What am I doing in Australia?
I figured this is a wonderful opportunity to write the great American novel. By getting out of the country, perhaps I could gain some perspective on it. I fear, however, that will not be the case, as I have not managed to leave my liberal bent and biased opinions at customs. I cannot separate myself from my home country. Where does the country end, leaving me to begin? My American identity follows me in my accent, my views, and experiences. Despite my feelings of animosity toward the current state of government back home, I still find myself feeling very American â€“ very proud. Hey, that\’s my country you are talking shit about! No matter how I feel about today\’s American politics and religious uprising, I still have an uncanny alliance toward the stereotypical American dream. Recently I heard or read that America has usurped Australia at what Australia prides itself on â€“ bad attitude, rebelliousness, and the desire to give everyone a â€œfair go.â€ Perhaps at some point that was true, maybe as recently as the 1980s, but here in 2005 I find few meaningful differences between Australian and American attitudes.
There\’s still those Purple Mountain\’s Majesties, of course, but Australia seems to have plenty of those. There\’s no Red Hills of Dover here, though, and I get the feeling that Martin Luther King Jr. could not have happened here. Aboriginal people, much like American Indians, are still fighting for recognition of the stealing of their land and the taking of their people. As with the Reparations Now movement in the US, there is no remorse here among the descendants of the colonizers, and little help for the people they left with no status, property, or opportunity to rise above the racist and entitled attitudes of the white man.
Somehow, though, I miss the inequality of the States. I miss the graffiti and the falling down buildings. I miss the slums across the street from $600,000 condominiums. I miss the faces of every shade of color possible. I miss Mexican food and the sounds of a plethora of Hispanic accents. I miss the inadequate public transport which at least runs to three in the morning on the weekends (better than the midnight they run to here). I miss shops being open on weekends and past 3pm. I miss the smell of freshly ground coffee pouring from every street corner. I miss the street hawkers who swoop upon the walking commuters muttering, â€œUmbrella, umbrella, five dollah, five dollah,â€ at the first sign of rain. I miss heavy rain showers and days of drizzle and mist. Most of all, I miss being able to open my mouth without someone saying â€œOy, where yeh from then, hey, Canada?â€ and when I reply the US, hearing â€œOh, enjoying your vacation then, hey?â€ Because of course, no American would want to move here. Just like in my eyes, no one would want to move to America. The grass is always greener, whether you\’re in the center of a world power, or a place nicknamed â€œBrisdisney.â€ Personally, I find the Magic Kingdom more terrifying than the US Senate. In Western culture, Entertainment is King.