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Kangaroo Korner

posted Mar 20, 2014, 5:28 PM by Bowmansville UMC   [ updated Apr 24, 2014, 12:01 PM ]

A Happy and Blessed Easter to you all!  Soon the full glory of nature will re-awaken in Spring, and I pray your spirits will flower in this new time of life.

In this month's article in this series, let's look first at weather and fashion, because the two are so obviously linked. We are a sub-tropical climate overall, although because of Australia's size, the more northerly areas become tropical and the more southerly areas experience more cold, rain, and even snow, lying closer to the Antarctic as they do. This means that although each of the 4 seasons is present, they don't necessarily all exist in each area of the continent. Australia is frequently subject to severe floods, wildfires, drought, and cyclones, which impact every aspect of life on this continent, just as is true in the US.  Sel and I are approx. mid-way on the East Coast of Queensland, which means we really vary only slightly from very hot to pleasantly comfortable to cooler but rarely cold, and the most we generally experience in terms of 'wild weather' is high winds and serious beach erosion.  It really only ever feels to me like Spring or Summer. 

This, of course, means that we have all the same types of clothing that exist in America, but with more of an overall abundance of lighter weight, 'frothier', 'filmier' clothing for the ladies, and shorts and sandals (even for casual dinners and theater events) for the men.  Of course, expensive, high fashion clothing exists in Oz as well--in fact there are several internationally acclaimed fashion houses in Sydney and Melbourne--but who can afford that (or would even want to dress that way here)?  I have noticed, though, that great emphasis is placed on ladies' footwear--I only wish I could afford to indulge myself, as even Payless shoes are "pay more than in Lancaster" shoes!

And speaking of the seasons, we are upside down here in the Southern Hemisphere, so while you read this in the chill of winter, I am living by the pool in the heat of our summer.  Another stark difference here, and one that I truly love, is that we seem so much closer to the heavens here, and our skies are filled with masses of visible stars that seem almost reachable from our balcony!  In fact, we have been watching the passing of the Space Station from our balcony--seemingly right over our heads--on many occasions as it orbits the earth.  It seems so close that I wave to it's occupants every time it passes.

Finally, a word about immigration and the cultures that make up our two countries.  Australians are generally a kind and courteous lot, very laid back and easy going, and far less likely to engage in road rage.  It's really quite pleasant, and dependably so, to ring a government office or business and be greeted with courtesy and the answers to your queries (that's Aussie-speak)! But we have our share of  'bikies' (the lawless, gang-style bikers) and 'hoons' (abrasive and destructive young people).  Additionally, Sel and I live in an area that is both highly sought after as a tourist destination and home to Griffith University (Uni) and an adult school for trade skills (TAFE), so we have all of the concerns you might expect from a largely transient population. 

Having said that, we also have every business and service you'd expect for the thousands of people who make this area their permanent home. Ladies, you'd love our shopping malls, as some are multi-tiered and under a dome as we have in WNY, but we also have some amazing outdoor malls which are beautifully designed and landscaped (some even with lovely water features) to enhance your stroll from shop to shop--sometimes in an almost carnival atmosphere.  

While it is probably fair to say that both Australia and the US are home to people of almost every other part of the world, it is also true that Oz's immigrant population is drawn more heavily from the Asian, Pacific Island, New Zealand and Eastern European cultures as opposed to America's largely Central and South American and Western European influenced neighborhoods. (Interesting tidbit:  almost 1 out of every 2 Australian residents were either themselves born in a foreign country or had a parent born overseas!) 

I'm sure you've all had occasion to purchase something that came with instructions in a few languages besides English--notably French, Spanish and German. I thought it might interest you to know the identity of some of the languages into which instructions are translated here under similar circumstances: Chinese, Croatian, Dutch, Filipino(Tagala), German, Greek, Italian, Khmer, Korean, Macedonian, Maltese, Nepalese, Polish, Serbian, Spanish, Turkish and Vietnamese.  An eclectic mix, to say the least!

Both countries currently share the Middle Eastern exodus, and both are likely to continue to be sought after by the world's expanding third world populations.  But Australia is still a much smaller player on the world stage than America, which still holds the torch of opportunity's promise to the world. Conflict continues here as elsewhere over the fate and future of asylum seekers, and the manner in which new immigrants can be accepted into the fabric of life.  The realities of overpopulation, civil war atrocities, and horrific conditions on the one hand sit side by side with the concerns of how to sustain additional persons in already stressed economies, at the same time supporting them until that can be achieved.

We have much for which to be grateful, and much for which we need to pray...and please remember to pray for the world's children.


Love always,  Mary


"Perhaps out of pure heavenly goodness the spring came and crowded everything it possibly could into that one place."  Frances Hodgson Burnett


"Anything is possible if you have faith."  Mark 9:23