Australia, blogging

Friendly Friday Blog Challenge – Look Back to the Future

Over half a century ago this happened:

It’s Friday 13th, one October, in the early seventies and it’s raining hard, in torrents, as it does in summer in a tropical country, like Australia. Construction had started on the Sydney Opera House, (it took 14, instead of the predicted 4 years to complete) and Apollo 16 had launched into space.

Australia in the Seventies

I am young, walking home from school down a very steep road, partly finished with asphalt, wearing an outdated, unfashionable, yellow raincoat. It is a garment made from the kind of thick rubbery plastic that makes one sweat profusely, but fails to thoroughly keep the skin dry – (its sole purpose!). I’m carrying a grey pocked-mark ‘port’, (a school student’s case), with a red handle. I remember feeling pretty lonely, as one is apt to feel when you are of primary school age, alone and have a long walk home from school in the pouring rain.

What was I thinking on this walk home, fifty-odd years ago whilst NASA scanned the universe?

My guess is that I was probably wishing I had more friends to walk home with, so that time would pass more enjoyably. I thought about what life might be like in the future and dreamed of being happy and successful. Something most of us dream of when young.

I remember Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to conquer Everest, had come to visit my school that day and addressed a somewhat bewildered audience of young kids, unsure of the exact significance of this tall stranger. Although I have no memory of his words, I do remember his imposing presence at the microphone as we stood at attention on the parade ground. For him to visit our far-flung school, must have meant that he spent many hours, visiting school children, not only in New Zealand but throughout Australia as well.

Growing up in Australia

What did I do when I arrived home? If the rain had stopped, I’d play with the dog in the backyard, swing on a rusty, ‘Hills Hoist,’ [read: rotary clothesline]. I might visit one or two friends who lived in the same street and ride our bikes, or if my friends and I were feeling creative, we might build cubby houses in the gum trees or make wooden billy carts out of fruit boxes. The splinters in fingers and toes were real!

If the rain continued, we’d build rafts out of anything we could find. As you can see, my brother made a raft out of an old metal panel, presumably laced with tetanus. Later, he confessed sheepishly that it came from the side of a Council depot’s toilet shed! That was the butt of family jokes for a while. (I couldn’t resist the pun!)

Primary kids were never assigned any homework until they reached high school, or if it was allocated, it wasn’t compulsory, so I never thought twice about doing it. And I was one of the more diligent students as you can see by my school report.

Of an evening, I’d read books, sometimes the same ones, over and over again. Titles on loan from the library or A.A. Milne, The *Sue Barton-Student Nurse series, or Two Minute Mysteries. I collected stamps, such a boring hobby when I think about it now, or collect signatures and corny limericks in my autograph book.

Australian Parenting in the Seventies

When I arrived home from school, Mum was usually there relaxing on the lounge and I’d find something to drink: most likely red cordial, [thinking about this now makes my stomach turn], and I’d eat a biscuit or two. I would never dare to eat any more than two biscuits – there was some unwritten house rule about that. I might also follow the biscuit with a banana or apple, perhaps to clean my teeth?

Iced Vo-Vos

Sugar featured strongly in the seventies Aussie diet, as ‘Iced Vo-Vo‘s’ and other biscuits were standard afternoon tea for many Aussie kids. The now infamous ‘Golliwog‘ biscuits, (re-named Scallywags or something more 21st century), were my favourite, in terms of taste. The naming feels so wrong, looking back from the hindsight of our era of political correctness.

Australian Dinners, at my house, consisted of meat, peas and that awful yellow stuff; a mix of mashed potato and pumpkin was my mother’s way of getting us kids to eat two vegetables at once. Little did she know I’d have been more cooperative about finishing my meal if the potato and pumpkin had been served separately, on the plate.

Apparently, this was another of those days where I showed my determined [read: stubborn], streak at rebelling in the face of injustice. I was required to continue sitting at the table for some time after everyone else had left, as I had refused to eat the dreadful yellow potato-pumpkin ‘poison.’ My parents mistakenly thought I would eventually eat it all up, if I sat there long enough; their parenting strategies a strange blend of Depression-era child-rearing tactics and Dr Spock’s now-debunked theories of child psychology.

