My long hiatus on the site has been the result of a 2 week holiday back to the States. Back to visit family, to visit my 2 week old niece, and to further plan for my upcoming wedding in September. It was a good trip; no a great trip, but it was a whirlwind of a trip nonetheless. Two weeks of nonstop activities has me longing for a holiday from my holiday.
It’s good to be home though. It’s very good to be home. While I miss my friends and family, and always will, I’ve realised that Australia fits me. It’s a really good fit actually. Fifteen minutes into my drive from the Los Angeles airport, I remembered why I was always frustrated on Southern California highways. Fifteen minutes into a shopping experience at a local mall in San Diego, I remembered why an economy of scale has its positives and negatives. Fifteen minutes after I left, I remembered that I’m 7,000 miles away from my closest friends and family.
Living overseas has always been an adventure, but after returning home for the first time since leaving 18 months ago, I’ve been able to refresh my thoughts and truly understand and remember why I was so excited and jazzed about moving to another country. More specifically, Australia.
The majority of my trip was spent in San Diego, however between my partner and I, we had trips to Los Angeles (Disneyland), San Francisco, and Las Vegas. Each of these locales, although all quite different from each other, had traits that very similar; traits that I wouldn’t have otherwise noticed had I not been out of the country for the past 18 months.
1.) Excess - That’s right, excess. America is all about excess. I love food, a lot, but I found myself rarely being able to finish the meal that was given to me. The portions were absolutely huge. People say that I’ve lost weight since moving to Australia. I was never THAT big to begin with, but I suppose I can see why. Unlimited refills on drinks (not a common occurance in Australia), towering mountains of french fries and more salad dressing that I know what to do with sat before me at almost every meal I had. I must say though, the unlimited refills on coffee struck a very pleasing chord.
Especially in Las Vegas, where excess is the norm, everything (and I mean everything/everyone) was in excess. Drinking, gambling, food ($9 Prime Ribs) were abundant. You couldn’t help but be surrounding by an uneccesarily large amount of everything, everywhere you went.
2.) Traffic - Traffic, and the way people drive. Large suburbans driven by soccer moms who, according to them, are the single most important person on the freeway, made only worse by the fact that they’re tailgating you in the slow lane because your 75mph just isn’t fast enough for them. Perhaps I’m stereotyping, perhaps not. Either way, drivers in Souther California as a whole, don’t use their blinkers, don’t let you in when merging, don’t understand where the fast lane is, and seem to think that driving 90mph while talking on their cellphone, weaving in and out of traffic in their SUV to get to their destination 2 minutes earlier, is the most important issue of the day.
3.) Outlook - This may seem a bit weird, but American’s need to lighten up, myself included. Things are too serious. Watching newcasters on TV, seeing people interact in a business environment, daily life seems to be a bit to rigid. Now I’m not saying that Americans don’t know how to have a good time, but c’mon, life is funny. Laugh at yourself, slow down, smell the roses. It’s not all about rushing from one place to another and checking things off your list. I know everyone has that kind of day every once in awhile, but have a chat with the barista at the coffee shop, talk to your coworkers, understand what’s going on around you. People tend to shut themselves off in Southern California. Windows on their cars are up with the A/C full blast, people walking around with iPods on, they order their coffee whilst on the phone, barely giving the person working the time of day; this is the kind of stuff that is a stark difference for me, between Australia and America.
While life would be different in any country, and each have their positives and negatives, this past trip has shown me that my decision to live in Australia was a good one. It’s one that has more positives than negatives associated with it, and although it has put me 7000 miles away from a great number of people that are important to me, I know that the ones that are truly great friends and great family members we’ll see on a pretty regular basis. To be honest, between Skype, Vonage VOIP, and email, I talk to my parents on almost a daily basis, and my closest friends almost every other day. The world is getting smaller. Maybe that’s a good thing? Fifteen years ago, Australia would have felt a lot further away, more isolated.
Either way, I love it here.