Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi

My barrista is Slovakian.

I know this, because I went in for coffee today, and I asked where he was from. The Olympics was playing on the huge flatscreen suspended on the wall, and I wanted to know who he was rooting for – so to speak.

“Hey, you guys just won a bunch of medals, didn’t you? In the kayaking?” I have no idea where I pulled that fact from, because I haven’t really watched the kayaking much.

He smiled. “Yeah. Three golds, in the paddling.” We chatted a bit more about that, which was far more interesting than our usual patter about the weather, and I could see that it made him very proud to talk about his country’s success.

I totally understand. Last week, I stood in a crowded classroom at lunchtime, surrounded by students and fellow teachers, and staring up at the giant TV screen on the wall. We were shouting “Come on!” to Stephanie Rice, as she swam half a body length behind the American girl. In that last 20 metres she surged forward and touched first to win her second gold medal and break the world record. The room erupted as we celebrated her win with all the other Aussies around the world who were within sight of a television. I was so proud – of her, and of Australia.

Last night I had tears in my eyes as I heard the Australian anthem yet again. We won gold in the 470 sailing – men’s and women’s – and as the young Perth women stood on the podium, grinning their faces off, I grinned with them – so proud. Then came the women’s triathlon result – Gold and Bronze! Brilliant! And that feeling is compounded as the medals keep coming.

Yes, there is little like the Olympics to inject a shot of national pride in even the hardest of hearts. Having said that, I do have one small confession. On the 18th, when Michael Phelps and the U.S. relay team were competing against us, I quietly hoped that we’d get Silver. I just wanted Michael to get his 8 medals. At any other moment I would have been screaming at the television, willing our guys to win, but the 8 medal thing transcends borders.

And we did win silver in that race, which is still incredible. You see, we are just a tiny country population-wise, so our pool of talent is much smaller than the U.S or even Great Britain. Yet we are hovering between 3rd and 5th on the medal tally. China has 61 times our population, but only twice as many medals. (I did hear yesterday, that if Michael Phelps were a country, he’d be 6th on the medal tally).

Australia has medaled in kayaking, diving, equestrian, sailing, triathlon, track, swimming, shooting and rowing – so far. We have much to be proud of.

So, when I hear the chant “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie” coming from the Olympic stands, I can’t help but reply, “Oi, Oi, Oi!” We’re noisy buggers, but it’s ’cause we’re bloody proud to be Aussies.

The Second Drawer

So, here’s the thing. Having made the decision to move to the states at the end of the year, I am kind of already there in my head. I look around my apartment, and mentally take stock: to get rid of, to store, to take with me. The latter of the three lists is growing. “I’m going to have to buy a cheese grater,” I exclaim to a baffled Ben. “You could just bring it with you,” he responds, hoping he is being helpful. Perhaps he is. Perhaps, emptying the second drawer in the kitchen (you know the one – the one with all the utensils and weird kitchen gadgets) into one of the packing cartons I am shipping, is the smart way to go. It might just cost less to ship all those odd little gadgets, than to replace them. And I can hardly expect Ben, who is a self-professed non-cook, to understand my need for a honey drizzler, a citrus reamer, and the little battery operated whizzer that makes hot chocolate in a jiffy. And there is my dilemma: Store or Ship?

Perhaps these frivolities amongst the giants on my ‘to do’ list are merely a distraction. I am obsessing about the citrus reamer, but seem to think that selling my car won’t be a problem at all. Nor will selling, giving away, or lending permanently all my furniture. No, I am up at night wondering which shoes to take, and which to keep here. I informed Ben today that I have ‘quite a few pairs of shoes’. He referenced ‘Sex and the City’ when he asked, “Have you spent $40,000 on shoes?” “No!” He re-phrased the question, “If you had spent $400 on each pair, would you have spent $40,000 on shoes?” I had to think about that for a second, but I was confident when I replied ‘no’ a second time. He is right to be nervous. The stuff from the second drawer here will presumably fit perfectly into the second drawer of our Seattle apartment’s kitchen. The clothes, shoes, coats, bags and accessories currently residing in my 12 foot long closet, I may have to pare back a little.

All of these things, these thoughts, concerns, worries, and reasons to spend hours online researching, are actually an indicator of something bigger, something amazing. I have made a big, happy, wonderful decision, and I am champing at the bit to bring it to fruition.