On evenings like these, my parents recited mantras of sagely advice such as:

“You can sit there, (at the Dining table), until you finish everything on your plate. There are starving children in Africa who’d give anything to have a meal like that.” [referring to the yellow mashed potato].

Parent of the Seventies Child

This humanitarian-cause-mixed-with-guilt-trip styled parenting tactic was completely lost on my logical, young brain, as I would wile away the time sitting at the table contemplating how I would disprove their parental hypothesis by posting yellow, mashed vegies to Africa, in a test shipment.

As I sat there, alone at the dining table, the cold, yellow mound now well-congealed on my plate, I remember older brother gleefully looking up from the adjoining room, smirking during the TV-ad breaks of shows like, ‘Skippy the Bush Kangaroo,’ or ‘Coyote Road Runner,’ with his ‘Neopolitan,’ ice-cream embellished grin: his reward for eating his full allocation of the nightly yellow curse!

As I grew older, this parenting strategy was abandoned. Presumably, at the time of adolescence, but I can’t be sure. My stubbornness may have tipped the balance in my favour, after all.

Road Trips and Bus Tours were popular vacations in the seventies; the most memorable trip for me was seeing snow in Australia’s imaginatively named, ‘Snowy Mountains.’ I loved the sight of ice as tall as the bus and this might just be where I started my love affair with mountains and snow. I couldn’t wait for the opportunity to experience it again.

Road Trip to Snowy Mountains and Swan Hill, Victoria

Expectations of Adult Life

That afternoon in the seventies, whilst walking home in the rain, I wondered what life had in store for me as a ‘grown-up.’ I thought I’d have children, which came to pass, but thought I wouldn’t marry. I was wrong about marriage.

I thought as an adult, I would move location often, as that sounded more exciting than living in one suburban doldrum- I was both right and wrong about that. I thought I’d live interstate or on the other side of the world, unfortunately, the M.o.t.h, my future husband, happened to be Australian and liked to stay put.

I thought my children would be strong and confident. No doubt, everyone hopes for this. They have grown to be wonderful human beings, but I see with sadness the challenges of a modern world have taken a toll on their well-being. They are my world.

Surprisingly, there was a downside to my childhood reading ritual. I think if there is blame to be laid I would blame Helen Dore Boylston, the author of, ‘Sue Barton – Student Nurse,’ for my misguided foray into the world of Student Nursing. The books promised a dream vocation of caring and positivity and as a child, I was bewitched. In part, a mistake.

I must have read this book ten times over

The reality was far different and although I continued to work in the medical field for most of my working life, the long hours of shift-work required of a student nurse frequently made me ill and I was forced to change my career path.

Friendly Friday Blog Challenge Prompt

For this week’s Friendly Friday Challenge, we continue the Flashback theme Sandy posted earlier in the year by taking a Look Back to the Future, from our childhood years.

Here are some questions to get those creative juices flowing:

  • What is your memory of childhood?
  • Was there a significant milestone for you growing up and did it change your direction?
  • If you lived through the sixties and seventies, what stands out for you?
  • What do you recall of your childhood that directed you as an adult? Was there something that was instrumental in your path in life? Did it turn out well for you?
  • Is there an historic event that changed your perspective on life?

I invite you to join in and post a photo or story about your own childhood era.

Don’t forget to tag your post, Friendly Friday and leave a comment below so readers can visit you.

This challenge runs for two weeks after which Sarah will release a fantastic new prompt for the next Friendly Friday Blog Challenge. Check it out at Travel With Me.

Australia

Australian Slang – Lost in Translation, Mate

Sometimes, Australian Slang causes problems. Every Aussie uses it. When you’re born here, the meaning of those strange, shortened words are absorbed by osmosis. We are hardly even cognizant we’re saying them. We assume everyone understands what we mean.

australia meme
Photo Credit: Facebook

However, being so different to standard English words, the Australian Vernacular makes it difficult for non-native English speakers to understand, especially for those whose exposure to English has only been within the classroom, or via TV sit-coms. The full meaning of slang is often lost.

