Monday, December 20, 2010

Flirting with Australia

I have to admit. I'm suffering from a bit of an Oprah hangover.  I just spent 3 months preparing for a trip and 10 days on a trip that all started when I was given the trip of a lifetime.  Now that I'm back to the cold and snowy midwest, I miss Australia. I especially miss being treated like a celebrity.  I experienced a fraction of what a celebrity experiences, and I have a new understanding of how they become a custom to For example.  I didn't really need to think. Everything was thought out for me. From when to eat breakfast, to a person pointing in the direction I was to go. I didn't even need to put my napkin on my own lap.  Quite a bit different to my home napkin situation, ok  to be honest, we don't even have napkins. Just paper towels.  We had a rude awakening when my friend and I stood 10 minutes waiting for the elevator before we realized that neither of us had pressed the button.  But really celebrities must occupy their minds with something else, because the mundane tasks that we do everyday are not even done by the Brad Pitt's of the world....more time to memorize lines I guess.  So here we were, 302 Oprah fans out and about.  There was a common thread that held us together and that was our love for the same woman. But like any love affair, the honeymoon is over quickly. And I must say that although the majority of the people were lovely (and teachers I might add) some had a couple screws loose.  This became evident very early and my buddy and I stayed clear. On the final day I was able to meet the big O herself.  People asked if she is the same in person and my answer is No.... She is even better.  There is a reason that she got to where she is.  She has a magnetic energy about her and when she speaks to you, she is fully present and looks you right in the eye. That is more than I can say about half the people I work with.
They took the 302 of us and broke us up into 5 or 6 groups. I was in the adventure group.  This allowed me to shamelessly flirt with all that Australia had to offer. The barrier reef, the koalas, the food, the city, the Sydney Harbor bridge and the people. Oh the people. Australians seem to have sunshine coming out of their pores.  They are genuinely happy and healthy and seem to be fully present in their lives.  In sharp contrast to the Los Angeles airport when I mistakenly smiled at the Starbuck's person and told them to have a nice day...(gasp) how dare I?
Clearly there was beauty beyond words that a photo or my words could not do justice, but something of equal value to me was the friendships that were made.  On most reality shows relationships fizzle quickly when the cameras disappear, but I met two girls in particular that I believe will be in my life forever. The friendship was effortless and we seamlessly befriended each other.  Although we live in different states, what we shared will certainly live on.
I close on a thought, albeit, a bit morbid.  This trip has taken me, an ordinary ( from an outsiders view) working mom and wife and spiced up my identity. I don't doubt that in my eulogy, which I hope is 5 or 6 decades away, that my boys will reflect as one of the proud moments in my life. Perhaps that changed me. In what way, I will have to wait and see.



  2. I am an Australian, and am loving reading all these good reviews about our beautiful nation and people. We love our country and it is great to have others appreciate it too.
    We hope you had fun and want to come back someday.
    Cheryl (Sydney)

  3. Hearts to the blog and look at you getting international reviews!

  4. What a fantastic read :) I'm Aussie as well and I'm glad you enjoyed our part of the planet!!! Back in 2002 I went to Europe and after coming home to Brisbane airport I asked the guy working in the duty free store if he could change some notes for coins so I could make a phone call. He was only too happy to help me and I thought to myself then that I am lucky to live in a country with friendly and helpful people. I'm glad you found us to be a happy lot as well. Hope you have a great day!!! Cheers Anna :)

  5. So glad you loved Australia. We loved having you all here. The sun has been shining less brightly since you flew out of Sydney. Also a couple of hours after Oprah departed we had a hailstorm in Sydney. She's got the power!! Come back again soon. Nicole