Tag Archives: United States

Lynx, cleans your…(yeah, I can’t say it)

One of the things my husband particularly enjoys about Australia is that he finds it a fairly liberal society. No one is talking at election time about gay marriage, abortion or things of that nature. Issues on the table are jobs, taxes, environment, ‘boat people‘ (illegal immigrants) and so on. Personal ethics are not publicly debated as profusely on the political platform here as they are in the USA.

He finds the culture here very free, unpretentious, a live-and-let-live kind of mentality that he enjoys. That said, they may be such a thing as being a little too liberal.

The latest example was presented to him recently on prime time TV during a major rugby match (free to air) by LYNX shower gel.

(Please if you are easily affected by sexual innuendo, do not watch this ad – I’m certainly not trying to offend anyone here, but if you think you can take it, this is an ad well worth seeing – if only for the discussion it will probably inspire within your household!)

Here’s the ad in its entirety:

So now you’ve watched the ad, what did you think? Would you be surprised if I told you that after a few weeks (yes, weeks) of airing, the ad was pulled due to complaints?

You probably wouldn’t be.

What would probably shock the hell out of you (as it did me) was the reason it was pulled.

First, let me tell you the advertising commission had a total of 150 complaints about this ad from a population of about 25 million people (another nod to our liberal society) and they were ‘taken very seriously’ by all accounts.

The advertisement was finally pulled on the grounds that it was ‘ageist’. That’s right, this ad’s biggest faux pas was that it discriminated against the elderly!

Other than this glaring act of discrimination, it was a perfectly acceptable ‘prime-time’ advertisement according to the advertising watchdog. (I’ve been laughing about this for weeks.) Here’s the best part – the statement they made about why the ad was being pulled:

The advertising watchdog has banned an ad for Unilever deodorant Lynx for demeaning older men – but was cleared of degrading both sexes, racism and bad language.

The part of the ad deemed unacceptable came at end, when an old man produced two deflated medicine balls and asks, ‘Can you help me with these saggy old balls? Nobody’s played with them for years.’

God bless Australia.

We may not be the smartest country, the largest country, the richest country, the most progressive country.

But if you ask me, we sure are the most entertaining country – the country that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever – and yet to us, we think we’re perfectly lucid and capable of making such mammoth judgement calls for the betterment of the self esteem of our aging population.

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Halfway Dead

Cover of "Happy Birthday to Me"
Cover of Happy Birthday to Me

I am 38-years-old today, that’s right 38-years-old! 38 years!!

Happy Birthday to me, right?

This reminds me of Bill Cosby on the ‘Himself’ tour, talking about being in first class on a flight, and little ‘Jeffrey‘ running up and down the aisles announcing “I’m Four Years Old! I’m Four Years Old! I’m Four Years Old!” throughout the duration of the flight, driving everyone crazy for hours. It ensured they got no sleep, and it was the worst 2 thousand bucks they have ever spent traveling between New York and LA.

I reminded my husband of this when I repeated my age 12 times before breakfast; “It could be worse, at least you aren’t on a plane with little Jeffrey.” He didn’t seem to feel there was a whole lot of difference.

By far my favorite line from the show was this one;

“I said to a guy, Tell me, what is it about cocaine that makes it so wonderful, and he said, because it intensifies your personality. I said, Yes, but what if you’re an asshole?”

I know a few of those cocaine snorting assholes, and so the statement rings even more true now than it did back in the 80′s, when I first saw the show. It never loses its humor to me, and that’s one of the many brilliant things about Bill.

Bill Cosby - Quinnipiac Law

Bill Cosby, comic God.

I’ve seen that “Himself” video (yes video, it was released in the dark ages, otherwise knows as the 80′s) dozens of times – and if you haven’t I highly recommend you rent it out – I guarantee your sides will hurt for days for having had the experience, and it’s much more enjoyable than a Jillian Michaels 30-day Shred workout (yes, I speak from experience on this one), with arguably the same result.

Moving on.

