Thank you, Australia. It’s difficult, at times, to live in a self-service nation. You see, I am the spoilt child of a culture where we rely on others to do things for us. But thanks to you, I have learnt to Do It Yourself. My list of life skills is slowly growing.
Four years ago, photocopying a document at work was a Process. Yes, capital P. I would fill out a form and sign it. This would be duly approved by the powers that be. A peon would carry it up to the administrative office and another young man in charge of The Machine would print the document for me. It would then be delivered to my desk with great ceremony. Ah, those were the days. Now I use the photocopier – yes, I can be trusted with this device!
Over the years, I have learnt that I must help myself to drinking water at restaurants. I have also learnt to pay first, eat later and pick up my food from the counter (at some places). I can now check out library books and groceries – forget librarians and shopkeepers. I can even check in to a Qantas flight and issue my own boarding pass – goodbye airline staff. I can even fill petrol at the gas station (oh alright, so I haven’t quite mastered that yet).
Then there are things I never thought I’d see or do – taste beer (terrible), taste a cigar (the jury is still out), taste a pavlova (my views on this are best left unsaid). Road trains, stretch limos, the inside of a casino, the outside of a gold mine – they’re all there on my list. I have seen the Southern Ocean and seen nothing like the blue of the sea near Esperance. I have seen red dirt and white sand.
I have eaten persimmons and learnt to slice pineapple. I have had oysters. I can also tell a flat white from a long black, but know that Colombian beats all – and no, I’m not being racist though it sounds a lot like it.
You were probably expecting a list that went – kangaroos, koalas, and emus. Come on, admit it, weren’t you? Well, yes, I have seen those for the first time and I hope I shall see more of them in the years to come. But that isn’t all of Australia.
Australia is the place where I have learnt to live on my own, to write a doctoral thesis, and to find and to find myself. I’ve done this and a lot more with a little help from my friends when I needed it. So, for all of that, thank you.