Thursday, July 23, 2009

I Like Vegemite!

Any traveller backpacking accross Australia knows that when you start to like Vegemite, you've crossed over to the dark side. Vegemite is Australia's claim to fame; a brown food paste made from condensed yeast. When it was developed in 1922, it was originally the goo that's they scraped off the bottom of the barrels after brewing beer. But for obvious reasons, it's now mass produced for the aussies. To an unsuspecting outsider, Vegemite appears to be a sweet Nutella like substance that you would slather on your toast...but don't do it! It's saltier that all the oceans combined, bitter and malty. If you're brave enough to try it, only use a smidgen so you can hardly see it, and taste cautiosly. After 9 months of being here though, I have come to LOVE it! There's really nothing like a cheese and Vegemite sandwich or a cheesymite scroll. Don't worry, I'll be bringing enough back for everyone to share in the special experience!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tough Stuff- Saying Goodbye

Sometimes the hardest part about travelling is not being able to go home at a moments notice when it’s really important. A few days ago, our family lost a member; my aunt Pat. The news came over the internet waves like most information I receive these days, and I can only be thankful that this kind of technology exists. As I cried over the laptop with my mom and dad, I cursed that the teleportation or instant money technology hasn’t been invented yet.
It’s a hard notion to wrap your head around that things may not be the same when you get home; people have moved on, moved out, hooked up, got married, and even passed away. And as much as I want to go back to the life I left on October 23rd, 2008, I know that will never happen. All that any traveller can hope for is that there will be a place for them, somewhere, when they do decide to return. And all I can offer when I’m gone, is that everyone can trust that I think about them everyday, and miss them more. Here are some words to describe aunt Pat; may she find peace where she is now.

Patricia Coulson Hawes
March 17th, 1948- July 8th 2009

She wasn’t a woman that I got to know very well outside the realm of an aunt, but the life she lived was the greatest way that I had gotten to know her. Her children, Kyle, Amy, and Julie, were always a great inspiration and influence for me and I’m sure to a lot of others as well. They are a true reflection of Pat and all the things that made her a wonderful person, multiplied into three wonderful people. Opening her home to Grandma and caring for her for many years. Her work with teaching challenged children; a gift to her students and a reflection of her kind, generous nature. Finally, her way of being; always being the picture of happiness, even when things may not have been, her brilliant sense of humor, her warm and inviting regard; and for me, her laugh. The most honest and joyful laugh, that when I close my eyes, I can hear it and picture her face.
She was not only my aunt, but a mother and a grandmother, a sister, a partner, and a friend. A magnificent woman whom I will miss greatly, and I only hope that I can express that here, as I cannot be with the family at this time.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

So Canada, How About We Get Together Some Time?

I love my country as much as the next Canadian, and I’m damn proud to tell people where I’m from when they ask and revel in the pleasure when they say it’s better than being American! But to tell you the truth, I’m not all that knowledgeable about Canada as I’d like to be. I can give tourists a rundown of the highlights of where to go, but I’ve never been out of Ontario; I don’t know what birthday this is for Canada; looking at a map sends my brain into overload. Get my drift? I know nothing about my home. And it wouldn’t bother me so much, because after travelling so much over here, all I want to do is get back to explore my own backyard…but everyone is going without me! All I’ve ever wanted to do it travel, but have always had the problem of finding mates to go with, so I’ve become the fearless lone traveler and ventured out solo. Only now that I’m away have my closest network of people now decided to travel. My parents are heading out west to BC and Vancouver Island, my brothers are going to Seattle, and my friends are doing a roadtrip across Canada, or so I’ve heard. Where were all these people when I needed to go! I shouldn’t complain; I’m in Australia, but sometimes it’d be great to travel with people I know, and the best times I’ve had have been with friends. I guess I’ll just have to convince them to all go again when I come back. Oh Canada, my home and native land, I miss thee, yet I hardly know ye.