I’m 38-years-old today, and my husband tells me I don’t look a day over 37 and 11 months, (he really knows how to flatter a girl). 38 is kind of a big deal, because in just over 2 years, by the law of averages, I’d potentially be halfway dead.

In fact, though I like to pretend our move to Australia was for more noble causes, the actual reason I hopped up and moved, was I saw the latest life expectancy statistics in the US.

The average life expectancy for a woman in America is 81.3 years, but here’s the kicker, the average life expectancy for a woman in Australia is 84 years, the third highest in the world following Japan (not sure that it’s accounting for the recent disasters) and Hong Kong.

Do you see what I just did there? I added almost three years to my life, just by packing up and moving to the other side of the world!

Genius? I think so!

Right now, I am a full 4 years from halfway dead! So awesome! (Of course this precludes terrible accidents like being hit by a bus, or my stalker hiring a hit man to take me out.)

It’s weird isn’t it, when you begin to see your life in terms of how long you have left.

Granted, there probably aren’t a lot of 38-year-olds that think this way, but they should. I suspect people would be a whole lot more productive in life if they made decisions based on how it’s going to affect them in the afterlife – or in the few months or years before they get to the afterlife.

I for one, am determined to be a lot nicer to my son.

After all, it’s he that will make or break me, when it comes to crunch-time. When I’m begging him to let me live with him, and not send me to that dreadful home – promising not to soil my adult diaper ever again – I’m going to remind him of all the times I let him have a day off school just because, and the times I paid out his pocket money even though his table-clearing and dishwasher-packing skills, left a lot to be desired.

And I have a backup plan – you simply cannot be too prepared when it comes to your inevitable demise – I’m going to be rich.

In the unfortunate event that I do a terrible job raising my son, and he wants to dump me in a home quicker than I could say “geriatric neglect,” I will use the undervalued power of manipulation. I will wave the all-desirable will in front of his face with threats to leave it all to the pygmies in Africa.

I don’t actually know who, or what, the African pygmies are, but my grandmother has spent her lifetime sending them all her money, and they still don’t seem to have enough, so they seem as worthwhile of a cause as any.

As for the riches, I don’t actually have a concrete plan for how I will be building the massive wealth, but you know, you can’t get too caught up on the details – do you think Steve Jobs made his money overnight? – Of course not! So I’m not sweating the small stuff in my master plan, all in good time.

Well, I’m off to enjoy my 3rd January on a beautiful summers day here in Australia, Happy New Year to all my friends all over the world who followed in the footsteps of Australia and finally made it into 2012.

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In The Spirit Of The Holidays And All Things Good

Christmas tree

Image via Wikipedia

“You Must Be The Change You Want To See In The World”

Mahatma Ghandi

Though I spend most of my time making this blog one of light, airy humor, there are times where something of a little more substance is warranted – today is one of those times, and I do hope you read on, because this is vitally important.

One of the most poignant and valuable writers I have found on the web today is Southern Sea Muse.

She is a clinical therapist to ten broken children. Children that we – humanity – have broken. They were not born this way, but it has been their unfortunate lot in life to have the hope, faith, joy and happiness extracted painfully from them over time, by the very people who should have protected them.

SSM takes it upon herself, to spend her days doing what she can to restore their faith in us, willing them to give us another chance.

In her spare time, she portrays in such vivid detail on her blog, the lives of these children – I feel like I have stepped into their world – if only for a moment. In response to her herculean efforts, it’s up to us (yes, you and I), to take up the baton and do what we can to help her on this mission to restore what she terms as their “disintegrated hearts.”

Especially at Christmas.

SSM writes very openly in her blog about how she sees these children and their experiences, and it is insight into a world I personally cannot comprehend. A world, I need to hear and learn more of, because without education there is no understanding, and without understanding there is no call-to-action.

This being the case, I thought it a perfectly worthwhile venture to repost her latest post here (with her permission), in the hopes that more people will not just continue to stop and be thankful for a moment about how fortunate we are, but more importantly, take action and do what we  can for the forgotten children who exist in our cities.

To pave the way for a better future for them and children like them.

