Since my little four year adventure in Australia is ending tomorrow morning, I’ve collected some of my favourite posts into two pretty massive posts (click through to be taken to the complete original post). I must say having all these memories collected on this blog has been fantastic. In (more or less) chronological order from August 2005 until now…

I Get Freaked Out By The Australian Museum!
As I crossed Elizabeth Street and looked back into the park I am pretty sure I saw a pack of tourists running from a giant crocodile only to be taken down by the world’s deadliest spider and a few agitated snakes. Maybe that was just my mind though.

I Battle A Cockroach For The First Time!
From here details become a bit sketchy as the field reports are contradictory. I claim I quietly yelped and moved myself into the living room. Amanda recalls a scream and a flash as I shot out of the kitchen as if shot from gun. Believe what you will.

I Discover The Melbourne Cup and Australia’s Penchant For Gambling!
I watched the race yesterday from the staff room of a school where teachers had gathered to watch, gamble, and drink champagne. At 3pm! The final bell had just gone!

I Get Attacked By A Seagull in Manly!
I only caught a glimpse of a white blur out of the corner of my right eye as my shoulder tensed suddenly, bracing itself against the brutish attack from the skies. I jerked to my left toward Audrey, who had front row seats for viewing the half-masticated, airborne chunk of ground beef flying from my mouth.

I Ponder Australian Drug Traffickers!
Was the Australian government acting in the right by allowing nine citizens to be arrested in Bali to face the death penalty when they could have been arrested here and faced a more humane punishment? What possesses a young person to take such a risk? What if someone did plant something in Corby’s bag? Would we care as much about Leslie if she weren’t an attractive young woman? If he were white or an attractive model, would Van’s case have had more exposure?

I Am Comforted By Noise!
While I still can’t watch Hockey Night in Canada, the simple sounds of the game on internet radio bring a tiny part of Canada here to Sydney. Now, as I turn off my laptop and crawl back into bed, I hear the rain pounding against the window and I feel totally at home. It sounds like Vancouver outside, I’ve got the blanket pulled up to my chin, and the Canucks play tomorrow. Now if only I could find some decent syrup.

I Worry About Shooting My Mouth Off About The Cronulla Riots!
As a foreigner in a new country I sometimes struggle with when I can open my mouth about things I see going on around me. Do I have any right to voice a critical opinion about events in a country that has allowed me to stay here for a year? How would I feel if someone started making comments about Canada just after arriving?

I Get Excited About A Canadian On Australian TV!
Home is on the TV! Names I recognize! Struggling Canadian actors! Mountains!

I Contemplate Taking Up Smoking To Cool Down And Make Friends!
Later that evening, I went outside to the mailbox. It was the most blissful five minutes of my entire day. The heat had disappeared replaced with a coolish evening breeze and a beautiful twilight. Perfect weather for a smoke. As I returned to the stagnant heat of my apartment I realized that if I was a smoker I could go outside anytime I want, have a cigarette, cool down and return refreshed and be befriended by my neighbours. I’ve looked at my other choices but none seem to cover all the bases like taking up smoking does.

I Establish A Peace Treaty With The Bugs!
In order to promote co-operation and to achieve peace and security by the acceptance of obligations not to resort to further strife by the prescription of open, just, and honourable relations between we, the people, and you, the roaches by the firm establishment of the understandings of international law as the actual rule of conduct in The Apartment and by the maintenance of justice and a scrupulous respect for all treaty obligations in the dealings of organised peoples with one another Agree to this Covenant of The Apartment.

I Attempt To Watch The Winter Olympics on Australian TV!
One thing that certainly does provide a little comfort is that the Australian commentators have wonderful turns of phrase (much like Mr. Williams!). Tonight during the men’s luge finals I overheard from the kitchen, “He’s a quiet man, but he speaks loudly with his sled.”

I Learn About The Futility Of Shark Nets!
As far as I’m concerned, if you are worried about being eaten by a shark, don’t go swimming in Australia. And if you are worried and you still want to swim, just take your fatter, slower-swimming friend with you. That’s my plan for Saturday.

I Discover Another Sans Souci!
Just how silenced is this figure? Wikipedia has NOTHING. A google search for his name returns ONE result, and it is the review I posted above. Googling my name returns more results. Sans Souci was a leader of the only successful slave rebellion in the Western Hemisphere that helped establish Haiti as a free-republic. I write a blog.

I Watch Lawn Bowls On Television!
I don’t know how you spent your afternoon, but I watched women’s lawn bowls LIVE from the Melbourne Commonwealth Games which kicked off last night. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time (mostly in disbelief).

I Try To Find Replacements For My Friends!
Since Replacement Quinn I’ve noticed other Replacements in and around Sydney. Seldom are they my oldest friends. The Replacements seem only interested in people I’ve met in the last five years or so of my life. I’m not sure why…maybe because I know so much more about Curtis, CJ, Amanda, Eli, and Jack that their Replacements are simply not up to the task.

I Educate Myself Before Going Hiking In The Bush!
The death adders are a group of three or five species of snakes native to the Australian continent. They are some of the most poisonous snakes in the world… Along with superb camouflage, this renders them nearly invisible to both predator and prey alike. And people freak out about bears in Canada. At least you can SEE the bear when it eats you.

I List My Favourite Australians!
Shane Warne: A tremendous cricket player. An incredible bowler. An icon. A man who can’t keep it in his pants. In the time it took you to read this entry, Shane Warne slept with 4 women.

I Lose Sleep During The World Cup!
I don’t know about you but when my alarm goes off at 4:56am I’m not in the best frame of mind to be making any sort of decision. Turns out that depsite the fact that the Sean of two hours earlier really did want to watch the Argentina v. Mexico game, the mostly asleep Sean of 4:56am did not.

