(Australian native flower Banksia menziesii photographed by Jen Grey Wilson)
Apart from my family and friends …
1) Space and landscape. The wonderful sense of expansive space, thanks to the immense landscape filled with open plains, the extensive horizon and seemingly endless heavens.
2) The freshness of a young colonisation, 222 years of white civilization means little historical baggage despite the weight of the destruction and alienation of aboriginal culture. Our youth gives us the ability to make amends and heal through time. There is still so much opportunity.
3) The sounds, sights, smells and tastes of harmonious multiculturalism which I believe can still exist post 9/11. Hate is difficult to maintain while love outlasts and overcomes.
4) Our exotic, unique in the world flora and fauna. I never get tired of seeing Kangaroos leaping across the countryside or across golf courses (no we do not see them in the cities, for my naive American friends information). And I love our bizarre flowers and plants who inspired the children’s book Snuggle Pot & Cuddle Pie, a kind of Australian nature myth of changelings and fairys.
(Images of my top favourite Ozzie artists: Brett Whitely and Robert Juniper)
5) Australian Art and Artists. They reflect the geographic ancientness of the landscape through the eyes of and open contemporary culture without limitations, bias or presumptuousness.
6) The love of sport and physical activity. It’s difficult to find an Ozzie* coach potatoe as the majority are out playing sport on the weekend from: Australian rules football, tennis, cricket, netball, swimming etc.
7) The freedom of walking bare foot nearly everywhere you like. It may seem a little unhygienic or downright dangerous but it’s great to know that I can pop down to the local shopping centre (mall) without any shoes on in the summer and no one will mistake me for a homeless person.
8) A love of life and learning. Education is given with a dose of enthusiasm. Most kids love school and even if learning isn’t your thing it doesn’t matter, no one will judge, there are always other options in life.
9) Certain tastes of Ozzie* food and drink. Milo hot chocolate drinks and meat pies in the winter, beer with fish and chips or Turkish bread and dips in the summer. (not necessarily all these things together or in this particular order, it’s just the random way they came popping out of my memory).
10) Australian slang. Colourful turns of phrase, some strange others apt, you can’t beat some Ozzie* slang to confuse tourists J I myself don’t speak slang but I can understand it and it makes me laugh heaps, it’s a cross between cockney English and Australian vernacular speak.