Been here more or less for three weeks now. The jet lag is gone.
I wish there had been more than a twinge of culture shock, but really the only thing has been that now I can no longer tell apart an Australian accent from a British or American accent. To tell the difference between the three I have to pause, concentrate very hard, and try to isolate key fluctuations in pronounciation and intonation. Mostly, all three just zoom into my ears now without a second thought. It has its advantages as well as its disadvantages.
Will really, really likes it here. Bourbon and cigarette imports are hellaciously expensive, so he\’s taken to drinking crap local beer and smoking strong local cigarettes. I\’m not particularly pleased, however there\’s not much I can do about it. The wide variety of food available is incredible, so it really annoys me that I have found myself missing one of the most dull things of all — American cheese. They have Australian cheese here, which they call \”Tasty cheese,\” and though it is tasty, I crave slapping some orangey-yellow processed crap down on my fresh baked bread and fresh sliced smoked turkey breast. We find the strangest things to miss, really. (Will is missing the Sunday morning pundits a lot, but at least we have The Newshour with Jim Lehrer for some in depth US politico commentary.) With all the UK culture influence here, I\’m upset that I can\’t find Tizer. What, no Tizer? But of course, Ribena abounds. There is no justice in the consumer world, apparently.
But back to Will really liking it here. Despite having five months left in our temporary deal, he has pretty much decided he wants to make the move permanent. That means we would be coming back to D.C. to settle our affairs — ship stuff, sell shit, break our lease, get thorough background checks from the FBI, transfer US bank funds to Oz accounts, part with the tearful families… dunno. Just dunno.
Houses are entirely within our price range here, even in the trendy art neighborhood we want to live in. The real estate bubble here has pretty much burst, which is great for buyers. Health coverage here is great and I\’d be able to have all my stuff taken care of and covered more than it is in the States. I\’d be able to get a dog, finally, finally, finally (this may be playing more of a factor than it probably should). The schools here are fantastic. I\’ve been doing design work again, and despite my body protesting it has been going fairly well. And there are circus classes here, no shit. Chinese pole dancing and acrobatics and stuff, for cheap, taught by professional circus members. Lots of burlesque. Lots of music. Paw paws in the grocery stores and milk teas on every other corner. But I dunno.
I still want to drag Will off to Edinburgh, Berlin, and Pittsburgh — one must approach all the attractive offers and options with extreme caution and open minds. He wants me to make up a check list of plusses and minuses for each city, which is the typical scientist in him. One thing for sure is that neither of wants to go back to D.C. to stay. Sad as that is, I am trying to convince myself that I can create a mass exodus of my friends and family to all pick up and move with me. Please do not give me a reality check on this as I already know it is not going to happen but I cannot help but desire it. Little fantasies of living literally around the corner from Jam, Karen, MW, Mattie, and everyone else just sets my heart all a flutter. Damn this global community and the ties it brings. Yeah, I\’m bitchy today; that\’s \’cos \”my name be mc menses and my flow be fresh.\” Tampons here scare me. They are about the size of large bullets and they do not look dissimilar.
The more likely it seems we might be making a permanent international move, the more I feel inclined to wear my American birth on my sleeve, which makes no sense. I get insulted when people think I\’m Canadian now. I want to wear shirts like this one and all the ones from Ban T-shirts. And it looks like I\’m going to be printing shirts of my own again soon. I don\’t know if that\’s a step forward or if I\’m lapsing back into my 19 year old self again. Well, at least she had conviction and determination, two things I am seriously lacking in. Though if you have to trade a strong stance for sanity, well, that\’s a good question — I don\’t know which I\’d honestly choose. In these weird times, strong stances are sometimes the only sanity.
It\’s already nearing autumn here, and after tomorrow the forecasted high temperature for the next week is 77Â°F and sunny. I wish people would come visit.
And I\’m completely unsuited for dial-up. DSL later this week. Thank the heavens. I\’m having very serious news withdrawal.
EDIT: Me and dial-up are gonna fight. They still have limits on their dialup transfer here, and I seem to have far surpassed mine. Takes three or four attempts to load access each individual page, and not every site can be \”found.\” Infuriating. Really brings me back to the Compuserve days of 1996. Augh.