Mail Order Brides in Australia

Before the days of Tinder and dating agencies becoming mainstream, older single or widowed Aussie men might meet a prospective wife via a newspaper ad and through letters from The Philippines. Mail Order Brides wasn’t a nice social practice, but this story is not so much about that issue, as it is about the language barrier where slang is concerned.

The Moth’s (Man of the House), elderly Aunt had been divorced from her husband, Bob for some time, even though he still attended family gatherings. As Bob aged, he longed for company, so no one was particularly surprised when a delightful older lady, named Mary, accepted his offer to leave the Philippines, marry him and live in Australia.

country farm australia

Australia Day Family Barbeque

One Australia Day, Mary and Bob attended a family barbeque not far from their new home. Most of the farmers in the area were also extended family members, so Bob introduced his new wife to the family and also to country hospitality: ie barbeque food: meat, sausages, pavlova and loads of Beer. Very traditional, if you are Australian.

A few hours later, it was clear to all that Mary’s new husband had consumed far too many beers to drive either of them home.

Lost in Translation

As Mary was impatient to leave, she started walking home along the long, dusty road, herself. As she went to leave, an approaching car pulled over. Leaning out the car window, a neighbouring farmer shouted:

“Where ya headed, luv?”

“I go home,” Mary answered, eyes a little downcast. Guessing she was the newcomer who lived at least a half hour’s walk away, the old farmer flashed a big grin and said:

“Come with me, luv. I’ll run you over.”

Terrified, with eyes as big as saucers, Mary turned around and dashed back to her husband’s side, crying,

“I not want to die. He kill me.”

Aghast and confused, Bob stuttered, “Steady on, luvie ….Whad, whadya mean?

Pointing to the farmer’s car, Mary said:

“I not want to die. He said, He’d run me over!”

That’s ‘Straya,’ mate!

New Zealand
Australia, History & Traditions, Travel

Australia Speaks – Yeh Nah!

Australians are renowned for a laconic, self-deprecating sense of humour that is, to a large extent, the sort of mockery that is not meant to offend.

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Australia – New Zealand Relations

We love to tease the New Zealanders about their accent and habits, like their habit of calling all and sundry, ‘bro.’ The Kiwis, in turn, mock us about our own ‘Straylan‘ accent, about who really invented pavlova, or whether Russell Crowe is an Aussie or Kiwi.

[Although after the phone-throwing incident, there was a debate as to whether anyone would claim Russell, at all].

Mocking each other can be a sign of feeling secure enough with the friendship that each may ‘have a go,’ or tease someone, in a gentle way, hopefully without it being taken personally, or causing offence. And so it is between New Zealanders and Australians.

Teasing aside, our countries do have a fairly similar culture, at least historically in the Anglo-Saxon sense. Many of us have relatives in both countries.

house

We understand each other and visit all the time, prior to Corona, of course. It is quicker to travel to New Zealand than to travel to the other side of Australia, for goodness sake. When every second or third New Zealand Teenager moved to Australia in search of work, in the 1980s, the popular joke here, was:

“So you moved here from New Zealand? Did you leave the light on?”

New Zealanders are very welcome in Australia and are treated as one of us. Well, except when it comes to welfare payments, perhaps. ‘Nuff’ said.

Aussie Vernacular Idioms

My Kiwi cousins enjoy teasing me about the way Aussies say, “Yeh, nah,” or ‘yes,’ then ‘no’ in the one breath or sentence. And we do say it. No doubt.

All the time!

So why was this T-shirt found in a souvenir shop, in New Zealand, with a kiwi as part of the logo? “Hey, bro?

yeahnah

Are New Zealanders saying it, as well?

