Why Are There So Many Australians Here?

It’s been a nice week here, although I’ve been pretty homesick.  I love September in Colorado—the start of college football season, the coming of fall, Labor Day weekend.  When a long weekend hits back home, it is the days Sunday, Monday and Tuesday for us, so it’s hard sometimes to be in the regular weekday routine knowing that everyone  is enjoying such a fun holiday weekend.  But I really have nothing to complain about.  The weather is gorgeous right now here.  The days are getting HOT and the nights and mornings are really warming up quite a bit. 

Steve enjoyed finally getting to the footy last week—and the Broncos won!  We’ve always thought it ironic that both cities’ main teams have been the Broncos.  Too bad I’ve never cared about them much, but instead follow the Buffaloes.  I am grateful that I can listen to the Buffs’ games live on KOA radio through the internet.  However, last season, and it appears also true for this season that the games are not much fun to listen to. 

I met another American recently and last Saturday we went to her 3-year-old’s birthday party.  The daughter has a 9-year-old brother and it was great to hear an American accent on another kid!  They’ve been here two years.  I don’t care what else we may or may not have in common, it is so nice to know and talk to someone that it at least from the same cultural background—it is an instant bond.

I also got to shop that morning doing family errands for almost two hours with my South African friend.  It seems so odd how nice it was just to spend those couple hours with a new girlfriend!  Something so simple…..

Last Sunday was Father’s Day and we had a lovely day.  As with Mother’s Day, the boys were so excited this year to show Steve the things they made him in school (Drew wanted to make more presents for him every day last week—it was a bit exhausting for me) and spoil him.  They ‘helped’ make him breakfast in bed—complete with all the disgusting things he likes for breakfast like bacon and baked beans.   

Then we walked down to the local farmers’ market that is held once a month.  We are trying to give Drew more opportunities to ride his bike with training wheels.  We live on a steep hill which understandably terrifies him and it is very difficult for me to try and get him down it and feeling confident while also managing Zach.  So, with all four of us, it made for a very lovely walk/ride on a gorgeous day, and we had a great morning. 

Drew’s antibiotic ear drops were causing him a lot of pain, so we were back to the doctor on Monday evening—-it is great that the doctors’ office is open later hours on some days.  Thankfully, the ear infection had cleared up and the drops were likely causing pain because of the still functioning tube in that ear (they call it a grommet here, which is so funny to me—I don’t even think a grommet acts as a tube—isn’t it more of a plug?  So I’m not sure why they call them that).  So, we were able to discontinue using the drops. 

On Wednesday for some reason, the boys just really gave me a run for my money.  We had had a pretty smooth, fun two weeks, so I guess I was due for a rough day.  I took them to music time at Steve’s work and even had to give them a time out there they were being so bad.  I had one of those instances that everyone has, where I looked around and all the Moms were engaged in conversation with someone else and there was no one I could talk to.  The one girl there that day that I know and enjoy was talking to someone else, and I know I could have just approached them and broken into their conversation.  But I was hit by the overwhelming feeling that I was tired of ALWAYS having to make that effort these days, EVERYWHERE I go.  I knew when the unknown Mom heard me talk, it would inevitably follow that I would have to explain where I was from, how long I’d been here and if I like it, and I know I’m supposed to say that it’s completely amazing and fabulous and I am so lucky to have been able to escape the horrible life I left behind.  In all likelihood she has never been to Colorado nor knows nothing of the U.S. at all other than what’s in the media.  I just didn’t feel like dealing with it that morning!  It sounds awful, but some days I just don’t feel like talking to any more Australians!  They’re great people; I’ve met wonderful ones, but some days I just want to be surrounded by people who sound like me, who use my words and terms, who have somewhat of a similar past, at least in that they were brought up in the same culture.  Some days I am just tired of people not understanding what I say, of me not understanding what they said, of missing the jokes. 

When I was back talking to the Mom I knew again later in the morning, she was talking about how homesick she is—she is from Tasmania and that is quite a big move.  After I left I just felt like crying, thinking I’m homesick too!  I want my friends back!  I want familiarity and comfort and convenience!  I’m tired of this! 

I usually have such good days and am often proud of myself for how well I am doing at getting out and making friends.  But, they can’t all be good……

The next day was a good one again.  I took the boys to Playgroup where I always appreciate the adult interaction.   More importantly, I figured out how to get there without the car and while getting Drew more experience on his bike.  I have taken them both before by towing them in my bike trailer.  But Drew is 44 pounds/20 kg, and Zach is 23 pounds/11 kg, plus the weight of the trailer and it’s all uphill on the way back…as I was jogging that morning, I just didn’t think my legs could handle that, and doing it doesn’t get Drew more confident on his bike (that’s the real reason, ok?  I’m not just lazy and a wimp!)  😉  So, being the genius that I am, I drove to the bottom of the hill!  Zach often throws a fit that Drew gets to be on his bike while he can’t be, but there is no way I can steer his little trike and help Drew at the same time, so he was fairly easily convinced to ride in his stroller and we all had a lovely journey!  Both ways!  I was so proud of myself for making that work!  So funny how the little things can make me feel like I’ve just accomplished something so huge.  

Plus the local fire department came to visit to let all the kids get in their truck and give each kid a turn spraying the fire hoses.  How cool was that!  The boys were thrilled beyond words!  All the kids were. 

That afternoon, we were back at the doctor to get Drew’s odd lesion removed.  It was more involved than I thought—there’s a dressing on it that has to stay on and dry for two days, so we had to cancel our return to swimming lessons again for today, no bathing last night or tonight and he is supposed to take it easy.  Good luck to me with that one!  He was running around in circles in the waiting room while I tried to schedule his follow up appointment, and he was being so crazy he bled through the first dressing and we had to go right back in and get a new bigger one.  I’ve kept them calm fairly well today—we made 3 batches of play dough that they were thrilled to make and then played with for five minutes.  But we are all getting on each other’s nerves a bit. 

A couple more language oddities:

-We know they don’t use a period (.) at the end of any abbreviation at all, which I think is confusing, but they also don’t use an apostrophe (‘) to show the possessive in names of things.  For example, “St. Paul’s” becomes “St Pauls.”  That is a tough one for me in the workplace.

-They use the word “whilst.”  I think that is amazing!  I feel absolutely low class and devoid of culture whenever someone uses that word in my presence.  I feel like I’m in the presence of Shakespeare.  I can tell you right now, I will never be able to pull off using that word in conversation. 

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