Greetings, from the land of OZ. I have been in Australia for a week, and I am currently on vacation with my family. They simply could not let me visit the island continent without them coming along for a few days. I still have a couple of days until my study abroad program begins. It is starting to feel weird not having been to class for almost two months! I am ready for classes to begin again, but first my family and I are going to visit Port Douglas and the Great Barrier Reef. We were just in Sydney for a week, and we are taking a flight up north to Cairns.
To me, Sydney was very similar to Chicago, but with the Pacific Ocean bordering it, instead of Lake Michigan. Also the cars were all on the wrong other side of the road. I am still trying to get use to being on the left side of the road and especially on the left side of the sidewalk and stairs. Even so, I enjoyed the city life of Sydney.
On only our second day in Sydney we were lucky enough to witness Australia Day. Some of the Australians say it is a cross between our Independence Day and Columbus Day. Australia Day commemorates the arrival of the convicts from Great Britain to the shores of Australia on January 26th 1788. However, there seems to be some controversy in celebration of Australia Day due to the discrimination against the Aboriginal people in the past, which is somewhat similar to our past relationship with the Native Americans.
I wonder if we sent a couple shiploads of our American convicts to an island, if the same result would occur. I’m pretty sure it would not… there would definitely be football on TV instead of cricket. That sport is still beyond my comprehension but hopefully not for long.
Anyhow, this day seems to also represent the national pride felt by many of the Aussies. There were many concerts, fireworks, and beer (apparently real Aussies don’t drink Foster’s) to celebrate the day, but I spent the day seeing the sights and enjoying La Boheme at the Sydney Opera House. The opera was pretty moving, which was very befitting for Australia Day.
It is also very moving to see the pride that people have in their country, and it is always extraordinary to be apart of something like Australia Day that exemplifies these feelings of pride. Even though I love to travel, America will always have a special place in my heart, and the pride that I feel for the United States is the same pride that the Aussies’ have for their country.
With the Super Bowl this weekend, I leave you with this… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHmdu_I_0zI a link to my personal favorite demonstration of national pride, Whitney Houston’s rendition of The National Anthem of The United States. If it is Australia Day or the Super Bowl, the feelings stirred up by our connections to each of our nations is definitely something to marvel over.