A month ago, I was boarding the plane to what feels like my third home. (My first being heaven, my second being the South, USA.) It's still in the south--as a good friend said, you can't get much souther than Melbourne...
I went to Australia to visit my good friend, Alysa, in what was their (very mild) winter-- beautiful, green, and crisp. And I found so many things to love--so many that I'm afraid I can't still name them all. I'm afraid, however, that if I don't try, I'll forget what I do remember. So here's my go of it: let's hope I don't miss anything.
- "Let me just pop that in there for you... " I love the English influence in Australia; so much more than in the U.S. Their politeness defies expectations. It's expected that you small-talk with a cashier--not something I claim to be particularly good at. After one such exchange, I asked Alysa, "Do you know her?" Of course, she didn't.
- The beach. The ocean. The shore. It's incredibly beautiful, no matter where you go and no matter what you call it.
- Fish and chips on the shore. Yes, "chips" aren't very different than French Fries in the States--but they're still better. Five Guys comes close, but not quite.
- The people--not only because I have such a very good friend that lives there. But also because of the other amazing folks I met--people that made it feel as if I've known them much longer than I have.
- Good coffee. Everywhere.
- Small towns, and the small town mindset. People bring their dogs to town and wear Wellies as if it were the most natural footwear in the world. In Australia, dogs seem to be a family-oriented sort of animal to own, even more so in the U.S.
- Natural-feeling heating/AC-- I doubt people are prone to freeze themselves in the summer, as they didn't roast themselves in the winter.
(My dad's favorite seasonal words are get acclimatised, so I appreciated it.)
- The local, small-town shops. Every town seems to have a vast selection of family-owned, beautifully kept shops, not invaded by chains, and willing to special-order for you. The bigger towns and suburbs are the ones with the chains.
- Wool shops. And wool. and tea shops. and tea.
- Amazing views. Beautiful countryside.
- Staying with Alysa and her family--and her mum allowing me to invade her kitchen. :)
- Jokes galore. That wingey-wongey sound... :)
- Realizing that cooking in Australia isn't much different than cooking at home, as long as you cook from scratch.
- Aussie grocery stores... I spent some lovely time comparing U. S. to Aussie ingredients. :)
- Local open-air markets.
- Amazing meetings. Christ-centered prayer. Holy Spirit Power and Presence. The peace of God that passes all understanding. Blessings that last through the return trip to my U.S. home.
I didn't have enough time-- next time I go, I'll stay longer. If real, practical life were the same as my trip, I could live in Australia in a heartbeat. That is, if I could move everyone I love over with me. :)