Friday

Water seems to be the theme for 2013


When I decided to just “roll with it” this year I didn't expect to be put to the test quite so soon.
The Australia Day (national day) long weekend proved to be an interesting one.
In the lead up to our national day on January 26 I'd been thinking about writing a post about what it was to be AustralianFor a couple of reasons, really.

First, I overheard a Engish woman tell her husband that the cruise (we were just on) was catering solely for Australians not for other nationalities and that even the entertainment was for the "Australian sense of humour". We speak the same language, eat the same kind of food and watch the same TV shows...but are we really that different?

And second, I read a review of Les Miserables in the London Guardian and the film critic noted that "as Australians, Crowe and Jackman probably have a particular 'feeling' for the convict culture that lies behind Hugo's novel". 
I mean really?

Britain may have settled Australia to make it a penal colony in the 18th century but this doesn't mean that all future generations can identify with that kind of suffering as though it's in our DNA. While history shapes us, a lot has sure happened in the many generations since then.  
As it happened, I never got to write that particular blog post because Mother Nature decided to interrupt. She sent ex Cyclone Oswald for a visit (there is such an entity as an ex cyclone, who knew?) resulting in substantial rain, high winds, widespread flooding and damage across northern Australia.


Brisbane City


These really strange bubbles washed up on the beaches and roads on the Sunshine Coast caused by the cyclone

Oh dear, an instant river in suburban streets...canoes are the order of the day
 
The worst we experienced was having no electricity, ripped up gardens and trees down here and there. Others have not been so lucky and flood damage has hit some towns very badly resulting in not just the loss of homes but also the loss of life.
Going without electricity for a couple of days gave me pause to contemplate what being an Australian actually means (along with kicking myself for not learning more survival skills when I was a Girl Guide - I desperately wanted a cup of coffee but didn't know how to rub two sticks together, lol).
 
Now, I think that being an Australian just means you are plain lucky. Nothing more.

We live on the biggest island in the world, surrounded by water and beaches with a pretty interesting history that goes back millions of years. We have space and the freedom to move around as we please. We are blessed with so many opportunities. And yes, we have just enough creepy crawlies and natural disasters to keep us on our toes.

We get to take our sunshine, freedom, peace, a classless society, jobs, mateship, health care, social security, a great standard of living and most of all, electricity and water, for granted. 

See? We are probably just as lucky as many other countries and far luckier than many others. 

And next Australia Day, come rain, hail or shine I will embrace being born lucky and give thanks to my British, Polish and German ancestors for having the guts and foresight to make the long journey here. No matter what Mother Nature dishes up.

Oh yeah, as well as being lucky, most of us are really good swimmers.....for obvious reasons really.


Tell me, when you hear or read the words Australia or Australians, what do you immediately think of? (be honest - we also have thick skins...must be all that sun..then rain..we are weathered like old boots).

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And if you want to see what that sea foam did to roads and see some of our idiot drivers (yeah we have lots of them here) watch this video. Please note that there is swearing at the end of this I think so you may want to turn the sound down...

51 comments:

  1. They played videos of that foam thing on our news for several nights. It is pretty darn awesome. I've never seen anything like it.

    We really loved Australia and New Zealand even though we didn't get very far out of Sydney. We were struck by how very FRIENDLY everybody was. We stayed at hostels everywhere and people would constantly take the time to talk to us which I loved. Didn't meet any grumpy people in Australia.

    What do we think about when we think of Australia? I asked Art and the first thing he said was, "Crocodile Dundee and Walkabout".

    G'day!

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    1. G'day Kay, you have certainly picked up the lingo here, lol. I think americans and Australians are friendly int he same way. Other nationalities can be more reserved. And I think we are a bit more cynical then Americans. Oh we have lots of grumpy people here too, but glad you didnt meet any on your visit. Hopefully you and Art get back over here one day and have a visit to the Barrier Reef and lots of other places.
      He he funny, I remember when I went to NYC for the first time, we were in this Irish pub and this guy (who had never been outside of New York) kept calling us Mike. We could not understand until it was revealed that he had watched Crocodile Dundee and he thought they were saying Mike when it really was Mate. He also kept talking aobut Olivia Newton John. It was all so funny. We had a great time there.

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  2. What do I think when I hear the word Australians? Humourous. You guys have a great sense of humour and an uncanny ability to laugh at yourself before the rest of us get a chance to.

