Friday, October 24, 2008

The Land Down Under



G'day from Sydney, Australia! This is the last stop of my three-city business trip. Here in the southern hemisphere it's Spring, and the weather is perfect: sunny blue skies, 65 degrees Fahrenheit, with a fresh, gentle breeze coming off the harbor. Um, harbour. :-)

Sydney is a happy city and Australia is a happy country. At least to me. I just feel good when I'm here for some reason. Not sure if it's the clean air, or the purple-flowered jacaranda trees, or the smell of the jasmine flowers. Maybe it's the friendly people, or the totally cool Australian accent and interesting vocabulary words. Swagman. Billabong. Troppo. Shrimp on the barbie.

You see, I'm an Australiaphile. I've been one since I was five years old, ever since the day I found an old book on my parents' bookshelf called The World in 5,000 Pictures. There was a section on Australia with photos of Sydney (circa 1950) and kangaroos and sheep stations and I have been in love with - and maybe slightly obsessed with - the concept of Australia ever since.

One of the reasons I became a teacher was because I saw a documentary about the outback teachers from the Alice Springs School of the Air who taught students in remote locations via ham radio. Occasionally they would fly out to the bush in small planes to meet with the students in person. It looked so exciting. I wanted to do something like this.

I almost immigrated here in the mid 1980s. I actually filled out the paperwork - but I never sent it in, because I didn't have quite enough points (Australia has a points system for immigration). I would have had more than enough points after I completed my teaching certification, but by then, I wasn't at a point in my life where I could be that flexible.

I always knew that I would visit Australia one day. I just didn't know it would take so long to get here. But now here I am, for the second time in one year. That's right, it was this time last year - 26 October 2007 to be exact - that I was here. Interesting, huh?

Someday I'll come back and see more of the country. Sydney is great but there's a lot more to see here. I still want to see Melbourne, and the Blue Mountains, and Uluru (Ayers Rock), and the Great Barrier Reef, and the western city of Perth. I'd also like to see "the outback."

This morning my taxi driver told me that there is a great deal of expansion occuring in Western Australia ("W.A.") due to the booming mining industry. I asked him if the boom was so significant that they were needing teachers. He replied with a definitive yes. I did a quick Google search and had several hits such as this one. I love how it says "If you fancy a change . . . "

As for me, I do not currently fancy a change, but if I did, I might go for it.

I love this country.