First let me remind you that HALF way is the FARTHEST you can possibly be on the planet from your people. Here are some earth facts you may have forgotten since grade 8 was a long time ago…
*The earth is 40,075 miles in circumference (that means ALL the way around once) which is, for the old school thinkers like me is equivalent to 24,859.82 miles.
*It rotates at 1670 kilometers/hour ( 1037 miles/hr), which is faster than drivers on the Quebec highways on a Friday afternoon. Just sayin.
*The Earth orbits, on average, 93 million miles (149,600,000 km) from the Sun (this distance is defined as one Astronomical Unit (AU)), taking one year to complete an orbit. The Earth revolves around the Sun at a speed of about 18.5 miles/sec (30 km/sec). So the earth rotates at 108,000 km per HOUR around the sun. Holy cow. I’ll never complain about my husband’s driving again.ofI learned more about the whole planet during my stay in Australia more than just australia itself. I learned that here in the north we have grown the toughest people on the planet. I am convinced…canadians are the bomb! We handle +40 all the way to -40 in a 12 month period with defference and a smile on our faces – most of the time. We handle floods, dry spells, and where I live, a long long period of freezing cold which has several side effects on our emotional health.
I notice the difference in “general attitude” between people who live in a place where weather is only an issue on occasion – like when a cyclone or hurricane rips through the land – and Canadians who inevitably and necessarily have weather on the daily roster of conversation.
In Australia you don’t hear “Oh cricky , I wish this awful sun would let up. geez”.
No no. A common conversation with a local Aussie looks more like-
“G’Day Mate!” says a smiling, happy, tanned face.
And if you say something positive like
“Hey I have a yummy coffee”
“Hey, I just won the lottery!” the reply is the same positive happy thing…
good on me-
little adorable wild ponies
THOSE would all be “good on me”. yeah.
In Canada however, you will frequently hear “when the hell is this snow gonna stop?”
“Can it GET any colder?” and
Yeah…of COURSE you’re depressed. You havent seen the frikking sun in eight months! This is NOT normal. Humans are not meant to live like this! You only have contact with outside when you dash to and from your car because you know any more time outside will cause the blood in your feet to freeze…that is what we call frost bite. I havent worn in a dress in 6 months because my legs would fall off and my favourite piece of clothing is the matching long underwear my husband bought me for christmas because he was afraid I would freeze to death while working outside with the horses when he is away at work. Can;’t have a frozen wife now can we?
This year we have experienced the coldest winter in history. Great. I suspect that this movement in our meteorological lives is not going to get any better and I think “global warming” is the greatest misnomer of all time.
It takes about 23 hours to fly half way across the world, usually on multiple flights. One flight lasts 15 hours where we are seated, and watching movie after movie until they all blend in like one big drone of sound and colour on a small screen in front of your face designed to keep you intellectually sedated and in some form of control. These flights are epic and for those of you who have experienced it – you know the drill. Your ass feels like it has somehow become fused to your spine, and when you stand up you look remarkably like the 86-year-old lady down the aisle, bent and sore. I feel particularly bad for senior travellers as sitting for this long can cause deadly blood clots.
Then they feed you – all the time. I know on “normal flights” everyone complains because airlines have run out of money (maybe they should stop giving free flights to their employees and feed people. But on the long flights, booze and food are the way to keep you high, happy and quiet. alcohol by the way has a 3x stronger effect at 40,000 feet in the air. That was the good part. Two glasses of wine and I was having a wonderful time. Cheap date – only costs 2000.00 for that experience.
When we got back from Australia, after a gruelling 37 hour journey, frazzled, tanned and molting like snakes we arrived late in Montreal and my daughter came to get us at the airport. I have to go outside to flag her down so she knows where to stop the car. All I have is my little sweater and a shawl I travel with. I step out the doors and BAM! My nostrils stick together, the wind makes my eyes water and I think to myself – Why do we live in a place where our face hurts??
I stand outside having a first unnecessary cigarette after all those hours with four Japanese student age tourists just arrived from Japan heading to Fredericton new Brunswick. Their teeth are chattering and they are smiling – I think they think this is cool – they are in the “great white north”. Oy.
The one who can speak english the most proficiently asks me if it’s always this cold in winter. I said
“Yes – It’s horrible. Japan is better – take me with you. “
He laughs cause he thinks I’m joking. I don’t exactly feel like a positive example of an ambassador for my country.
When you travel, and they ask if you are American (yes I know we are all “American” in north America), it is not in your best interest to avoid correction. Canadians are seen as the “swiss” of the north american continent. Somehow we have garnered a golden reputation DUE TO our political apathy. We don’t, like our cousins in the united states, go around trying to fix world conflict in nations other than our own – probably because we’re not really even sure what’s happening in our own country half the time. Whatever the reason, I have found it MUCH more preferable to wear a little Canadian pin on my shirt – out in the world ” we all look-alike”.
If we would have a “comparison” for you to understand Australia I would say Australia is very much like Canada and Britain is very much like the United States. In fact I have redubbed my Brit friends the Americans of Europe. Conquerors of nations and delegators of cultural precedence. Canadians and Australians are too busy being laid back to undertake the great international efforts in industrialization and material expansion that our brothers and sisters in these other nations have done.
Even though the weather, the people and everything about Australia is perfect – the idea of being half a world away from those I love, my children, family, friends, animals is incredibly strange.
But I love the world. The planet. I love visiting it, i love talking to people and learning how they think, I love eating new food and imbuing myself into whatever culture I find myself. i come home richer and more open-minded each and every time,
Probably one of the greatest problems that faces our culture here in Quebec is the LACK of travelling that has been done by the native french Canadian speakers. theer is an abject level of racism here that doesn not exist in other places because of this lack of worldly education. It is only getting worse since the government here has “rewritten” the history books and children don’t even get “national” history, only provincial. It’s a terrible thing to watch an entire culture screw itself.
But I have to say, I have been involved and in the middle of all the problems here for so many years, i am not concerned about leaving this place. I believe it no longer holds a future for my kids and so if I have to be away from them so they come and settle in a new place, I will do it. Theer is nothing left here. Just cold and stupid.
It’s funny how the Universe comes to your call when it is loud enough:
The day after we arrive home and have some sort of sleep, my husband gets a call form work – maybe they want to open an office in Australia and if they do, they want us to go down and create the pathway for it.
So, I am faced with the (wonderful) dilemma of moving half way across the planet. Another kind of life within this one…how fun.