No words have ever rung true-er.  Because I tell ya, Oz is truly sunburnt - and I love her.  As I sit in the half-dusk that is Latvian "daytime" at this time of year, my visual memory of my recent trip is precisely that - bleached out beautiful over-sunned landscapes with crunchy dry foliage all around. And the fragrance!!  The amazing scent of eucalyptus and other Australian natives, which I never noticed quite so keenly before. 

 I had way too many fabulous moments in my whirlwind trip to make a long post of it - so I'll just leave you with a small and carefully considered list of the pros and cons of my lovable sunburnt country: 



PROS

1. Kindred spirits (you know who you are) and their offspring
2. Stradbroke Island
3.  Bright sunlight pretty much all the time
4. She'll be right mate
4. Schools designed to be child friendly (totally radical idea)
5.  Mango season + meat pies
6. Jacaranda trees, banksia men, trunks of gum trees

CONS

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

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