Thursday, 26 January 2012

Stuff I LOVE about Australia

Happy Invasion Day, folks!

Now, while I wish this country wasn't founded on the oppression of a race of people, and then also on convict settlement and labour, I do love a lot of things about living here. There are lots of things I don't love - said invasion and settlement; the recurrence of race politics; various politicians; all those fucking cyclists - but I'm not going to go into detail. Today is for positivity! Yay Australia!

So, here are the top five things I love about Australia and being Australian (feel free to add your own in the comments, of course):

The Weather. Yes, it's been raining for about five days solid in Brisbane, and before that we had some serious humidity going on. But I'm very grateful for the fact that none of us get snowed in every winter, or boiled to death in a year-round summer. Our seasons might be mild, but I'd take that over the alternative. And in general, between Adelaide's arid climate, Melbourne's English winters, and Sydney's gorgeous freshness, I love it that, somewhere in Australia, you can find the right climate for you. (Or, be born somewhere, be too lazy to move, and adapt enough to enjoy whatever the weather is out of self-defense.)

The Environment. We are so freaking lucky we haven't damaged our country too badly - yet, anyway - and we still have so much amazing wilderness. And it's all different - beautiful desert landscapes; actual, for real rainforests (getting rarer by the day); absolutely stunning coastlines. And I love it how, when you get off a plane in Australia, the air smells so different, and so much cleaner, than wherever you just were.

The Wages. Okay, I wasn't going to add in anything political, but seriously. I never appreciated actually getting paid decent wages, even minimum wage, until my friend from America told me about the situation over there. For example, she got paid more in Australia standing on street corners fundraising than she did in the US as a medical professional. Granted, she wasn't a doctor, she was a phlebotomist, but still. She was amazed that she only had to get one full time, minimum wage job here, to support herself. One job was enough. Not two or three, like she'd need in America. Two or three jobs, just to pay rent and buy groceries. (When would you have time to eat them??) That right there is something to be grateful for.

The Outlook (and The Travel). Someone told me recently that in 2011, two-thirds of all Australians travelled overseas. Now, that's a second-hand figure and I didn't bother to google it, so it's probably inexact, but anyway, there are a lot of Australians travelling overseas. And there always are - I can't remember a time when people I know weren't talking about the trip they'd just taken, or how they were going to go live in Wherever, OS for a year. And I love that about us! I love it that my hairdresser loves backpacking, and Goa is his favourite place; I love it that B and I went to a tiny town in northern Vietnam, only to meet a dude from Sydney who lived there. I love it that we, as a nation, are aware that there is a big wide world outside our island, and most of us think you're weird if you don't want to go see it. (Unlike certain other countries I could name, where most of the citizens are completely convinced that they're the center of the universe and they don't need to know about anywhere else...)

The Multiculture. Yes, getting a bit political again, but whatever. I love the fact that so many cultures have emigrated to Australia, set up shop, and started integrating parts of themselves into the mainstream. I love being able to go down the road for Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Italian, Turkish or Greek food. I love knowing people from other countries, and I love hearing languages other than English on the streets (wish I could speak one, but that's my problem). I don't agree with anyone who says this country would be better off with closed borders; I don't agree with anyone who says Australia hasn't benefited from the amazing people from countries all around the world who have come here to live.

So yeah, that's my five things. I acknowledge that our country has it's problems, and that we all need to work to preserve what we love about it, but I'm going to celebrate Australia Day today pretty damn happily. How about you?


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