Are We There Yet?
Well, it’s that time of year again. Time to shut off the office computer for a couple of weeks and schlep off to spend some quality time with family, which may explain at least a few glasses of the copious amount of alcohol consumed over the festive season.
And in honour of that season, I have humiliated my dog by cajoling him into posing for a special photo. So from Percy and I, have a very merry Christmas, stay safe, make sure you eat far too much and we hope to see you here in the new year.
Now you may be the type of Christmas shopper who begins in the Boxing Day sales and by the time December rolls around is ready to wish everyone a “merry smugness” – to borrow a phrase a friend coined.
I, however, am not. I actually quite enjoy finishing my shopping in the last week before Christmas. The unfortunate shop assistants are frazzled but a lot of shoppers are brimming with Christmas goodwill, not stressed-out wrecks as the media would have us believe.
(Although I swear if I hear Mariah Carey warbling All I Want for Christmas Is You one more time, I will not be responsible for my actions.)
Now I don’t think I’d be so sanguine about shopping if I’d only just started my Christmas shopping this week, or if I was forced to shop on Christmas Eve, when I suspect all Christmas cheer is wearing thin, but fortunately that is not the case.
Instead, this week I’ve got lost three times trying to find specific shops in the five-floor monstrosity that is Bondi Junction Westfield (I was considering sending up a flare) and finished my shopping in Eastgardens mall with triumph.
Do you know any of your neighbours? And when you answer that, can you tell me if you live in a city or a town?
It’s the time of the year for families, friends, communities and God-awful music to complete the horror that is Christmas shopping – you know, all those things that are supposed to give you the warm fuzzies.
Yesterday evening I was out walking Percy and unsurprisingly there seemed to be a lot of pre-Christmas gatherings on. There were people farewelling each other at gates, or marching up driveways bearing Christmas gifts and alcohol.
After this display of Christmas cheer, my flatmate and I sat down to watch a movie that revolved around internet dating, which started me off on a train of thought of how disconnected communities have become. I know this is by no means an original thought, nor do I plan to write a Christmas homily suggesting we all introduce ourselves to the people next door.
I live in a townhouse complex so cheek by jowl with my neighbours that in some parts of the house I can hear them walking up the stairs, but I wouldn’t know them if tripped over them in the street.
Sydney has about 1217mm of rainfall a year, falling on an average 138 days a year. That's actually fairly similar to Wellington, which while it has a much lower average temperature, gets 1270mm of rain a year.
(To put it in perspective, compare that with the perennially sunny Nelson - best weather of anywhere I've lived, including Rarotonga - which gets just under 1000mm a year. Although this year may be an exception, what with the floods.)
So why, in the name of all that's holy, does this fair Australian city go a bit mad whenever there is wet stuff falling from the sky?
It’s not just me that’s noticed it - I was mulling it over with a friend when we had lunch one very wet Wednesday.
This year, Sydney has experienced the coldest start to summer in 50 years, which has caused me to mutter about promises of nice weather and wanting my money back. Though I do love a good electrical storm and Sydney seems to get them in abundance.
Every year, Kiwis flow across the ditch to Australia for longer than a holiday for all sorts of reasons.
Some come for family, some come for higher wages, some come for the climate (though you'd be disappointed if you'd just arrived in Sydney over the last week), some come for a change and some, like me, come - or stay - for a combination of reasons.
However, the one thing that's often cited as an incentive to up sticks and move to the land of snakes, spiders, sharks and crocodiles is the higher wages and better working conditions.
New Zealand politicians have been prone to banging on about closing the wage gap and seemed to be all aflutter about the brain drain in the early 2000s.
As at June 30, 2010, about 566,815 New Zealand citizens were present in Australia and almost 77 per cent of them were working.
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