Without further ado,

The Sequestered Angel Tree

by Southern Sea Muse

In a land far away from our minds stands a lone angel tree today, seen by few, known by fewer. This tree is different from the rest.

You know of the others. Right now in stores across the United States stand hundreds of “angel trees,” decorated with carefully disguised identities of needy children in the community. These are children who through no fault of their own are in situations which render them financially less fortunate than other children on Christmas day. These children may live with their families or perhaps are foster children, but they still have the freedom to live with a family, attend school, and, although challenged, have a fairly typical daily routine in the daily world.

Allow me to introduce you to a similar, but rarely-seen angel tree.

This tree also has the names of carefully disguised identities of needy children, but these children are apart from the community. These children are the emotionally less fortunate who, through no fault of their own, have been subjected to and somehow survived unconscionable circumstances which have scarred their souls so badly, that they are unable to function in society as we know it. These children cannot live in a home, neither with family of origin nor foster home. These children cannot attend school due to their disintegrated hearts.

These children are locked away in an institution, both for their safety and for the safety of the community, or because they are the most emotionally fragile of children. They simply cannot handle life as we know it. They are there to mend their hearts and souls, and remain there until they are fit for society. This may take days or weeks for those in acute care; months, or even years in the long-term residential facilities…all of which are eternities, in a child’s eyes.

There they spend their days and nights, eating and sleeping, playing and fighting, wondering how they got there, and contemplating what they need to do to get out. There they try their hardest to get through each day with the shadows of their past following and haunting them, trying to do what schoolwork they can, trying to get along with others, with varying levels of success.

Some try their hardest because they have hope. Others do not try because they have given up hope, and need encouragement from one moment to the next. Still others try their hardest to show others their very worst, because if they can be disliked or violent enough, they can reject others before others have yet another chance to reject them…at least it is one thing in life they can control.

Their angel tree sits quietly in the corner of the small, empty lobby, the only unlocked room in the building. Other than the receptionist, it is only seen by the few still connected to these children who are able to visit: the state worker who must ask the child to choose between a voucher for clothing or a voucher for toys and who will be home with their family on Christmas; the ashamed, distant relative who is reluctant to be involved but wants to make a good show, the occasional lost driver who took the wrong turn down the end of the long road; the tireless staff and nurses doctors. Oh, and the UPS guy and mail carrier, neither of whom bring things addressed to specific children living there, except on rare occasions.

The requests for needs for these children seem somewhat unusual. The angels on this tree bear wishes for things like socks, because their roommate flushed their last good pair down the toilet during another one of his nightly rages, with enough bone-rattling shrieking to create a new nightmare for another child down the hall on the unit, unable to sleep…and not a shred of memory of the crisis, come sunup.

Like playing cards, since many of the games on the market, electronic or otherwise, further cause them to be unable to distinguish reality from fantasy, and may trigger violent flashbacks. Or reinforce their tendency to want to solve problems with disconnected sarcasm and indifferent violence.

Like soft, stuffed animals or dolls, since anything battery-operated requires batteries – and anyone who’s been behind those locked doors long enough knows that if you slam a battery in the door near the hinges just right, it will expose a very sharp object that can be found in the core of the battery, which can then be used as a weapon to hurt someone. Or, for the self-harmers, to cut on themselves and draw blood, and wind up wearing scrubs and on 24/7 observation for days as a result. It is unfathomable to think how a young child might learn such behavior, but there it is.

Hygiene products are also popular, since the hospital-issued products are not exactly kid-friendly, and it is much more fun by far to brush your teeth with sparkly bubble gum toothpaste, like most other children enjoy on a daily basis. A pretty ribbon for her hair. An emery board, since nail clippers are not allowed on the premises, and long nails can be used to gauge eyes in a sneak attack from behind. A SpongeBob blanket for a bed instead of the typical ho-hum hospital sheets. Warm Cinderella footie jammies. Or a visit from a volunteer big brother/big sister or mentor, an objective other who will play a game with them and listen to their story…a story most can’t bear to hear, a story which defies common sense and human rationality.

