Absentee, But Not Alone

For the second presidential election in a row, I am living abroad.  Last time I was up all night in France watching coverage and awaiting the results.  This year I have been much more casual.  (This is mostly due to the fact that The Colbert Report isn’t available free online outside the U.S. this time around, and paying attention isn’t as fun anymore.)  At about 1pm today, friends started messaging me and people were coming up to me at work (total strangers mostly) and fist-pumping with phrases like “four more years!” and “OBAMA!”  I didn’t know so many people were aware of my Americanness.  Usually people assume I’m Canadian “to be polite.”

I’m not writing this post to share my opinions about the election.  My main reason for saying anything at all is that I want to share the love that Australians have for America today.  Between gay marriage being legalized in Maine and Maryland, and an internationally respected politician being reelected, it seems people around my new country are celebrating.  (P.S. I am so proud of the wins for gay rights today!  Go America!)

My Facebook is full of celebratory statuses from my Aussie mates.  It’s pretty cool that people get so into the politics of another country.  At home the country is divided 50/50, so it’s amazing to see people of all ages and backgrounds here on the same page.  I have to say that foreigners often have a harsh opinion of America and Americans, but I find that since Obama has been president (or more accurately since Bush STOPPED being president) people abroad have a greater respect for our great nation.  I know it’s not the only thing that matters, but it makes being an American abroad a little bit easier.

Here are some statuses from Aussies for your entertainment:

“four more years.”

“Maryland approves same sex marriage, Colorado legalises marijuana, and OBAMA has another 4 years!”

“Obama!! :D”

“So nice of Obama to speak about me in his acceptance speech. Love you too Baracky.” (from another Michelle)

“To see the look on Bill O’Reilly’s hateful, squinty face. Go Obama!”

“God bless America and god bless Obama!! I love this kind hearted soul!!! U def had my vote best public speaker everrrrr!!”

“Phew! The world dodged a bullet”


Much like in my country, people in Australia are split about 50/50 in political affiliation.  Makes it that much cooler that everyone who has commented or approached me today has been really positive.  They love Barack over here.  My French students did as well.  While in the US it’s a bit rude to ask “who did you vote for?” everyone both during this election and the last one was dying to know.  It’s like they wish they could vote for my president as well and want to live vicariously.

But I digress.  Mostly I just wanted to say it feels amazing to be a citizen of the world today, because that is what I have become in the last 4 years.  I love my life’s journey and wouldn’t change it for anything.


Making Lemonade

Not often do I use this blog for product promotion, but this time I’ve stumbled upon something truly special.  Yesterday I was browsing my Facebook news feed when I noticed a link post from an old college acquaintance.  Her description announced it was her “latest blog post for The Zesty Digest.”  Not knowing she was a blogger, I was intrigued.

The Zesty Digest is a daily blog by an ezine called Sweet Lemon Magazine.  After reading Margaret’s article about healthy snacking, I found myself clicking through the archive finding myriad interesting posts.

The most exciting part, however, was the photo on the right under “magazine stand.”  The cover girl for the current Sweet Lemon issue is Inslee Haynes, a fellow W&L grad!

I discovered Inslee’s company by chance (again through Facebook) as we weren’t close back in college and I didn’t have her in my friends list.  I’m fairly certain I would have mentioned her site before, but I’ll do so again anyway.  She is an inspiration to girls with a dream.  She took what most would consider to be a “hobby” to the next level and has made it into a career.

Inslee by Design is absolutely fabulous.  As a fashion illustrator, Inslee makes cards, calendars, sketches, prints, invitations and does commissions.  I have been a fan of hers for quite a while now; her cards are great to give as presents or to keep.  I will soon be getting some of her prints now that Matt and I are redecorating the office.  I’m also planning on snapping up the 2013 calendar and some more cards for Christmas.  (Gift idea alert!)

I won’t post more images from Inslee because I want my readers clicking the links and checking her out!  Her site has always been in my blogroll, but feel free to browse her blog and also her Facebook page.  I find creative people so inspiring, and I am so happy that she has been such a success.

But back to Sweet Lemon for a moment…After reading through some of the back issues and the current issue cover to cover, I have learned a lot, and I cannot wait to write-up my own pitches for submission.  The great thing about Sweet Lemon is that even if every article doesn’t apply directly to me, it’s still great seeing so many strong, talented 20-somethings on the pages of a magazine.  I’m getting really tired of all the celebrities and the mags focusing solely on sex.  This magazine is about fashion, cooking, travel, lifestyle and above all REAL PEOPLE.  I have several ideas floating around in my head and I cannot wait to put them on paper (well, in internet form).

Even if you don’t have time to browse the whole magazine this weekend, at least check out The Zesty Digest.  They post new articles everyday from real women around the country (and presumably the world).  I hope I can be a helpful Aussie correspondent!

To Fatso, With Love

From time to time, I’d like to comment on relevant (and not-so-relevant) news and happenings here in Australia.  This is something I’ve been dying to share.

Yesterday Matt and I went to the Perth Zoo.  Obviously for me the most fascinating part was the Aussie animal section.  Matt says as a child he would always like to start there because for him and his friends this was generally the more boring part of a zoo visit.  I’ll elaborate on this excursion in another post, I just wanted to point out that I’ve now seen firsthand the terrifying girth and length of a real crocodile.

Crocs have been in the news here lately and we’re all quite shocked to hear why.  In a northern Western Australia town called Broome, a drunken man thought it would be funny to climb into a croc pen and ride it.  Poor Fatso (16ft long, 1,800lbs) retaliated as any sane (or sober) person would expect.  He spun around quickly and took a serious chunk out of the 36-year-old’s leg.

The most amazing part of this story is that the man in question survived!  You can read about it here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10611973?ls to get the details.  My personal insight into the matter is that I was trembling at the sight of one of these nasty fellows while it slept in an enclosed tank.  Attempting to sit on one makes me sick to even contemplate.

Needless to say, no one will be bothering Fatso again.  That kind of lucky break can only happen once…