Sunday, July 29, 2007

Reflections: Walking the social tightrope in another country (part 2)

So clearly, neither country is perfect, but The Partner and I have chosen Australia for now -- it will be a few years, I'm thinking. We like it here, a lot, but it is interesting living in a country that is historically such a sibling rival. We get teased about our accents, and we get called sheepshaggers (though that really is the Aussies, not us), and we are expected to give a shit about the rugby (apart from seeing embarrassing drunken fans here, I don't).

On the flipside, it is pretty damn hard to have an opinion about anything in either country (and particularly about any differences between them) without being offensive, when you are a guest and there is a well established rivalry. I don't mind this, I am well aware that I am a guest here, and that I owe loyalty to New Zealand, and courtesy to Australia, but I am an opinionated person, and when questioned I will respond. Take it as read, though, that I consider the higher quality of living, the better pay, the better healthcare, the wider range of cultural events and the better weather enough--I am still here, after all. Where I criticise when provoked, the criticism is well thought out, and not a kneejerk reaction to things not being like at home. It is only a criticism of that one issue, though, I love your country and am grateful for the opportunities it has provided me.

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