Tuesday, August 28, 2007


A transcontenental lifestyle manifests a variety of new considerations about how the world works.

There are certain mind sets that derive almost entirely from living in one hemisphere. Some take a while to reset, the process contributing to a sort of psychological jet lag.. not the physical sort where one is tired at 4:30 in the afternoon..although that did happen yesterday. I was exhausted, simply couldn't keep my eyes open after 7:30 in the evening. I so wanted to stay up and watch a tv interview with this year's Young Australian of the Year which aired at 9:35. As you might imagine, I was snoring peacefully by 7:45 and didn't wake up til my bladder threatened at 6:30 this morning.

It is the end of August all round the globe as I am sure you are aware. The meaning of such a date changes with the distance north or south from the great circle that one finds herself. In my evergreeen fig tree wilderness, the end of August translates into cool spring mornings with 25 C (77 F). temperatures in the afternoon. Puffy clouds circle the edges of my world and baby blue skies provide a signature backdrop. In my previous home, August meant the onset of the Santa Ana, temperatures in the afternoon hovering around 40 C (104 F). Whist here spring is budding forth with birdsong and new growth on the tendrils of all the potted plants, in California the dry heat of summer creates the autumn 'bush fire' possibilities. What a difference!

I am not only having to translate fahrenheit to celsius but inches and feet to millimetres and metres. As a number person I have myself figuring constantly. It is the stuff that occupies my mind when I dare to drive a car..that is, when I'm not reminding myself that a left hand turn in Oz is really a right hand turn in North Amerika. That wide swatch of the Aussie right hand turn is something to behold when one rumbles through an intersection the first time after returning to the southern hemisphere..no matter who is driving..but especially if that wide swatch takes place in one of the football sized five way intersections here in Brisbane.

And then there is the confusion about which side of the road is the 'wrong' side. One might assume the issue is simply one of driving, but walkers must also be alert. I have lost count of the number of times that my default traffic direction checker has sent me off to cross a busy street in the midst of oncoming traffic because I looked the wrong way before stepping off the sidewalk into the roadway. Fortunately, at the beginning Graham stood beside me and with long arms rescued me from collision.

There are other issues of course. Social niceities have different requirements. I am an inveterate question asker. The Aussies tend to wait for some one to offer information. In a most amerikan manner, I barge in, intoduce myself to absolute strangers and begin to ask for whatever information will satisfy my curiosity. The Aussie apologizes for my behaviour and sneaks away to read a book or otherwise disengage himself from my over the top behaviour.

"Oh well!" says my friend the English teacher. Sometimes the differences enhance the relationship.

Happy Tuesday to all northerners..looks like a grand day.