Christmas Vacation - Installment 2

After the movie we decided to drive around the town to see what there was to see - short answer, nothing.  It was a ghost town... I would not have been surprised to see tumbleweeds blowing down the six streets that comprised the downtown area.  Rod had told us that we should go to "The Gorge" to see the waterfall or to go out to "The Lake".  It wasn't a very nice day - gray, rainy and a bit depressing.  I think we were all feeling just slightly dampened at the idea of not being with our families on Christmas; but we were determined to make the best of it.  We drove up to the access road that leads to "The Gorge" only to find that it was washed out from all the rain and flooding.  We Cristin and P.I.C briefly considered hiking the 4km into the woods to see the waterfall until I declared that an 8km hike was not my idea of a good Christmas...  We decided then to find "The Lake" - we did find it eventually; but it was mostly full of family groups celebrating the holiday by having a BBQ and swimming around in the dirty water.  Again, we felt quite out of place driving slowly by on the crunchy loud gravel road as every head swiveled to see who we were.  We left the lake without even getting out of the car.  In the end we drove down to the other end of the gorge which was right outside of the town.  The sky was getting more and more gray; but conditions ended up being perfect for those really dark black and white photos.

We were getting very hungry so we drove back into town.  I asked if we could stop at this beautiful little stone church with an open door - it was dark inside and smelled like incense.  There was a creche and an advent candle wreath.  It was just what I needed to see to remind me of what the day was really about.  Right as we were about to leave the church, the rain started - huge angry drops that wouldn't let up.  We were trapped in the door way for about ten minutes until it was safe to make a run for the car.

Back to the B&B for lunch we went...  Cristin and I were able to whip up quite a feast of turkey sandwiches, tuna sandwiches, olive and feta salad, chips, biscuits and lots of wine.  It wasn't the fanciest Christmas lunch around; but my tuna sandwich was so yummy!  We ate, sitting around the coffee table (since we weren't allowed in the dining room) and watched some tv - I remember "Just Shoot Me" being on; but it was mostly just background noise.  We all agreed after the feast that it was bath/relaxing/nap-time.

After all the relaxing time (which mostly ended up meaning napping time) we reconvened for a late night game of dominoes.  This coffee table gathering was celebrated with salami, cheese, fruit, champagne and Hershey's Kisses fresh from a care package from the States (thanks Annmarie!)

Rod and Barry got back around 10:30 - Barry (he was the super uptight one) came to ostensibly "check on us" which we understood was really him checking on his beautiful lounge for damages.  We had to force him to take out dirty dishes and trash.  We were not given clean dishes, or new trash bags - also, our beds were not made up for the night.

We finished the game late - after midnight for sure; and, just so I can go on record saying this, I totally won....

                              ............................Installment 3 - coming soon!.....................

12 Responses
  1. Proud Australian Says:

    wow, still bashing the australian life I see. Have you thought about how your negative views affect this great country, that you call home? Have you thought about how everyone reading your blog, overseas now pictures our country? you make a mockery out of everything that is Australian, unyet you are still here? what's up with that?
    No, our small country towns aren't open 24/7 like your US ones, and thank god for that. We aren't America, deal with it.
    Perhaps you should rename this blog to, Gone whiny on an unlucky country.

    It incenses me, when i come across the few US expat blogs that continually put down/denegrate/complain/whinge/make fun of our country. But then, luckily you are so in numbers, so my consensus is that you are a minority, and need to harden the fuck up.

    I highly dobut that you will publish this comment. But I just wanted you to know, whether you are happy here or not, beware of what you put out there on your blog, as it has far reaching consequences, and what you and your US buddies find amusing, can/has deeply upset your hosts.

  2. Val Says:

    Is "unyet" a word?

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Wow, that's funny. I read that post and as an American living in Australia as well I never once thought "Yeah, that's Australia for you" concerning any of these things. The fact is that in small towns across America stores and businesses are closed as well - and it's just as big of a pain there. The post was about being out of sorts and a little lost on Christmas, yet making the best of it with friends. Amazing how insecurity can create this lens that makes anything look anti-Australian.

