funny-looking tree with a type of fuzz wrapped around the branches.|
Of course, the closest to our hearts on the most recent Australian cruise from Honolulu, Hawaii to Sydney, Australia was Reene and Geoff, a couple we hope to see again in our many future travels in Australia. We couldn’t have had a better time with them.
We could go nuts listing all the new friends we made on cruises and even some we’ve met online and will meet in person on an upcoming cruise next year, Staci and Glenn. Much to our delight, Laura and Michael, a fabulous couple we met on the cruise from London to Boston, one year ago, were considering visiting us in Bali in 2016.
As a result of all of our past experiences in making new friends, we never felt lonely not making many new friends in Australia. We’ve enjoyed countless conversations and banter with our landlords Sylvie and Andy, who, although aren’t native Australians, (Sylvie’s from France, Andy’s from the UK), they too possess that warm, friendly and considerate demeanor we’ve witnessed everywhere we go.
|Although most homes in the area are well kept and maintained, occasionally we spot a house that could use a little fixing up.|
When we shop in the stores, saying “Thank you” to the salesperson for their thoughtful assistance, they always respond, “No worries.” Each time we hear this adorable response (as opposed to “you’re welcome”), we chuckle over its endearing quality.
Another of the expressions we’ve loved in Australia is “good on you” which indicates “good for you” when we’ve been asked where we’re from and we mention we’re traveling the world. They look into our eyes with an enormous smile on their faces saying, “Good on you.”
In eight days we’ll be flying to Sydney, staying overnight to head to Fiji early the next morning on September 8th. From what we hear the people of Fiji are equally friendly as are those in New Zealand, where we’ll be living in a little over four and a half months.
The world is a big place and we’re often bombarded with all the bad news, the bad people, and the horrifying events. Amid all of the horror in the world, there are more loving people willing to make new friends, willing to extend their kindness, and willing to make an effort to make the world a better place.
We continue to be in awe of having had the privilege of spending time in the friendly continent of Australia and similar locations all over the world.
Photo from one year ago today, August 30, 2014:
|Tom got a kick out of this car which appeared to be the “shortest” car we’d yet to see in Europe. We were quickly winding down our time in London and had listed all our expenses for 15 nights in South Kensington, dining out for all meals. Click here to see the total expenses.|