In defence of my fellow Aussies, this confusing phrase is used when we want to make two points, relative to one another, presumably to save time. As you may know, Aussies like to shorten everything to save time, especially when it comes to conversation and slang. As this video confirms:

In saying Yeh. Nah, we are agreeing with our conversational partner before further disagreeing on a smaller, less significant related point. Hence:

“Yeh, meaning you are right, (it looks like it might rain, but) “nah” meaning in reality, it probably won’t rain this afternoon – hence “Yeh, Nah, I don’t think it’s going to rain!”  Clear as mud?

It seems this confusing idiom that makes no literal sense has traversed the Tasman Sea, into New Zealand to the point that it’s now New Zealand speak, if only because it has the word, ‘bro’, after it!!

Aussies will NOT disagree with this, will they? Yeh…. nah!

And if you are ready for some more Aussie humour, Carl might give you a laugh.

Something for linguists to ponder about.

Travel

Magic Puddles at Meji

Japanese garden

Tokyo’s Meji Shrine is not that far from the Gyoen’s (The National Garden in Shinjuku), Sendegaya gate, but heavy rain might hamper your ability to navigate there correctly on foot. It will be particularly difficult if you’re holding a tiny Japanese umbrella over two people, and trying to navigate using your smartphone’s apps at the same time.

You have had fair warning.

9:00 am: We had begun the day at the Gyoen National Garden, a photographer’s dream, well before any rain started.

If you want to know more about visiting that spectacular Garden, click here.

We worked out that taking a wrong turn isn’t always a bad thing, in Japan. Some of the streets are really quite interesting and surprisingly devoid of traffic. Which is really unexpected, in a city of 38 million people.

Going to the wrong way out of Meji

1pm: After the wrong turn or two, we spotted the enormous Torii gate which signals the entrance to the Meji shrine. Having advanced knowledge that the Shinto shrine is located well inside Yoyogi Park, and given it was raining heavily, we looked for temporary cover before entering in the hopes the rain would abate.

It didn’t.

Shinto shrine Torii gate Japan
The Torii Gate – or entrance, to Meji Shrine in Tokyo

Our vain attempt to shelter under the eave of the guard’s box at the entrance was met with howls of protest from the guard himself, that I interpreted as, “No standing here, – you must keep moving.”

And move we did, passing through the Torii gate and taking the long, now dismal, walk up to Meji. This is normally a pleasant ten minute stroll through Yoyogi park when the sun is shining, but can be a miserably cold trot if it is teeming with rain, and it was teeming with rain.

Despite the inclement weather, I noted that the gardeners was highly focused on the task at hand, which was commendable, but I pondered if it might have been a religious penance of sorts to continue sweeping the leaves with a primitive straw broom amidst a torrential downpour?

Just keep sweeping..

In any case, I admired his resilience and fearless immunity to discomfort, despite the heavens opening up. No down time for outdoor workers in rainy Japan, it seems. And we complain about poor working conditions here…. gulp.

history

The Meji Shrine, itself, dates from 1920 and being a Shinto shrine it is considered the resting place of the souls, but not the earthly remains, of Emperor Meiji, and his empress.

The Meji period marked the beginning of Modern Japan, transitioning as it did, from a feudal power to centralized control under the Emperor, and therefore this shrine is significant, in Japanese history.

It is also worth mentioning the surrounding Yoyogi park contains over 100,000 trees that originated from donations from throughout the whole of Japan.

tips on visiting Meji Shinto Shrine in Japan

We were later to learn that it is customary to purify your hands and face prior to entering a Shinto shrine.

What every tourist needs to know:

After washing your hands and face, be sure to let the dirty water drain outside of the stone basin and tip the blessing bucket up so that clean water runs down the handle, so that it is clean for the next person.

This is Japanese custom but also altruism and thoughtfulness.

Respect for others. I like that.

shinto shrine cleansing fountain

You do not want to pollute the clean water in the vessel…….

