I head back to the U.S. today and there are a number of things I’m going to miss about Australia.
1. Made in Australia
Most products that I’ve purchased, particularly food, is locally made. While Australia is feeling the economic pinch as well, it is prosperous and has a low rate of poverty. Perhaps local manufacturing and Australia’s emphasis on exporting commodities is its secret. One can only wonder what the U.S. would be like if it hadn’t sacrificed its workforce and outsourced its manufacturing and service jobs for corporate profits.
Australian food is divine. I love going to the market and browsing stall after stall of fresh fruits, vegetables, and cheeses and going to an actual butcher or fishmonger for fresh meats. Food is not highly processed here and high fructose corn syrup is nowhere to be found. The diversity of food in Melbourne is also wonderful. There’s not an abundance of Latin food like there is in Miami, but there is plenty of Asian, Indian, and Middle Eastern food not to mention pizza parlors, fish and chips shops, and cafes. And Tim Tams are really awesome.
I love Aussie rules! I was never a sports fan until I met the AFL. I also love that Aussies love footy. They are loyal fans and show up to games in droves. Going to a footy game is an easy, inexpensive, and family-friendly experience.
4. Universal Health Care
Medicare is Australia’s publicly funded universal health care system and it provides affordable medical treatment for all citizens and permanent residents. It coexists with a private health system. And – pay attention, American Republicans – it works, and Australia is neither a socialist country nor going bankrupt.
5. The City, the Country, and the Burbs
I love this suburb. It’s quiet, with beautiful, old homes, plenty of shopping, and is ethnically diverse. A thirty-minute drive in one direction takes me to the bustling city. A thirty-minute drive in the other direction leads to the beautiful beach, the peaceful countryside, or gorgeous hills and mountains. I love that it’s so easy to get away and, because, most Australians live in the cities, it’s easy to find big, empty spaces.
6. Environmental Responsibility
Australia is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world and preserving its wealth of biodiversity is important. Australia was home to the world’s first Green Party. Recycling is not only a given, but that bin is larger than the rubbish bin.
Kangaroos are so darn cute!
Australians are generally friendly and relaxed, and I’m thinking specifically of the delightful people I’ve met here so far.