So long, beautiful Aus! I hope to visit you again someday under better circumstances.
Arrived safely after only 16 hours of crying babies, suspicious food and one very angry man. I accidentally dropped something from an overhead bin onto an Australian cowboy, and no matter how many times I apologized, he would NOT absolve my guilt! Rude. The Australian airline, Qantas, is my favorite method of travel. Even in economy, everything feels luxurious and comfortable, and there are enough movies and TV shows to keep me occupied for the entire 14 hour flight. And their orange juice just seems superior to all other airlines. Good on ya, mate.
Oh, I will miss my land down under. Three weeks isn't a short amount of time, except that I was supposed to be there 5 more months. We spent our last evening at the local university bar with the Canadians. Harry Healy plays every Wednesday night; Valerie and I heard him our first night in Australia while having our first Australian beer. His scratchy, beautiful voice singing "Hallelujah" will always be a favorite memory of mine.
A few things I won't miss -- how everyone smokes in Australia. Yuck. Everyone at the office except for Val, one Canadian boy and me smokes. It seems like every hour there's a 10 minute smoke break.
I won't miss the heat. Our apartment had a great location, an incredible wrap around deck and was a nice size...but it only had one air conditioner (and even the one was more like one-half). Even that was more than what most people live with, which blows my mind. In the midst of my sickness and medicine, I would lay awake at night COMPLETELY soaking from my own sweat. I think my need for air-conditioned-everything is one of my most defining North American attributes.
I won't miss not having internet. There's only one main phone provider in Aus, and it controls the internet too, so this modern amenity I take for granted at home is way, way expensive to have in Australia. There are so many little, quickie things I use the internet for, and not having that privilege was hard to get used to!
It's off to the doctor tomorrow to make sure I'm safe and healthy. Monday begins work in Houston, and I'm very excited about my new boss. I'm also very excited to be back in Texas. I love this state, and I love this country.