Food item requests are never found on this angel tree; some children are on strict diets due to side effects of medications. And besides, the child who roamed the streets for his next meal has been known to wheel deals with other children: “I’ll give you the coupon I earned for extra game room time, if you give me your snack.” Snacks are then discovered hoarded under mattresses, up in ceiling tiles or in the paper towel dispenser in the bathroom which the adults all assumed were locked and childproof.

Some children ask for earmuffs to block out the incessant noise, which may come from either side of their skull at any given moment.

How did they get there, anyway? It may be because their parents sold them for sex in exchange for drugs. Or left them for long periods of time to fend for themselves. Or perhaps they locked them in closets or entertainment cabinets for their convenience. Or molested them repeatedly over the course of years.

These are the children who don’t know where their parents are, and the parents are either dead from their misdeeds or are happily homeless, preferring drugs and alcohol over their child….or simply abandoned the child and left the state, never to be heard from again. Some children may know where their parents are, but their parents voluntarily turn them over to the state because they don’t want them anymore. These children may have been in 15 foster homes, with no stability or sense of permanency. These children may have been along for the ride and witnessed a drug deal gone bad, resulting in murder. Or witnessed murder in their very own living room. Or tried to murder their family during a psychotic episode.

The end result is a child who is unable to make sense out of the world, who relates to others as they have been related to, and who does not and may never know childhood, as it is supposed to be known.

These are the children we forget about because they are quietly locked away from the rest of us while they pick up the pieces of their bewildered, shattered lives. You will not see them in schools or on sports teams. You may spot them briefly at the store, at McDonald’s or on a playground closely monitored by staff, if they are deemed well enough to go out into public at the time and their medication and behavior are stable. If that is the case, you will likely not know it is them you are seeing, and it likely will not register in the moment you see them, just where it is they lay their head at night – a place where they must be to work out their raw feelings of depression, anxiety, trauma, psychosis…their fear, their disappointment, their confusion, their rage

The angels on their tree represent a completely different type of need – a need that is real but often goes unknown and unheard by most.

Still needing and wanting to believe in something despite their inability to trust mankind, the younger ones hold fast to their belief in Santa. No, there is no chimney in this place, but they are assured that Santa has keys to the joint, nonetheless. Their lives may have taken an unthinkable course, but their anticipation and hope in being loved and cared for like any other human is entitled to, is no different from yours or mine.

I urge readers (and writers) to locate the nearest children’s psychiatric hospital in your area (and they are there, somewhere…I cannot point you in the direction of the children I know due to privacy and confidentiality issues). Please consider dropping off a small gift  for one of these children who will wake up Christmas morning behind locked doors…on the inside looking out, never sure when they will be ready, if ever, to be the one on the outside looking in.

This gift needn’t be material…write them an anonymous letter and tell them how brave they are, how proud you are of them for enduring all they have. Tell these children that they can do it, that they are loved, admired and respected. That they are believed, that their feelings are real and important. Tell them that they matter. Color them a rainbow with your words, that they might be assured that their world will hopefully not flood like that again.

Such a small gesture has incredibly meaningful ramifications.

For what is small to us, is huge to them, bigger than we might ever guess…whether or not we remember about their angel tree now and in years to come. Like a standout, cherished childhood memory, they will remember, and it may just be the one memory of hope and love that will help heal them on their horrific journey. It may be the one thing they have, hold, hang on to and refer back to as the biggest spark of light that brought them through their darkness.

God, help us all help the sequestered and forgotten children of the world, the ones least seen in our communities – the ones who most need miracles and a reason to believe again.

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You Say Tomato

You see allies, I see language barriers

My husband is American and I am Australian. Though one may be deceived into thinking this union is uncomplicated by social and language barriers, one would be very, very, wrong.

Despite both countries being English-speaking, we use many different phrases that mean very different things, and it has created more than a few unnecessary arguments between us.

