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Last night we were out for dinner with a bunch of the pickleballers from this weekend’s Queensland Pickleball Tour event (more on this later) and our friend Lachlan asked us what were the biggest cultural differences we had noticed between Australia and Canada. We couldn’t think of anything at the time, other than things related to big cities vs small towns, not really related to Canada vs Australia. But we kept thinking about it and the 3 that have come to mind so far are:

  1. People walking around barefoot. Not just outside – in malls, airports, shops, everywhere! Kids and adults alike. I don’t think I have ever seen this in Canada, and of course it’s probably forbidden in most places back home (“no shirt, no shoes, no service”, after all). I love most things about Australia, but I don’t think you’ll ever see me walking barefoot in a mall!
  2. Large number of self-employed individuals. I don’t know if the entrepreneurial spirit is stronger in Aussies or if government here does a better job of encouraging and supporting people to own their own businesses (certainly something Canada does VERY poorly), but it’s awesome to see so many mom-and-pop businesses offering all sorts of products and services. There are of course the large and medium-sized businesses here too, but it’s very noticeable how many 1-person entities there are – owner-operators with no or very few employees. It strikes me that there is a love of being self-employed without a need to earn piles of money, and so people aren’t getting caught up in the “must grow the business to earn more” philosophy (or fallacy might be the better word…). This might extend more fully beyond the self-employed to people in general here just getting a personal satisfaction out of current life circumstances without a constant need to “get ahead.” I saw something on Facebook recently talking about anxiety relating to too much rumination about the future and depression relating to too much rumination about the past, and how important it is to keep some emphasis on the present. In my experience to date, the Aussies seem to have a better sense of the value of the present.
  3. Personal accountability. I’m not sure if this is Australia vs Canada or small town vs big city, but there seems to be a much greater sense of personal accountability here. It doesn’t seem to be as litigious here and there is less of a “blame anyone before examining your own choices” attitude. I think one of my early posts was showing how pedestrians do not have the right of way here, cars do, and pedestrians pay much closer attention when crossing streets – they ALWAYS look both ways (back home, I remember driving to work one day last year and noticing someone look both ways and the reason I noticed him was because it almost never happens, they usually just walk across while looking at their phones). So I’m not sure if this is a small town vs city or Australia vs Canada difference, but it’s very noticeable. Makes me wonder if there is some sort of correlation between enjoying the present and taking responsibility. Presumably someone somewhere is studying this!

We’ll keep our thinking caps on to identify other differences that aren’t just due to big city vs small town characteristics and will keep you posted!

Those of you in the know will have recognized “not being in the kitchen” as a pickleball reference and of course, there is more pickleball to comment on this week! Last weekend was the Seniors Pickleball event. Then during the week, they had a bunch of coaching sessions for various skills. The retiree in our household signed up for a few of these and really enjoyed them. Hugh also did a half day session on refereeing. Oy vey, I am going to rue that day, now having to live with a rules expert in the house :(. This weekend was the Yeppoon stop on the Queensland Pickleball Tour (QPT) – over 170 very skilled players out this weekend!! I played in the over 50 women’s doubles and my partner Sharyn and I managed to pull off a bronze! We were honestly AWFUL for the round robin games, which started at 7:30am in the morning and neither of us are terribly functional prior to 9am. But fortunately we pulled it together for the games that mattered. Sharyn bought these excellent “Own Your Power” shirts for us – we absolutely owned our power, once we were awake, that is 🙂

There has been some good media coverage of the Yeppoon Pickleball Festival (which included the Seniors tournament last weekend, all the coaching sessions and social events during the week, and the QPT this weekend). Yeppoon is definitely on the map for pickleball in Australia – everyone attending was blown away at our facilities! But the big news is, drum roll please, one of the TV spots featured Hugh Widdup! You can see him playing in some of the action shots (light blue shirt) and he was even interviewed:

When not trotting around in front of a film crew :), Hugh continued to chip away at painting this past week. Still no news on our shipping container, it’s been sitting in Brisbane for over 4 weeks now, so Hugh seems to have lots of time to get everything painted before our belongings arrive. He just has 2 small walls left to do and then all of the trim and doors – unfortunately, we have 16 doors, so that’s not going to be a quick endeavour :(. In other household projects, we’ve been doing some gardening with native plants and Hugh has been extending the drip irrigation system out front:

Here is a quick video of our back yard:


We’re going to see if it might be possible to put a small pool in next year (access to the yard is complicated by rainwater pipes running from the shed to the house, so we’re not sure if digging equipment would be able to get in or not). I’ve been loving having an outdoor clothes line again – there is something strangely soothing about hanging laundry outdoors. The only trick here right now is that you have to get the laundry out in the morning because it’s dark at 5:30-6:00pm and there is a heavy dew once dark. Even in the summer months, the latest it will stay light is apparently 7:30pm – so different from our summer evenings at home! I would actually say that the early darkness has been the only difficult adjustment to being here.

Hugh’s been planting herbs and tomatoes in our raised beds, and we have a number of neat native plants from the previous owners around the edges too:

I’m not sure of the name of the plant on the left, but at home it’s an annual. The bottlebrush tree that you can see in the video has just started blooming – can’t wait to see how it looks when covered in red brushes like you see in the photo on the right!

I still haven’t been able to record the noise the crows make here – they seem to know when I have my camera on video or audio and they suddenly go quiet. I did get a photo of 2 of them on our bird bath though:

They were eating something disgusting – originally it was on the ground and then one of the crows picked it up and dunked it in the water and pecked away at it there, and then the other one grabbed the remainder of whatever it was out of the water and put it on the edge as you can see in the photo. I’m going to pretend it was tofu. We really don’t need TV here, just watching the bird bath provides plenty of entertainment! Speaking of TV, everyone has antennas here and there are dozens of free stations! You just plug the TV into the antenna outlet in the wall. No cable TV and its associated exorbitant costs.

We saw more galahs today – such pretty birds!

We tried out some new restaurants in Yeppoon this week and all were excellent! I’m really amazed at the good selection of restaurants in such a small town – with the one exception that there is no Italian restaurant here. How on earth is that possible?? I miss Casa Toscana in Grimsby and Just Cooking in Vineland. On Friday, we went out with new friends Rob and Lynn – Hugh golfs with Rob (and Rob is the one who took Hugh over to Keppel Island awhile back – we’ve met a number of Rob’s here, I think we’re going to have to start numbering them) and we just met Lynn for the first time. She owns a physio clinic in Melbourne (they travel back and forth between Melbourne and Yeppoon) so we had a lot of similar stories about clinic ownership to share! We really have lucked out in meeting so many awesome people here – we enjoy good conversation and have a good laugh and they have all made us feel so welcome. And we’re gradually roping all the non-pickleballers into pickleball, muahahahahaa…

Well, with this being another week consumed by pickleball, not much else to report, I’m afraid. Please keep your fingers and toes crossed that we hear something this week about getting our shipping container delivered. Having a patio table and chairs meeting all of our furniture needs is getting a bit tiresome, and Hugh is quite sick of washing dishes by hand – can’t use the dishwasher when we only have 2 plates, 2 bowls, a few forks, etc.. But enough whingeing (another great Aussie/UK word), I will get back to my inner Aussie self of enjoying our present circumstances, which really are pretty terrific!

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