1. Those monocultural moments (ie. the daily occurrence where the wait staff/shop assistant asks in their sunny breezy manner: "Oh, so where's that name from/where have you just come from/what language are you speaking...?" and when you answer "Latvia/Latvian", their face falls. And they go all quiet. And they say something along the lines of: "Oh!!! That's nice"! And keep beeping your groceries through the checkout. Or they occasionally attempt "Oh! Where's LATVIA? I've never heard of LATVIA!" At which point I start to feel like crawling into the ground, and say, with a friendly smile: "It's in Europe. You know where Poland is? No? Ok then - Sweden? No? Um. It's up from Poland. Or across the sea from Sweden... how about under Finland.... ? Oh, doesn't matter. It's in Europe." At which case the shop assistant/wait staff feels reassured that they know where Latvia is. But it all feels awkward anyway. And you pay for you stuff and leave.) Whoa - that was a big spewed out trauma right there wasn't it! Something that I had not experienced on a daily level for many, many years. Sorry for the rant. It's over now. I know YOU know where Latvia is.
2. Big cities with their sprawling suburbs and obligatory hellish no-brainer attempts at building shelters (calling it "architecture" would be a spit in the eye)
3. The slow, yet obvious extinction of the great Aussie backyard
4. Paying $3.60 for chewing gum. Seriously, Australia?
So after much serious contemplation during the 32 hour journey back over to this side of the world, that's what I've come up with. I think I could probably add another couple of points to the "Pros" section. But I won't bore you. Just go back to sitting bare foot on your verandah, listen to the cicadas, look out and see if the possums are going to get your paw paws. And don't worry about it.
And to all those kindred spirits I met when I was there - miss you already! xxxx