Sunday, June 13, 2010

G'Day Mate? or "Will Whore for Australia", part 2.

(This is a continuation of my previous blog because my previous blog was not what this blog was supposed to be about! Damn it!)

After 6 arduous months of being apart, J's visa was approved and he moved here three weeks later. No muss, no fuss. I ended up supplementing bits and pieces of what he left at home, like extra clothes, DVD's, his computer, etc. During our long-distance talks I would grill him about leaving everything he's ever known behind. Would he resent me? Would he miss his pets? What if a friend or family member died? How do your parents feel? He answered, in his laid-back tone, that:

No, I wouldn't resent you, you're my family;
My pets will still be taken care of and we could get more pets later;
We'll have to cross that bridge when we get to it;
My parents want me to be happy, even if that means far far away.

(By the way, if turned around, my answers would probably be:
I may resent you! What if it doesn't work out? Then I'm stuck here?
We are taking our cats with us, or no dice;
Omgomgomg the minute I leave someone will die and I won't be able to say goodbye and I will cry and never forgive myself and omgomgomg;
My mom asked me, "What if I die and you're over there?")

After twenty months of us both living (and struggling) in America, we now have an option to move to Australia. The country I was born to live in! Let's go! A part of me is 100% gung-ho. Leave this smog-ridden, overzealous religious, politically polarized, horrible school system, illegal immigrant-laden country? Where's my ticket? J and I always planned on living over there in the long run anyway, who cares if it's a few years early? We said if we ever had children it would definitely be in Australia (the kids there wear "Harry Potter" type school uniforms! My kid would call me "mum"!). It seems, on the surface, so easy. Yes, it would be a pain to sell my car and break my apartment lease and transfer credit cards, but it is doable. Yeah I would miss my friends and family but it's not like I'm going overseas alone; plus international communication is so easy nowadays. But, the more I prepare and research the move, the more I realize how much in America I take for granted.

First off, the only thing I think about leaving that makes me burst into tears is the loss of my cats. (Crap, now I'm crying while writing.) You're allowed to move animals to Australia, but not after a minimum 6-month quarantine for rabies and other U.S diseases they may have, and every day your cat is quarantined is $30AU. Times two for both cats. And flying them both on a plane. We are talking probably around $1500. We can't even afford groceries! I am seriously considering writing Oprah a heartfelt letter. Seriously. (Ooh, then being on her show and she's like, "not only are your cats COMING WITH YOU but you are ALL being flown FIRST CLASS! YEAH!" *applause and tears*) I plan on selling everything not nailed down, and I'm still debating using that money for the cats instead, oh, I don't know, a savings account for beginning our lives in Australia?

Yeah, I'm selling everything that's not nailed down. I have four piles: Yard sale pile, Ebay pile, Storage in US pile, and Coming with me pile. Every single item I own I have to look at and say, "do I really need this?" Pictures. Snow globes. Art supplies. Gifts. Clothes. Anyone who knows me knows I am completely obsessed with Paul Frank. Over the course of 10+ years I have collected hundreds and hundreds of stuff with Julius branded on it. My oath to God is I will never get rid of any of it, ever. I still have Paul Frank purses from the '90s with broken straps. Now I'm making a list on what I will Ebay. Pure blasphemy! Oh, and electronics? My $100 flat iron, hair dryer, ipod alarm clock, DVD player, "A Christmas Story" leg lamp? THE PLUGS DON'T WORK IN AUSTRALIA. Yard sale.

Other than my cats, my biggest American sacrifice is all the food I am leaving behind. Come on, I'm obese for a reason. Yeah, they have ice cream, but not Haagen-Dazs. I'm going through Reeses Peanut Butter Cup withdrawal. Mexican food in Australia is a can of refried beans and ground beef in a taco shell. I'll be closer than ever to China, but furthest away from Panda Express. Australia's bacon is like an abomination from God. Starbucks. No Starbucks! I am so fat I am writing an actual list of food items down to send to my in-laws to see if markets carry the items. Oh, and J swears up and down my horrible salmonella poisoning I got three days after coming back from Australia has nothing to do with the food in his country. It was just a coincidence! (Isn't it awful I'm actually thinking, "at least I lost weight that week"?)

I love my friends and family, but I rarely see them due to my depression. Maybe I'm in denial, but I know I won't be homesick for them. I will probably talk to them as much over there as I do over here. Plus, they will all have a vacation home in Australia, right? The one big blow, though, is my grandfather. My grandmother passed away four years ago, and I'm still not over it. To think that my grandfather may die and I won't be there is heart wrenching. To think that when I say goodbye to him in America, that will be my last contact with him. (Okay giant tears and sobbing. Give me a minute.) I haven't custody of my son for nine years, and as he's grown, we have grown further apart. It's a long story, but I know he is better off without me. That's not to say I won't miss him-I just know he will be okay with his father. It's funny, my mother was diagnosed with Melanoma last year and is now in remission, and I'm not worried about not seeing her again. She's got superhuman strength. She'll be fine, with or without me. I'll just have to come back to see her, as she really does swear she won't fly over the ocean ever. (I tell her, "that's what Xanax was created for!" Best know that I will be on about twelve of those bad boys on my flight. I hate flying. Haven't you seen "La Bamba"?)

Lastly, Australia is a whole other culture. Yeah, we're both descended from the English, but Aussie descendants were raised to loathe pompous, bloated, stupid, ignorant "Yankees". I'm terrified that I will be judged or looked at differently because of my accent. Trust me, getting attention is the last thing I want. What if I can't get a job because I'm American? What if I can't make any friends? My husband assures me that Australians hating Americans is a stereotype, but even I hate the stereotypical American! Plus, I can't fake an Australian accent to save my life. It always ends up sounding British.

So, to all my American friends: Expand your horizons, but don't forget how much we have in the United States. (Except Universal Healthcare, thank you Uncle Sam.) J and I have eight more days to make a final, set in stone decision about our future, so I'm completely stressed out. I'm going to go eat a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup dipped in Haagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream now.

1 comments:

Down the Rabbit Hole, Living With TBI said...

Again with the American pioneers who all crossed oceans and never, ever saw their families again. Then crossed a country and never saw their families and friends again. Your family did that, they were strong and brave and looking for a better life. You are too. You can get home again--and hell, I've always wanted to see Australia so I'll start saving my nickels and promise to mail you starbucks. Think of this as the adventure of a life time--get out there and freaking LIVE!!!

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