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09-23 Getting to Know Leah Hammond, author of RISKY LIES

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Are simple things the best?

We don't have a thanksgiving holiday where I come from – and in some ways, it's a pity. It's easy to take for granted the way things are, and forget that we have a lot to be thankful for.

Travelling overseas is a fantastic way of putting your own life in perspective. Moving countries semi-permanently – from Australia to the UK – has certainly pointed out to me many things of which I take no notice on a daily basis.

For instance, I say 'overseas' when I mean 'international'. Not everyone's country is surrounded by water. For me, travelling means planes and passports. Here in Europe, people can drive to a dozen other countries with just an ID card. That's pretty cool.

Lindisfarne Castle in Northumberland
In Australia, most people live by the sea. We're an urbanised lot, on the whole – sure, we have the outback and all that Steve Irwin stuff, but most people don't live there. The sea means swimming and barbecues, not chilly wind and warm clothes. The sea is blue, not grey. And we Aussies certainly take the weather for granted.

Here in northern England? Do that at your peril. I wear what I call 'winter clothes' pretty much all year round. It's the thing I'm most looking forward to about going home next month: proper, honest-to-god WARMTH. Sorry, Northumberland, but you just don't have that here. I'll be able to throw away those vitamin D pills. Yay!

The other thing? Crowds. In Australia, we might not realise it, but we have loads of room. The rest of the world is a crowded place. Whatever you're doing, be it driving, shopping, eating out or just walking in the street – you're always in someone else's way. It's quite a shock.

I've had a lovely time in England, and the people are so friendly. I'm going to miss it! But when people here say to me 'You're not from around here, are you?' and I say, 'No' – I say it with a little warm fuzzy feeling of pride – but also with gratitude, for all the things we take for granted that other people just don't have. And with a twinge of sadness, because it's lovely here and soon I'll have to leave.

But I have to admit that when I get home, to my big house in its quiet street, and that stinking hot Aussie summer – I'm leaving for home in a few weeks, did I mention that?? – I'll be feeling pretty good. I've got much to be thankful for.

So what everyday things are you thankful for in your part of the world?

3 comments:

Sarah Raplee said...

Traveling certainly helps give a person perspective.

I live in the Pacific Northwest of the US, so the weather here is more like the UK than like Australia. I appreciate the relatively cool summers, as I don't tolerate heat (and I grew up on a tropical island).

Having moved to the country recently, I am very grateful for the views out my windows and the peace and quiet.

What I appreciate most is the diversity of people here on the West Coast. We spent 21 years in Iowa, where the population is much less diverse. Diversity enriches the culture.

Wonderful post!

Pippa Jay said...

I'm grateful for where I live, even though winter is here and all the grey and damp depresses me. I live on the edge of a small town with a rich history. Walk half an hour one way and you're in town. Half an hour and you're in the country, and in our case at the local zoo. Half an hour drive, and you can either have a big, sandy beach, or a stony beach where you can find fossils.

Judith Ashley said...

Going more basic than anyone so far, I'm grateful for hot and cold running water, flush toilets and this early winter with Lots of Wind - the electricity has stayed on.

However, I have traveled to both the UK (England, Scotland and also Ireland) and Australia (although only the east coast of the land down under).

What I noticed the most is how, even with our differences we are so much the same. Couples walk along holding hands, moms and dads herd children along, dogs play in parks - every country I've been to and every state in the US has something beautiful that catches my attention.