    I also think it's incredibly weird how insecure the Aussies are about their national identity. They have this bizarre love/hate relationship with Britain and the USA. They constantly crave our attention and approval, yet simultaneously resent us. Every year they gobble up American television, fashion, politics and culture. Then they turn around and bemoan the influence it has. They call Brits "Pommie Bastards" behind their backs, and yet in professional circles to be able to say you worked in London is considered one of the best ways to prove your bona-fide's. In a way it is very comparable to how a sullen teenager treats his parents.

    I guess that's the most accurate parallel really. Like insecure teenagers, Australians have this fierce, and yet unearned, indignance about their culture. I see the above comment to be exactly like a teenager who takes every comment from a parent in the worst light. (Parent - "I think those pants are getting too small on you". Teen - "So you think I'm fat?").

    I guess it's understandable though. Like a teenager, Australia still draws the vast portion of it's identity from it's parents (The USA and UK). It wants to be like them, yet also sticks out it's bottom lip and swears the opposite. It still lives in their house, eating their food, enjoying their protection, begrudgingly obeying their rules, and going out to party and play sport at every opportunity. Having never done anything of real significance on the world stage (the grown up world), it sits back and smugly second guesses the decisions of those who have to deal with real problems.

    Maybe it's just a manifestation of the deeply rooted shame many till feel from their convict history? Maybe it's embarrassment that a monarch sitting 1,700 km away can still depose their leaders and send them to their room without supper? Maybe it's the lack of meaningful contribution to the world stage, or the inability to unite the country into a proper single federation? Maybe it's race-shame centered on their treatment of the Aboriginals?

    No matter what the reason though, Aussies are being silly and stupid by behaving this way. If they would take stock of themselves and stop trying to draw comparisons to everyone else, they would see what a wonderful thing they have. Australia is an amazing place, filled with wonderful hard working and loving people. These people conquered and tamed one of the harshest places on earth and turned it into a prosperous and almost heavenly home. So what if American and British influence still runs in their blood and psyche? Does that make them any less human or deserving of self pride? Nonsense.

    The Aussies need to grow up a little and stop being so immature. It's OK to be who you are, dependencies, warts and all. No need to be so paranoid that every comment from outside it taken in the worst light and turned into an insult.

  4. Ute Says:
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  5. Anonymous Says:

    Hilarious! So pointing out that the post comment was not anti-Australian MAKES you anti-Australian? How long before Ute hauls out the word "Nazi" and turns the whole thing into an Abbott and Costello "Whose on First?" routine?

  6. Ute Says:
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  7. Mimi and Joe Says:

    Ok, enough from all of you...

    Here's what I have to say about all this:

    @ Proud Australian -
    You have obviously never been to the States (or if you have, it was for a 2 week holiday where you visited NYC and Vegas). If you had ever been to the States you would know that our small country towns are closed on Christmas as well (as are most of the larger towns/cities). That phenomenon is not specific to Australia.

    I don't really care what impression people are getting about Australia from my writing. Why? Because I don't work for Tourism Australia.... I'm just a person writing honestly about our experience moving to a new country. I'm not trying to influence people one way or another. My husband and I are still here because we love it here. I went back just now and skimmed through most of my entries - mostly what I have found is reference after reference to this "great city" "clean air" "beautiful produce" "gorgeous country" etc..

    Saying I denigrate and put down your country is just about the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. I do poke fun sometimes - I am after all living in a country that sees "taking the piss" out of people as a national pastime. Perhaps I'm not the only one here that needs to acquire a thicker skin?

    I'll end with my regular response to comments like yours - If you don't like it; don't read it...

    @ Val -
    Bwah Ha Ha...

    @ Anonymous -
    I'm not sure I read as deeply into this whole thing as you do. I certainly do find it incredible how much American culture there is here. I also feel like there is some insecurity as well - hence the whole "We like to poke fun at everyone! It's our culture! Hey, stop making fun of me!" attitude that I see so much.