This is not to say that I do not love those people in my Aussie life. (I am especially enjoying time spent with my Irish friends who have recently moved back to Sydney after two years away – I say that they have moved back ‘home’.) It just means that at the moment, my heart is in two places. I am mindfully enjoying the things (and people) I love about Sydney, while looking ahead to my life in Seattle with Ben.

“We’re going to have to make friends,” he said to me, not long ago. I have thought about that. I would love to pack everyone I love from here into those shipping cartons, to be unpacked into this new life, but…

Instead, we will make new friends, and when they come for dinner I can dazzle them with culinary delights I have whipped up in our new kitchen with my old kitchen gadgets. Yep, I think the second drawer is coming with me.

36 Things

This meme comes from Charlotte’s blog, and Helen’s before her. Helen got it from Lilian, who took it from Jennifer. It had 40 things on it, but Lilian didn’t really like three of them, so then it became 37 things. I could go through Jennifer’s 40 Things and seek out the three that Lilian didn’t like, but 37 is enough. In fact, there was one I didn’t like about paperclips, so now it is 36.

And just so you know, a meme is not ‘cheating’ of ‘slacking off’ for a serious blogger like myself.
It is more like a pianist flexing their fingers before they sit down to play, or a tennis player bouncing the ball a few times before a serve. A meme is a warm up for more strenuous writing; it helps to get the creative juices flowing and sharpens the mind. So there.

1. My uncle once: peed on a giant moth that was sitting on the urinal, and the pee-soaked moth then flew into his face.

2. Never in my life: have I peed on a moth.

3. When I was five: I had a pet chicken called Martha.

4. High school was: where I learned to stand up to bullies.

5. I will never forget: the moment I knew it was love.

6. Once I met: Hugh Jackman.

7. There’s this girl I know: who has beaten cancer, started her own company, is mum to two fabulous girls, and has a great marriage to a great man.

8. Once, at a bar: I sand ‘Mustang Sally’ on stage to a crowd of 500 people.

9. By noon, I’m usually: regretting how thoughtlessly I made my lunch that morning.

10. Last night: I killed a headache with strong medication, made a ‘not-half-bad’ stir-fry, and watched two mediocre dvd’s

11. If only I had: a literary agent – but I am working on that.

12. Next time I go to church: will be later this month with school for the graduation mass.

13. What worries me most: is that I will forget what is really important in life.

14. When I turn my head left I see: a leafy outlook and sunny blue sky.

15. When I turn my head right I see: my pussy cat sleeping in a ray of sun.

16. You know I’m lying when: well, you won’t, because if I need to be, I am a good liar.

17. What I miss most about the Eighties is: dancing – all the time.

18. If I were a character in Shakespeare I’d be: Titania – passionate, magical, and on occasion a little mad.

19. By this time next year: I will living in a new city, with my darling, and I will be a paid writer.

20. A better name for me would be: well, I used to want to be called Felicity, but you want strange things when you’re six. I am happy with my name now.

21. I have a hard time understanding: complacency.

22. If I ever go back to school, I’ll: spend more time learning about technology, and less time worrying about boys.

23. You know I like you if: I am affectionate with you.

24. If I ever won an award, the first person I would thank would be: Mum and Dad, because they constantly encourage me, and always have.

25. Take my advice, never: make decisions without input from your heart.

26. My ideal breakfast is: al fresco with a great view, and has many courses.

27. A song I love but do not have is: hard to answer, because I don’t know its name or who it is by. It is a sexy song, with the chorus, “I need love, love, love, love…” Must track it down for my gym playlist.

28. If you visit my hometown, I suggest you: hop a ferry and spend a few days chilling out on the stunning Rottnest Island.

29. Why won’t people: learn how to merge.

30. If you spend a night at my house: we will eat, drink and laugh ’til it hurts. In the morning, breakfast will be served al fresco and it will have many courses.

31. I’d stop my wedding for: um, tricky, ’cause I have crushes on a celebrity or two (Hayden Christensen), but would only really put off a wedding to have the honeymoon first – a year-long trip around the world to exotic and beautiful locations (of course).

32. The world could do without: drawn out U.S. presidential campaigns.

33. I’d rather lick the belly of a cockroach than: spend the night with a spider in my room.

34. My favourite blonde is: my auntie Candyce, who is one of the funniest people I know.

35. If I do anything well it’s: teach.

36. And by the way: I really need to get to the gym.