Friday, July 11, 2008

Happy Chilly Independence Day!

Since last we met, I’ve worked my way through Independence Day… a novel concept I had to explain to my Aussie friends who have yet to cut the cord from the Queen. I spent the 4th seated at an outdoor table with my friend Maria because we’d failed to book but were stubborn and wanted to eat at this tapas place. The food was good and I gained renewed appreciation for the Melbournian propensity for heaters on every sidewalk patio and café. Though it was one of the colder nights of the year, with the heaters on and my puffy jacket zipped up, it was quite pleasant.

Afterwards we took a walk around the suburb a few “K” down the beach from St. Kilda. The best way I can describe Albert Park is to say that it makes Scarsdale seem edgy. While its location is prime in that it is sandwiched between the ocean and the large lake inside its namesake park, the town itself short of about 3 interesting restaurants and numerous over priced beauty salons, has the personality of a doormat. Now this is a doormat in front of a grandiose, posh and well-manicured home, but a doormat none-the-less. As we rounded a corner onto the oh-so-continental sounding “Beaconsfield Parade” (I would love it if we could someday live on one of the numerous byways called parade…how fun to always come home to a parade!), we encountered a group of 20-somethings outside of a bar which was closed for a private party. As we passed by, they started saying loudly “there’s lots of alcohol inside” and ”come in for some free drinks”. Too late, Maria and I looked at each other and pondered the thought of crashing the party. My idea was to go and push our way into every photo so the next day, everyone would be confused when they saw the pics on facebook. But we were not brave enough- or shall I say, desperate enough (or, for that matter, drunk enough) to do so and instead, we just headed home, having enjoyed a fireworks free 4th of July.

While I haven’t really partaken, binge drinking as a pastime is quite the topic in Victoria these days. A new law has instituted a 2AM curfew for bars around town. This doesn’t mean the bars must close; rather, it simply means that wherever you are at 2 is where you have to stay. This results in a mad rush around 1:30 as people flood the streets to try to find where the best looking prospects are going to settle. Of course, more than one fight has thus erupted in the street as a result. News media are jumping on the bandwagon with one reporting that a new study reveals that 3 glasses of wine equals binge drinking. The cover of our free, local ‘real estate guide-disguised as a magazine’ had a hilarious photo (see below) depicting one bar’s efforts to keep the drinkers on site. They have a “little person” standing on the bar, pouring Jaeger down revellers throats. Mostly, I appreciate this photo as the cover picture of what amounts to a listing of the most luxurious properties in South East Melbourne.

The other item generating lots of news lately is Australia’s illustrious rise to the top of all westernised nations in obesity, surpassing even the US. I’m trying not to fret that this shift comes in conjunction with my relocation but I hope I’m not the only figure tipping the scales. And in discussions with friends here they say that while Oz may have more fat people, the fat people in the US are REALLY REALLY fat, as evidenced by the fine Learning Channel shows rebroadcast over here, such as the ½ ton (aka tonne) man and “I lost 800 pounds”.

Aside from the news of the day, I’m still doing great. This week I’m getting a chance to live out my Matt Lauer fantasy, as Adi has a casual, one week only job that has him leaving the house around 3AM. In case any of you were wondering, being with the Today show host ain’t all it’s cracked up to be! And I”m not even getting a trip to Bejing out of this.

Work continues to go well. I got accepted to present at a conference in September, so I’ll be blogging from Brisbane then (something to look forward to!)

The biggest work news is that I had a meeting with the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences the other day. When first invited, I imagined having tea and scones and sharing stories about life on both sides of the pond. Alas, about 19 other people were also invited to the lunch so my glory days will have to wait. Nevertheless, it was an interesting meeting of all the University minds that deal with simulation in health care. There were representatives from the various schools of the faculty, like nursing, paramedics, physios as well as medicine and folks from many of the clinical hospital sites. Most of these people are more interested in what they call “high-fidelity simulation methods” which translates loosely to “toys”...the super expensive computer-assisted mannequins that respond to oxygen and the like for doing run-throughs of clinical skills.

I felt a bit like the youngest kid in the neighbourhood, scampering alongside the “big kids”. As they talked about playing baseball and having parties at the new local playground, I kept piping up “And i can fly my kite. And i can fly my kite!” I’m not sure the Dean cares very much about my kite, but it was still cool to have a presence at the table.

The days are slowly getting longer but I can’t really notice it yet. This has been one of the coldest weeks since I’ve been here, but made miserable more by rain and wind than by actual cold.

That’s the latest on life down under. A resounding MAZEL TOV to my friends Cassie and Joe on the birth of their beautiful daughter Josie!


Amy Kopkin said...

Hey Sheryl,
Thanks for the posts. Quite fun to read them. Also makes me thankful that we are in the middle of summer right now with temps reaching 100 yesterday. I"m at home with something akin to allergies and/or a cold. My throat and glands are swollen, but I have to go in at 12:30 for meetings so I don't get a proper sick day. I just got a job as an adjunct prof at Naropa teaching their environmental service learning course, so I'm totally excited and a bit freaked out at the work I'll have in addition to my 3 other jobs! Wedding planning is going well. Let me know if you get your invite. It should be there any day now.

melrossa said...

Hey doormats have personality too! HOw about "welcome" or maybe down there a "how ya goin". Just a thought! ;) Well ya know ya seen one fireworks show you've seen em all. I went to the blues fest on the waterfront for the 4th. Saw Canned Heat and Isaac Hayes! When he sang "Shaft" every one in the crowd would scream "Chef" it was hysterical. Made it worth the ten bucks and 2 cans of food donation! Glad to year your still happy and well! xomel.

Sarita Bonita said...

you sound so happy - it makes me happy!

Maria & Jeremy said...

Hey I' ve been goign around all week claiming that getting in the facebook photos was my idea! Oh the hilarity of trying to find fun in one of Melbourne's best manicured suburbs (and I'm not just referring to the hedges!)