    Then I think of the sun, beaches, life guards, bikinis, woman prime minister, Dame Edna, the Opera House, the Bee Gees, ONJ and on it goes. As for us in the UK, we do take a decaying interest in our past as that is all we seem to have. Compared to countries like American and Australia we are pretty much rooted other than a few castles and a monarchy that has seen better days. Life is getting bleaker by the day here I think.

    I hope they clean up the flood damage soon and my thoughts are with the poor people who have lost their homes again since the last flood. I have seen it on the news here. Mother Nature can be a bitch and we are all feeling her wrath of late. Oh wait, that is Mr Global Warming's fault isn't it? We can now pass the buck.

    xx

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    1. Thanks Sar, I agree with you on your take of the UK, I have to say. Although it is not all of the UK just England from my experience in living over there. May the sun shine on you very soon, otherwise you can come out here and catch some rays xx

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  3. When I hear the word AUSTRALIA, I think of all the wonderfully talented actors that come from there...(Hoping that Naomi Watts wins The Oscar!!!)
    That ex-cyclone sure did a lot of damage....it is rather frightening! To not have electricity for three days may to be the worst thing, but it sure reminds one how import and needed it is when it's not there....Glad you are safe and sound, my dear Lilly....

    I am going to post a review of "Les Mis" very soon....!

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    1. I have not seen Naomi in that film yet but hoping to next week with a couple of others. Dying to find out what you think of Les Mis Naomi. Yes, I did miss the electricity I tell you. It seems we cant do much without it these days, which I know makes me a little sad but I am no camper. Glad you are back blogging again.

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  4. I´m like Sarah, when I think of Australians, I think of your great sense of humor, your big hearts, your kindness (sending me 2 packages already!!) and you Lilly! I would LOVE to visit Australia, I think other than the beaches it will be very similar to our scenery (at least from what I´ve seen so far) and I think my hubby would love it there too. But why are you so FAR away?!!

    That video was so impressive and yes that was really an idiot driver (WTH!). Hope you have dried out by now.

    Have a good weekend Lilly!

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    1. Thanks Betty. Yep I think our countries would be similar too and people say we are very like Canadians so given you are familiar with them it would be asy for you here, lol. We should do an exchange, I go to Paraguay and you come here. How about that?

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  5. Lilly, we share our Republic Day with you on Jan 26th. And just to confuse those who spout all those old DNA theories, do they know that Asia and Australia were once connected, and called Australasia . So may be you have even more complicated stuff in your DNA.

    Australians - large hearted folks, very friendly, sports loving people, great actors. Cricket,Tennis and Swimming ; you have all bases covered.

    But we have a lot more in common. Flooding of cities due to rain, electricity going off (we do that without cyclones too), women PM's, no Kings and Queens. And Sachin Tendulkar and Sir Don Bradman.

    And dont worry about the convict DNA stuff. At one time we had the "Natives" DNA . The trend might have just reversed. Check out how many people in the UK cricket team are from outside.

    I know its a bit late in the day, but Happy Australia Day!

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    1. Yes, we do have loads in common. And I think we have very similar lives, strangely enough. Plus we both love cricket so what else is there not to like? I have to check out th eUK cricket team then and see. Happy REpublic Day to you too Ugich.

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  6. Oh my Gosh!! I have been hearing on the news but pictures Wow. Praying it settles down ..

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    1. It has Darsden but so sad for several towns. Damage is bad but you guys know what that is like too. The rest of us will help out and hopefully people will get back on their feet again.

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  7. Great pictures of all of it, Lilly - makes it very real when you see it, even more so than reading about it.

    I think of Koala Bears and beaches. I think lately of Kangaroo Island, where I want to stay soon!

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    1. Aww Koala bears, true and no-one has mentioned Kangaroos. I hope you do get to Kangaroo Island - I would not have a clue what is on it even and I dont even know anyone who has been there lol. Funny if you end up being the first person I know what has gone there.

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  8. I'd love to visit Australia one of these days, it sounds like a wonderful country...glad you survived the storms.

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    1. You must visit one day Christine. I bet it would be similar to Canada too - we have those Commonwealth ties after all! Are you guys a Republic yet. We are so slow to cut our ties with the Monarchy. It is so ridiculous really.