    @ Ute -
    I'm sorry that I'm not constantly pooping out rainbows and unicorns in my posts. God forbid that I give an honest review of our lodging. And worse too, that I shared with you all that being so far away from my family on a rainy day in a country town on Christmas made me a bit sad. Maybe next time I should just pretend that I rode a Kangaroo, drank a VB and then my life was magical!

    I don't know whether or not you are truly Anti-American. I can tell you that it's a bit strange that you read and follow so many American Expat blogs... What's the fascination? Or is it just to correct us and keep us in line? You are regularly talked about in the American Expat Blogging circles :)

    I'm not even sure why I'm responding to you - most of us try not to engage with you because we find your comments to be inflammatory. Guess I just didn't feel like holding my tongue today.

    I'll end with my regular response to comments like yours - If you don't like it; don't read it...

    You can all keep reading my blog and thinking that I am some Australia-bashing whiny little girl if you so choose. I don't know you and you certainly know nothing true about me from reading this blog. Just a head's up - I posted these comments so that we could get this discussion out in the open. From here on out though, if you post a comment about me being anti-Australian, I won't publish it...

    The End

  8. Anonymous Says:

    Hi Mimi, I'm an Australian living in Melbourne and I find you're blog facinating. I do think alot of Aussies seek acceptance from Americans, it's weird. I love visiting America, (love Americans, very polite and well mannered) it's not perfect, we're not either, it's all good. I love your honesty, keep up the good work and don't change a thing. PS Melbourne is better than Sydney, get down here LOL.


  9. Mimi and Joe Says:

    @ Bernie - Thanks for your comments :) I've heard from many people that the cafe and restaurant culture in Melbourne are fantastic! I think it's the next place in Australia that we are going to try to visit and I can't wait... I just talked to a woman from Melbourne today - she just opened a used book store in town and we chatted while I was checking out. She said the humidity here in Sydney is killing her :)

  10. Anonymous Says:

    Hi Mimi-

    I'd like to start by saying that I've been LOVING your Christmas posts. You totally had me cracking up describing how everything at the B&B was locked up, how ghetto the gas station was (I wonder if they'll have pay at the pump here before 2015?), how you turned heads in the small town where everyone else knew each other. What Mr. Petulant up above should realize is that you could have very easily been describing the U.S., or the UK, or any other rural place where a series of mishaps and misadventures just happened to occur. Good on you for making the most of your time and being able to laugh about it!

    I went through the same feelings of sadness and homesickness when I was away from home for Christmas last year; who wouldn't miss their friends, families, and familiar traditions during the holiday season?! The point is, there is no WRONG way to feel, and no wrong thing to say. I agree that you're incredibly positive and enthusiastic about Australia in your posts - much more than I am in my blog, ha - but there's certainly nothing wrong with pointing out differences and even laughing about them at times.

    Having received a similarly nasty comment in which I was called every swear word, accused of mental illness, and told to 'f-off back to the U.S.', I must say I understand where Anonymous above is coming from and in my angrier moments I tend to agree. At the same time, though, I didn't start blogging to spark controversy, and I'm sure you didn't either. Keep on sharing your experience and know that there's no wrong way to feel. More power to you, sister!


  11. Mimi and Joe Says:

    @ Kate - Thanks! Really, I keep this blog for my friends and family. It;s easier to just post things for everyone to read than to send long e-mails every week. I wasn't prepared for how many complete strangers would feel the right to pop in here speak their minds...

    I never read blogs till I started writing one - now I follow about 30 of them... It used to be more; but I've deleted those whose content I don't like. I've never left a single mean comment on anyone's blog though and I don't understand how other people think it's ok to do so. Too weird...

    Thank God I have comment moderation turned on - I guess that's the great thing about having your own private site... you control the content :)

    Thanks for the positive comments!

  12. Anonymous Says:

    Wow, lots of anger and hurt feelings! It's sad that people can't just accept that we inherently have differences in our cultures, personalities, etc., but that it shouldn't be a barrier to understanding, kindness or even just civility.

    Mimi, growing up in a family where Christmas was a time of such richness and beautiful tradition, I'm sure it was very difficult for you to be anywhere else but "home". But it sounds like you really kept your chin up and made the best of it.

    I love you so much and miss you bunches!


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