How to Purify Yourself at a shinto shrine

  1. Take the wodden dipper in your right hand and scoop up some water. …
  2. Wash your left hand. …
  3. Change the dipper to your left hand, and wash your right hand. …
  4. Change the dipper into your right hand again, and rinse your mouth with your left hand. …
  5. Wash the handle of the dipper by letting the water run downward …
  6. Put the dipper back on the basin, scoop side down. ( The Japanese always think of the next person)

Meji Shrine 1:30 pm:

Like the many other tourists caught in the downpour with or without umbrella, we sat for over 60 minutes, waiting again for the rain to abate, as we were sure it would. It didn’t.

We sat meditating – watching the cleaner; watching the white zig zag shaped streamers fluttering in the breeze wondering of their significance; watching the rain; watching a wedding couple posing for pictures; watching the rain; watching the other tourists sitting and waiting for the rain to stop. We were patient. We watched and meditated 🙂

The rain Gods were not happy with us.

The deluge became heavier.

Another tip: There’ s not a whole lot to do at Meji Shrine, once you have taken some happy snaps and checked out the shrine. No cafe on site, No souvenir shops. That is a good thing, I think, however not such a fortuitous thing, if you are waiting for rain to stop.

A roving street vendor would have made a killing that day.

shinto shrines

Meji Shrine 2.25 pm:

There were some beautiful blossoms to admire whilst the rain fell. I got some great pictures.

We also got up close and personal with the cleaner going about his sweeping.

I noted he had updated his broom – a modern design, this time.

Meji Japan

An hour and a half later, we decided the rain wasn’t going to stop.

Meji Shrine 2.45pm:

The rain continued. We decided to make a run for it.

It rained all the way back home to the hotel. About 3 kilometres.

Later than night, I researched the Shinto zig zag streamers that we had seen hanging at the Shrines. Their purpose was to encourage the Shinto Nature spirits to, of all things, bring a plentiful rainfall to ensure a good rice harvest. Rice needs so much rain….

No wonder it was raining at Meji. The Zig zag streamers were hanging everywhere.

At least the shinto gods were swiftly responsive. After that day, there was one thing I was sure about – there’ll be no shortage of rice this year in Japan.

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Something to Ponder About

Community

Sunday Sayings – Needs

What happens when life takes an unexpected turn and we need something out of reach? Do you pause and think, panic or reach for the phone?

business workplace
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Necessity makes a Naked Woman

Learn How to Spin

~ Danish Proverb


Danish thatched cottage
Knaegemølle, Denmark

What is life if our best-laid plans are not to be laid aside?

~ Arundhati



weaving rocking chair christmas

Boredom teaches us that life isn’t a parade of amusements.

More important, it spawns creativity and self-sufficiency  

~ Pamela Paul

Thanks to Leggy Peggy and
www.nytimes.com/2019/02/02/opinion/sunday/children-bored.html



Home made chair

Does your world fall apart? Or do you see it as a challenge?

What do you make of this week’s sayings?

Everyone’s opinion is valid.
What is yours?

I invite you to leave a comment or share your views on Sunday Sayings.

Words of Wisdom

Several years ago, I created ‘Proverbial Friday’ on my blog. I became fascinated with traditional proverbs, quotes and sayings, their metaphorical layers and the many different interpretations found within just a few, succinct words. I marveled at their ability to transcend race, religion, opinions and age.

They offer us knowledge; knowledge that is passed to us in much the same way relay runners might pass a baton. Once it’s handed over, it is up to us what we do with it and how we pass it on.

They are invariably Something to Ponder About

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Community

Sunday Sayings – Worrying

Weekly Proverb

“Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow”

~Swedish Proverb
emotion

Weekly Quotes

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.

~Corrie Ten Boom
lonely

How something ends up never depends on how much you worry about it

~ Unknown

Worrying can become a habitual way of responding to triggers.

  • Some of us feel safer if we worry about something.
  • Others feel worrying is a way of caring about someone dear.
  • We might think we get better at solving problems or become motivated by worry.
  • Worrying helps us to feel prepared for potential outcomes.