I Recap The Craziest 46 Hours In Los Angeles!
19.00: Depart once again for the Greek Theatre and Radiohead. Much the same but with more celebrities.
20.30: It’s Gavin and Gwen! Leonardo DiCaprio! Tobey again!
22.00: Much better show tonight.
23.30: Peg and Pete drop us off at Lissa and Juston’s. Say goodbye. Visit/chat with Lissa and Juston. Til 02.30.
02.30: Decide two hours sleep isn’t really worth it, but crumple to sleep anyway.

I Battle A Huntsman For A Couple Days!
After 24 hours the situation here in Glebe is just as dire as it was yesterday. The stalemate has continued with neither side making any progress forward. The Spider has retreated about 18 inches back from the front but he’s still there. Still disgusting. Still waiting to pounce. It seems the OttoSean Empire has constructed some sort of poor man’s Maginot Line: a towel was placed at the base of the door to prevent any incursions into OttoSean-Controlled Area; there have also been reports that chemical weapons were brought up to the front. The situation is in fact escalating and it’s only a matter of time before one of the two sides does something incredibly rash.

I Play In A Massive Hail Storm!
Sydney weather forecasters suck which means I was unprepared for a pretty interesting afternoon today. How they didn’t see this storm coming I have no idea. At about four this afternoon the temperature dropped nine degrees in half an hour and I sat inside and watched the craziest hail storm I’ve ever seen.

I Remind Myself Why Living Abroad Is So Great!
I guess I thought living abroad would always be about the big differences between the culture of your home and the culture of your adopted home. But I find that these little, pretty much insignificant, observations are what seem to make up the bulk of my acculturation. So while I may never truly understand the world the way an Australian does, I do think collecting all the little pieces, the pieces most Australians wouldn’t even notice, and putting them together will allow me to understand this new world.

I Contemplate The Canadian Flag!
Canadian backpackers, it’s time to let the flag go. If you want people to think you’re nice, act nice. If you’re afraid of being mistaken for an American, get over it. And if you must wave a flag around make it a subtle, quiet one. After all, what could be more Canadian than that?

I Become An Australian Resident!
Australia friggin’ loves me and wants me to stay. Today I was granted my temporary resident spouse visa! So now I don’t have to worry about any silly work restrictions and I can enroll in Medicare. This medicare thing is a major bonus as just this week I’ve managed to stab myself in the hand with our kitchen floor, get stung by something (maybe a bit of dead jellyfish???) on the bottom of my foot while walking on Bondi Beach, AND went jogging for the first time ever which nearly caused a massive coronary.

I Spend A Year In Books!
I’ve also made an effort to read Australian writers and have so far enjoyed Markus Zusak and Tim Winton (as well as Peter Carey, but I had already read a novel of his prior to moving here). At the same time I’ve also made an effort to read Canadian writers in an attempt to stay culturally in-tune with the homeland. So out of the stack of books I brought with me I’ve read Nancy Lee (who lives in Richmond where I grew up), Timothy Findley, and Rohinton Mistry (adopted Canadian). I had hoped some sort of grand thesis regarding colonial literature would jump out at me, but, sadly, nothing of the sort has happened yet.

I Need Supplies!
I’m not sure about other expats, but everytime I’m home I stock up on things I can’t get here. Most of the things are basics which makes it all the more surprising that they don’t exist here. Crest, for instance. I’ve never had a real cavity so I’m quite superstitious about my toothpaste (probably the pitcher in me). I’ve never had a cavity using Crest all my life, why would I change how? I remember being in Vienna when I learned that Crest was more or less North American. I was not a happy camper. Colgate is for chumps.

I Marvel At Australian Slang!
Despite their overwhelming passion for ending any word in –ies, Australians for some reason will have no idea what you’re talking about if you offer them a freezie. Instead you will have to offer them an ice-block or an icy-pole. This is why I love dialects so much. Why on earth would you use a term like ice-block when there’s a perfectly wonderful –ies ending for you to incorporate into Australianese?

I Attend A Memorable Christmas Party!
You know you’re in for a long night when you cross a street called Cowpasture Road and then continue to drive for another 30 minutes. I’m pretty sure we even passed a sign that said ‘Middle of Nowhere.’

I Search For The Ground Beneath My Feet!
But since moving to Sydney a year and a half ago I do sometimes feel as though the ground beneath my feet isn’t as solid as I once thought it was. So while I walk on Sydney’s streets, I find myself selfishly wishing that the ground back in Canada stays exactly the same: I’ve become something I hate – a cultural conservative longing for things to remain exactly as they were when I left Vancouver in August 2005. Is it really too much to ask that none of my friends do anything fun while I’m gone?

I Fall In Love With Cricket!
2. I love that a sport exists that has a ‘lunch break’ a ‘drinks break’ and a ‘tea break.’
3. The annoyance in Amanda’s voice when I call it a ‘homerun’ to which she replies, “It’s called a six!”

I Go To A Hindu Wedding!
So our table was completely seated with people not of Hindu culture but the MC of the whole wedding would come on the mic every now and then and let us outsiders know what was going on. We took to calling him Richie after legendary cricket commentator Richie Benaud since he provided such nice commentary. He even cracked a couple jokes that pretty much only our table seemed to appreciate:
“Tables 15, 22, 29, 38, and 44 will be going to the buffet first. And I assure you, my wife is not at any of those tables.” Richie you’re killin’ me! But he saved his best for later… “Just to update you on the dinner situation. There has been an incident as some curry pots have gone missing. Just joking, dinner is only slightly delayed.” COMEDY GOLD

Volume 2 is here.