Until last year, I was always the one considered weird and strange. I lived in the USA, and thus had to acclimate to the American way of things. I had to change the way I spoke and the phrases and slang I used, ensuring my American counterparts could understand me and that I would retain my sanity.

More recently, we moved our family to my home of Australia and it has provided me with many hours of entertainment watching my husband struggle with the language barrier, as I did in my first years in America.

Early on in his business he noted clients made reference to a guy, ‘Colorado Bob,’ and wondered who this other American was that frequented the same circles, seemed to always be around but was never actually spotted, and surprisingly, came from the very same state he did.

One fine day the realization hit that they were in fact, talking about him! Australians in their typical fashion, had decided to give him a nickname. The culture here is that you’ll get a nickname soon enough, whether you like or want a nickname is of no real consequence. You are given it – and this will be your new name forever and a day – so there’s no use arguing the point.

Given he moved from Colorado his nickname was prefaced by the state, and because no one could ever remember his actual name, ‘Bob’ became his new first name, and thus ‘Colorado Bob’ was born. He’s now gotten so used to it when doing business he will often say, “tell ‘em Colorado Bob came by!”

Now talk to me about integration and tell me it cant be done.

Other common nicknames you will find here are Shazza for Sharon, anyone with red hair may be nicknamed “Blue”(because that makes so much sense), or if they aren’t liked they often use the term “Ranga.” Incidentally, if someone calls you a bastard, it’s almost certainly a term of endearment – except when it’s not, and it’s assumed at the time you should know the difference – we’re fair and reasonable like that.

Far from us to be exclusionary, nicknames are not just reserved for people.

Afternoon is arvo, McDonald’s is Maccas, Acca Dacca is AC/DC (the band), anklebiter refers to a child, servo is service (gas)  station, and though not a nickname, I have to mention one of my favorites – the ever-whimsical ‘fairy floss’ – replacing the very ordinary and obvious ‘cotton candy’.

Cotton candy

Cotton candy may make logical sense, but fairy floss is so much more creative and everyone knows that Australians don’t make sense. (Image via Wikipedia)

We call the kitchen counter a bench here. I cannot tell you the countless times I have told hubby, “The keys/purse/water bottle etc. are on the bench.” Inevitably, I will find him outside in the garden searching on and around the bench for the offending missing item, when it is to be found lying quietly, and very obviously on our ‘counter’.

Last night we had a babysitter arrive. Hubby was talking with her as I was getting ready, and asked her what she’d been doing.

“I’ve been flat chat,” she said.

“Oh, I haven’t heard of that place…Flat Chat… is that where you work?” he responded.

She graciously suppressed her laughter, as she explained to him that the term means ‘busy.’ (Why say a simple word like ‘busy’ when you can jazz it up a little and call it ‘flat chat?’)

He has come home on more than one occasion looking confused and perplexed while trying to recount for me a conversation he had that day, so that I might possibly be able to ‘translate’ for him and he would know what the hell actually went on – while he was smiling and nodding like a bobble-head-doll – his go-to response to nearly everything that confuses him.

Possibly my favorite incident was him telling me he had been sent to see a man ‘Bernard’ about some work. Anyone that knows Australian’s, know we often talk fast and run our words together. This resulted in my husband hearing the man in question’s name as ‘Bertie’.

To be fair, though we would pronounce ‘Bernard’ as ‘Ber-ned‘, in the USA it would be pronounced ‘Ber-Naarrd’. So he could not have possibly correlated the two in such a fast exchange. He apparently asked the referring guy the man’s name twice, he was so unsure of what was said. He didn’t want to ask a third time and risk looking like a moron, so he didn’t.

‘Bertie’ it would be.

He walked to the appropriate department and asked for ‘Bertie’,’ as he explained to me later, “I mumbled the name, hoping they would understand what I meant, because I really wasn’t sure Bertie was correct either.”

Having them realize his confusion and be gracious about it was not going to happen in this lifetime. These are Australian men, ‘paying out’ on someone (laughing at them) is somewhat of a national pastime, and the new American guy would not be exempt from their mockery.