None of these are very accurate!  Worrying does not prepare us for anything. 

pensive thoughful looking upward

What do you make of this week’s sayings.

Are you a worrier?

How do you overcome worry?

Do you think worry have a beneficial use in our lives?

Everyone’s opinion is valid.
What is yours?

I invite you to leave a comment or share your views on Sunday Sayings.

Words of Wisdom

Several years ago, I created ‘Proverbial Friday’ on my blog.

I became fascinated with traditional proverbs, quotes and sayings, their metaphorical layers and the many different interpretations found within just a few, succinct words. I marveled at their ability to transcend race, religion, opinions and age.

They offer us knowledge; knowledge that is passed to us in much the same way relay runners might pass a baton. Once it’s handed over, it is up to us what we do with it and how we pass it on.

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Community

Sunday Sayings – Stereotypicals

Is this true?

The graphic depicts the common stereotypes,  but it does not depict the individual who comes with conflicting viewpoints and contradictions.

Stereotypes fall in the face of humanity. We human beings are best understood one at a time. 
    
Anna Quindlen


Stereotypes might even be a mind’s way of dealing with the infinite complexities of our human personas, in shorthand.



For we ARE all individuals, no matter how similar or how different from one another.

Indeed, the Taoists say, ” it is possible to appreciate people for their uniqueness – like you might enjoy a certain song. You don’t have to analyse and pull it apart.”

If we stop comparing people to other people, and instead appreciate differences, we might experience a greater level of contentment, in our own mind and ourselves.
Conversely, complaining about others means we are effectively allowing ourselves to feel irritated or disturbed that things aren’t as we think they “should be.”


A bad neighbour glosses over your qualities and reveals your faults. 

~ Algerian proverb



Letting others be just who they are, means being a lot more flexible and accepting. Even consciously having less expectations.

More peace of mind might result from changing attitudes, than by changing circumstances.

There’s a difference between being yourself and being your stereotype.   
  
Iggy Azalea

What do you make of stereotypes? Are they always right or usually wrong?

Everyone’s opinion is valid.
What is yours?

rosemaling
Community, History & Traditions

What is the Art of the People?

Our identity is rooted in our history and icons from each person’s cultural heritage. Folk art, or the art of the people, comprises one aspect of this cultural heritage. But if folk art represents our history, then this must be constantly evolving and accumulating, with each passing year? It can not, by its nature, be static. As time marches on, so must our cultural heritage.

‘Folk art’ encompasses art produced from an indigenous culture, or by peasants, or other laboring tradespeople. In contrast to fine art, folk art is primarily utilitarian and decorative rather than purely aesthetic. – [Wikipedia]

The art of the people or ‘ folk’ represents a moment in time; it talks of what life was, and is, like, for those folk,or people. Is it important to preserve that for future generations?

marimekko

What is today’s cultural heritage or folk art? Traditional artifacts, or everyday objects and memories that are relevant for individual people?slow cooker

Scandinavian festival

“Even though many objects produced today are mass produced consumables, with a short lifespan, they represent an important pillar for our identity.”

[Valdres FolkeMuseum, Fagernes]
IMG_20140914_113038 (Small)

 

Iconic objects that have strong personal or cultural meaning may also comprise folk art and memorabilia of today’s society.

yeahnah

Some objects may represent passion or tell a story, have some aesthetic frame around people’s lives or have some meaning in a cultural sense.

 

Family 2014 017-001

 

What objects would you include in a museum exhibit from this decade?

What object has meaning to you, in today’s society? What could represent your folk art, or cultural heritage from this decade? Is it a photograph, CD, machine, or artwork?

Please share your thoughts.

 

 

 

Community, History & Traditions

Proverbial Thursday – Proverbs from around the World

???????????????????????????????I find profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and marvel at the way they can be so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and across cultures, and speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes like proverbs, can make us think more deeply about something.

Each Thursday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought provoking.  I hope you will too.

Talk does not cook rice – Chinese proverb

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”

(Muhammad Ali)

Something to ponder about.