Sunday, July 31, 2011

One more Ex pat commentary

As those of you who read regularly may know we have been back in Oz for almost two weeks. Yep, time flies.

Today has been my 'reply to emails from friends' morning. After the G-man took off on his bicycle for his' first time this year' cycle along the Brisbane River, I slowly extracted myself from a warm and cozy nest and wandered towards the 'loo'. Much to my surprise, I noticed the window to the shower room was steamy. That was either a fast ride or I did roll over and go back to sleep longer than I thought I did.

Tapping on the window, I asked 'Did you ride?'

'Yep, but the gear shift changer on my bike is sticking. Took me forever to shift from one gear to the other. I'll fix it this afternoon. I did come up the hill in high gear though.'

'Proud of you for that,' I smiled. The Howard Street hill from the school to our house, about 300 yards (metres), is mildly put - steep.

Later with my first cup of tea, a ginger concoction - I've given up on coffee for the moment as I'm trying to correct my digestive imbalance before my doctor's appt. next week - I checked my emails.

Three American friends sent greetings as they wondered if I was pleased to be back in winter again. All three know about the very long winter we endured in Nordacotah this past season - First snow in mid November - last blizzard on 1 May.

If only I could convey the difference between a North American prairie winter and an estuarian mid east coast Australian winter. It's too simple to say that we live in a subtropical paradise.

Better to explain that July is rife with softest blue skies interspersed with puffy whites, that the 5 a.m. temperature may hover around 40F (9 C) degrees, but that by noon, the house, opened up by it's mistress, will be a comfy 70 F (20C). Perfection. No mosquitos, the cockies have not yet returned to fly in the open windows, the Kookaburra and Butcher Birds still waken us at dawn, the lauralkeets come in rainbow colours but in smaller numbers because there is no fruit on which to munch.

After our oatmeal and yogurt brekkie which as soon as I clean up the back veranda will be enjoyed in the fig tree wilderness of our back garden, (a year's weather has left it's mark on walls and windows. Soon, very soon, those marks will be history.) — we put on a light jacket and walk down to the corner deli for milk and stop in for an Australian flat white. Oh, I know, I have waxed eloquently - at least I intended the description to be eloquent - about that first morning cuppa - but there it is - perfect start to our morning.

A chance to sit and chat as well as serve as audience to young Aussies chasing the bus as it pulls into our local stop on the way into city centre, to mom's with babies in strollers trying to keep up with their blue and yellow uniformed kiddies on their way to second, third, and forth grade classrooms.

There are also the retirees walking the dog or dogs, and delivery vans bringing flowers, bread, and various other goodies to the local restaurants and deli.

We live only a block from all this bustle in which we can engage or if it suits us, we can enjoy a quiet cuppa at home as the sun warms the timbers of our century old house and finally shines into the inner realms of the place we call home.

It is good to be back. We are blessed to have such a respite to which we can return.