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  9. Sending prayers for those who were affected. Gave me chills to see the pictures and my heart goes out to your community.

    What do I think of when I think of Australians? First thought is the lovely accent :) The next is I think of kindness and that has a lot to do with you and your blog.

    But honestly, I'm not good with nationalities/cultures and distinctions. I just see... people.. :)

    That said... I would absolutely love to visit Australia one day.

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    1. I agree, th emore we blog the more we just see the person without age, looks, accents attached. It is rather refreshing isn't it?

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  10. I don't have many pre-conceived notions as to the differences between Australians and any other nationality. I follow a number of Australian bloggers and you all seem very different in terms of your humor. I suspect that is true of any nationality. We are all so unique. As for Hugh Jackman..if most of your men look like that, I am prepared to move.

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    1. Unfortunately no, all our men do not look like Hugh. He is kind of special though really as he just seems a lovely bloke inside and out. Very unaffected by the fame and married to someone 13 years or so older than him. I hope he stays the same as his fame grows.

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    2. Lovely bloke perhaps. He'd be even lovlier were he to keep his laughing gear closed & not make public pronouncements. (Better to be quite and thought of as one, rather than say something and prove it.... etc etc!)

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    3. One what exactly Steve?

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  11. For many year when I thought of Australia I thought of Aborigines and their horrible treatment. In the past decade, I've heard so many positive things about Australia and it's laid-back, devil-may-care atmosphere and some of my favorite actors hail from "down-under" including Nicole Kidman. And, of course, now I think of Lilly - as in Lilly's humor, passion, kindness and quirkiness.

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    1. Yes, the Aboriginal issues are horrific when you think they were nearly wiped out when the British landed and claimed the country to make it a penal colony. We have never got it quite right since. And of course at one point their children were taken away from them and given to 'white people' to raise. Can you imagine? A couple of years ago the Prime Minister made a public apology to all indigineous Australians for the suffering they endured. It was a big deal here and well received. The issues today are quite complex still. I used to visit Aboriginal communities in the most northern parts of Australia for my work quite often. I learnt a great deal. And thanks for such kind words too Can-Can.

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    2. To be accurate: The Prime Minister apologised on behalf of parliament (not on behalf of Australia or the Australian people) and the apology was not a public one, but was delivered inside parliament, under parliamentary privelige.

      Quite different to a blanket public apology.

      To say the apology was "well received" is a tad misleading, it was somewhat controversial.

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    3. Controversial for whom Steve? Those that did not approve? In fact it hosed down lots of controversy and was well received by many different stakeholders.

      On 13 February 2008, as parliament returned from its summer break, the then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd moved a Motion of Apology to Australia’s Indigenous Peoples (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3) in the House of Representatives apologising for past laws, policies and practices that devastated Australia’s First Nations Peoples – in particular members of the Stolen Generations. This was the parliament’s first order of business, and The Hon Kevin Rudd became the first Australian Prime Minister to give a public apology to the Stolen Generations on behalf of the Federal Government.

      The apology was public and broadcast live and watched by many. I do not know how it could be any more public, by a Government we Australians elected.

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    4. Hmm, if you've not grasped the difference between parliamentary privelige and a statement made in public, there is little I can do to assist you, not in the time & space of a blog comments.

      I'm not saying the clayton's apology wasn't well received (by some) I'm saying it was controversial. It certainly was not well received by all. It went over well with the journalist class. It went over well with activist indigenous, with the aboriginal industry, and the like. However it nearly caused vapours in some circles.

      The only reason it didn't was because the apology was nowhere near as strong as the advance reporting indicated it would be.
      Apologising when there is nothing to apologise for is never going to go down well.

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  12. First I must say I've never been there. I would like to make it there eventually.
    Australia - a country that seems to know how to run itself, a great blogger named Lilly, the great barrier reef, the platypus, kangaroos.
    Hey just a day or so ago I watched a clip of a show that quizzed a guest on Aussie slang. I only remember the word "nork".

