30 July 2007

Things I'll Miss

As I was traveling this weekend, I thought a bit about things that I’ll miss when I leave Australia. I’ll keep it to things that just about anyone could appreciate here, not necessarily personal things. Here’s a quick list.

The birds. Perhaps I didn’t notice birds as much in the States, but the birds and birdsongs in Australia are really unique and enchanting. My personal favorite is the magpie [sound link]. The magpie’s beautiful song is enhanced, I think, by its simple black and white coloring. Then there’s the kookaburra. For some reason, I thought that the call of the kookaburra was some other animal – not a bird at all – before I came to Australia [sound link]. And of course there are all of the various types of parrots. On the downside, though, there are the cockatiels. Never have you heard such a racket as a mob of cockatiels in a tree near sunset. There’s nothing song-like about it.

I’ll also miss the culture of walking. In the various places I’ve lived in the States, there may have been some places to walk, but there wasn’t a culture of walking for everyday errands. While Newcastle is not a bustling metropolis, just about everything I really need is within walking distance of my apartment. And not only that, there are always people out walking around. While I wouldn’t necessarily want to go for a midnight stroll through downtown Newcastle (for reasons I’ll cover in another post), I will miss the ability to not use a car for anything other than commuting for more than a week.

Lastly, I will miss what I’ve found to be the best coffee drink I have ever had – the flat white. That’s what it’s called, as opposed to the long black or cappuccino or latte. It might be described as a latte without the foam, but that doesn’t quite do it justice, I think. It’s stronger, with roughly 2 shots of espresso in a regular-sized cup. The rest of the concoction is all steamed milk. It’s simple and it is fantastic. It is the one reason that I plan on buying, eventually, an espresso machine once we’re settled.

1 comment:

kmb said...

well, i've looked up how to make one of your flat whites, and i must say, it sounds damn tasty. i'm going to give it a go and see what my results are like. i'm no barista, so my expectations are low, but i'll let you know.

i can relate to what you've said here about the walking culture and the cafe culture. we have both here and i enjoy it very much. people ride their bikes and walk far more than anything else, and it really is so different from what i grew up with. there are tons of little places for coffee and pastries around here, too. what amazed me when i first arrived was that there is a local cafe literally two doors down from a starbucks... and the local place is always packed! (the coffee is deleriously good.) back home that would have never happened. starbucks would drive the little places right out, walmart-style.

of course, eugene is a very hippy town, and we love our mom-and-pops. it is interesting to me that all big box stores, fast food and chain restaurants and most gas stations are relegated to the outskirts of town. it makes for a very, very localized community villagey feel, which i have come to appreciate a great deal. but talk about culture shock when we got here! :)