Bertie,” the guy said in a ‘Ernie and Bert’ style voice. “You’re looking for Bertie? Hey guys, Ernie here is looking for Bertie!” Laughter ensued all round when it was made clear who he was searching for, and how it all went so wrong. It was of course all in good fun, and to this day whenever he walks into this particular place of business someone always says in their best ‘Sesame Street’ voice, “Hi Bert!”

I can only imagine his pleasure.

My personal enjoyment has come from the term ‘serviette’ instead of ‘napkin’, which refers instead, to a lady’s sanitary item. This has understandably resulted in my husband getting more than a few odd looks, when he asks for one in a restaurant. (Though I will concede the times, they-are-a-changing, and more people are using this term in the cities.) His issues have come about primarily in our country town more often than the cities, where they are a little more forward and with-the-times.

I didn’t tell him for the first few weeks, it was just too much fun to watch.

Once I caved and confessed the actual meaning and thus the reason for the odd and distasteful looks he was receiving, the term ‘serviette’ became his new best friend. As a result, I imagine there are a lot less waiters on their breaks talking about the weird American dude and his penchant for ladies personal items to be supplied with his dinner. Sadly though, it’s not nearly as much fun for me.

His integration to this country became solidified, a few weeks ago at a local poker game in a pub.

Some guy called across the table and asked what part of Ireland he was from. He told me he hesitated at first – vaguely unsure of himself – before responding that he was not in fact from Ireland, but from the USA (a fact that would be obvious the moment he opened his mouth almost an hour before when the game started).

It was clear to me as he retold this story, that the guy was just being an ass.

“I waited a few minutes for the next hand to be dealt out” he continued.  “Then I cheerfully turned to the same guy and said, “So what part of New Zealand are YOU from?” The crowd broke up into gales of laughter and I was slapped on the back more than a few times.”

(Calling an Australian a New Zealander is akin to calling an American a Canadian or vice-versa. In other words, it’s not too appreciated at best, and insulting at worst. You can imagine how it was intended for our fellow poker player. Touch’e was the comment that came to mind.)

I looked at him in that moment with a kind of awe. “You’ve done it,” I said, “you’ve successfully become a real Australian in less than 2 years, all on your own! You’re like some kind of phenomenon.”

Call me crazy, but knowing what mineral we mine the most of, who the prime minister was in 1943 and how long our dingo fence is, shouldn’t be on the citizenship test. I don’t know the answer to these questions and I’m as ‘dinky-di-true-blue’ (Australian) as they come.

The test should instead be a melding of theory – Can you read and write English? Can you recite the lyrics word-for-word of Jimmy Barnes “Working Class Man?” – And the practical.

The practical can be a scenario just like this one. Pick up on the social cues and give as good as you get. If you fail, you are sent back home immediately, because if you weren’t, you would drown a slow and torturous social death, in the aftermath of your social confusion anyway.

We’re thoughtful like that.

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Tylenol PM – The Gateway Drug?

Open bottles of Extra Strength Tylenol and Ext...

Image via Wikipedia

Having some trouble getting to bed and sleep as early as I should and so last night I took the pro-drug plunge (I hate to even take Asprin for a headache, prefer to keep my body as chemical-free as possible) and took one Tylenol PM tablet.

WOW! I have never been into illegal drugs, my teenage years of rebellion consisted of smoking at 13, and trying some southern comfort in a chocolate milkshake (I had no idea what it was supposed to be mixed with) at 14.

I tried marijuana at about 19 for the first time at a friends party. I don’t remember the experience except that my friend has never let me forget that I was found in the laundry room having a full-on conversation with his parrot. I’m guessing it was one sided, but cant be sure.

At 24 at a Bristol-Myers Squibb sales conference my boss handed me a bong and I had my second experience with marijuana.

Writing this now it seems a pretty politically incorrect thing to do, the boss hands you illegal drugs at a multi-national pharma company-funded conference? How many laws were broken here? In America I could have sued his ass and made a fortune – in Australia I worked like a dog for him for the next 4 years trying to save up for a vacation.