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    1. Yes you would love Australia Bill but you have to allow yourself a fair while as th ecountry is so big and it takes you a while to get round it or even a part of it. do you know I have never heard of the word nork at all. Maybe it was a dork? That means a bit of a nerd. Aussie slang - I pretend I dont use it at all. But then if you go to another country you find the most peculiar language spilling form your mouth and you realise that you do in fact use sland far more than you realised. Here is a link to some Aussie slang. The worst thing we do here Bill is shorten everything. Very casual we are. In fact, so casual that McDonalds has just changed its name to Maccas here, as that is what we call it. Imagine they are rebranding all their stores to that. http://alldownunder.com/australian-slang/index.html

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    2. The clip I watched had two young people playing this game of guess what the phrase/word means. One player was a young Aussie guy. It was not dork which we use here too with the same meaning. No it was nork and apparently refers to a nice lovely part of a woman's body. I can't figure out how the work became to be associated with that but most slang words/phrase are like that.

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    3. I am probably too old because each generation seems to come up with their own words Bill. Language is interesting that is for sure. Do you have your own slang in Chicago that may be different to say, LA?

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    4. Da Bears - you probably can't pronounce it with you Aussie accent.

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    5. Ummm... "Nork" is well known. I've never known it to be used in polite company though. It means "Bosom" (singular)

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    6. Thanks Steve, I must be completely out of the loop because I have never heard of it. Or those that do now arejust too polite like yourself to use it around me. You learn something new every day.

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  13. No more wishing for a waterfront....

    What happened to all those Queenslanders on piers/ stilts. All the new houses appear to be on ground level.

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  14. I will also embrace being born lucky and rejoice that we only got 55mm of rain. We have had flooded paddocks here and been bogged for almost a week 2 yrs ago ...the central town flooded too.
    It is horrific what people have suffered through natural disasters lately.
    I think of mateship and the way help others through adverse times.

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  15. When I think of Australians, I think of easygoing people who don't take life too seriously and who know how to party. Stereotyping is fine as long as you're saying good stuff, right?

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  16. When I hear the word Australia I think of you and Peggy Cameron - two wonderful people who make the world a better place.

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  17. "Idiot Driver"? That's a bit unfair. Those people WERE standing in the middle of the road. The driver did not appear to be at fault.

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    1. As it happens the driver did it deliberately for a bit of fun apparently. I think it looks to be pretty unroadworthy. Thanks for stopping by and all your great comments. Appreciate it.

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    2. The car unroadworthy? Hardly a consideration in those conditions.
      There's certainly nothing wrong with the road, it's only sea foam that's covering things, not deep water.

      There is some vicarious pleasure in watching that video, as in similar situations I've been VERY tempted to run over the coppers myself! ;-)

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  18. I snickered when I read about the review of Les Mis remarking on Crowe and Jackson's convict understanding. Who could write such nonsense? I'm from the prairie. Does this mean that I have an innate understanding of how to farm? Well, ok...I grew up on a farm in Iowa, so I do. :) But, my partner grew up in a city and I think she would find it funny if someone talked about her innate understanding of farmers.

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  19. Hi Lily, Gosh those pics are amazing! We heard about the rains and floods on the nightly news but your pics really bring it all home and much closer than "far away Australia" seems. Hope you're doing well, have ALL your power back and this is all a distant memory by the time you read this.

    I've never been to Australia or New Zealand but it's on my "Bucket List" and I hope to visit one day. My impressions is, and always has been, probably stereotyped based on what I see in TV-- happy, friendly, throw-a-shrimp-on-the-barbie kind of carefree image. And beautiful-- Australia looks beautiful too.

    Stay dry and safe, xo jj

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    1. Yes you must make the trip JJ, we will look after you!

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  20. Hi Lilly,
    As always, I enjoyed reading this one. I've been so out of touch about world events. We have T.V. but all I watch these days are what the grandkids watch--Disney, Hubs, Discovery, Nickelodeon, and National Geography channels. That's why I just now learned about your cyclone and flooding. So sorry to hear about the loss of lives.

    About your question, I think of Australia as a paradise with kangaroos and koalas without cyclones and floodings!LOL.

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    1. Where I used to live there were always kangaroos about but not here. As for Koalas I have only seen those at the zoo, lol.

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  21. Lilly will we need to wait for the theme of 2014 for the next post? Hope all is well with you.

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    1. :) thanks for the push to post. I appreciate it Bill.

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  22. What do I think of ????? Fun loving beautiful people - the Aussies.

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    1. Sweet Helen. Well some of us are anyway, lol.

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Thanks for your comments. I love reading what you have to say.