This was the same boss that was eventually fired for putting his penis in the ear of another employee at yet another conference. Clearly hotel stays and power point presentations caused him to lose all sense and reason. Regardless, he got his own in the end which was a shame, he was by far the most laid-back boss Ive ever had. (I wonder why?)

That’s my illegal drug history, clearly not one of note.

I digress.

I took this one PM last night and slept like a log – my son has been sick and my hubby asked me this morning if he woke again last night. I had no idea! I vaguely remember hubby saying goodbye at 8:30 this morning and the next time my eyes opened it was to my son in my room at 10:20am asking for breakfast because he was getting really hungry – parenting at its best!

I dragged my butt out and got him cereal and tried to remember the past 12 hours. Nothing. Not a damn thing.

It was the most bizarre experience, to have 12 hours go by with no clue of anything that happened. I’m a light sleeper and a frequent waker, so this…this was as though I took some kind of drug and blacked out. (Frankly, its very appealing).

I really have to watch myself now, you know what they say – Tylenol PM can be the gateway drug. And I cant afford rehab.

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I’m A Tourist In My Own Country

I have lived for the last 10.5 years abroad. First I moved to Belfast, Ireland, then near Oxford in the UK, then stayed for a brief spell in London and Cambridge. Finally, the majority of my time was spent living in Colorado with my now-husband.

We have recently moved back to my home country of Australia, though one would never know it, I’m so inept at functioning here. My first issue is a frighteningly simple one. Walking. Yes, really.

In Australia, as far as I remembered people walked on the left. Moving people walkers, or escalators go up and down the left. Cars drive on the left. I am left handed for Gods sake! Left, left, left.

This seems so simple, take what I have been doing for the past 9 years and reverse it, but I am seemingly incapable of this simple task.  I start out OK, yet a few minutes into my walking I seem to be bumping into people or simply getting in their way…. I do a lot of dodging people and saying things like; “pardon me”, “I’m sorry” , “excuse me” and the ever cheery “my fault, whoops!” on my excursions out to the pavement.

Sadly, it doesn’t stop there. I was in the grocery store the other day and looking for some Tylenol (or Panadol as its known here). For the life of me I couldn’t find it and after a lot of frustration I started second guessing my knowledge of my country….’do they even carry Panadol in a grocery store in this country? Is it perhaps something that is only available in pharmacies here, like a prescription in the USA? Have been gone so long I’ve forgotten what the simple staples at the grocery store should be?? ‘

My quandary was finally solved when I took a deep breath and asked a lady with a baby (hoping that her brain cells were also fried and she wouldn’t judge me) “Excuse me, I cant seem to find the Panadol, I’m not from this country (lie!) so I wasn’t sure if they carry it in a grocery store here?”

Her look was total judgement as she pointed to the 15 foot long display of panadol-style tablets in the aisle I had just come from. It wasn’t until I was leaving that I realized that saying I wasn’t from this country probably doesn’t really come across as plausible when I say it with a perfect Australian accent. My bad.

My final and most humiliating example (yes it really does get worse) was this sad little display:

Uggs On The Beach...Really?

I wore Ugg Boots on the beach. I may as well have worn a sign over my head saying; “I have lived inland in a cold and wintry climate all my life and know nothing about beach etiquette, or common sense for that matter.”

Now in my own defense we live super close to the beach right now, so it wasn’t as though I was getting ready for a day at the beach and packed up my bag; ‘Sunglasses? Check. Sunscreen? Check. Towel? Check. Ugg Boots? …’

I literally was in shorts and just went down for a few minutes and the Uggs were closest to the door, but still.

To add to my defense, as soon as I stepped into calf-high sand and it started pouring into the top of my boot I realized my mistake and took them off. See? I’m not a complete idiot, despite what you’re thinking of me right now.

Walk To The Beach

Needless to say, top of my schedule today is to get to the local bookstore to find the book titled; “how to fit in like a local and not look like a complete moron in a newish country even though you spent 26 of your formative years here.”

I’m hoping they aren’t all out of that title.

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