Leah On Foot

Wanderlust

Category: Melbourne

The World at Your Doorstep

I was standing in my doorway in Melbourne, with a cup of coffee in one hand, and signing for a registered letter with the other. The letter was from the Oslo county governor. A letter… from halfway across the world… sent express to my door. I remember that moment so clearly, the one in which the world was so undoubtedly at my doorstep.

Now, a little over a year later, so much has changed in my life (and rightfully so). One thing, however, has certainly stayed the same: Since January, I have thought of Australia almost every day. It has been eleven months since I came back to Norway to see if I wanted Norway, and if Norway wanted me. My love has followed, along with a fitting job and a cozy apartment. [Insert joyous, monotonous rhythm here.] It quickly became evident that I wasn’t quite done with Norway after all! A recent visit from Melbourne friends Jenni (and earlier in the year, Anna) have been energizing. We reminise about the good times, crazy library days, and sunny days spent in the park.

Talk quickly transitions to plans ahead, as we have moved our doortsteps elsewhere. We wonder when we will wander back to this land that has given us so much inspriation. Five years? 10? How about 20, like my father? It is ironically comforting, therefore, to know that Melbourne will never again be as I left it.

For instance, I know very well the Cedar Rapids, Iowa of 1987-2006. The Cedar Rapids after that…I know little of. Buildings have been torn down, my parents’ street has been re-paved, and my high school classmates now have families and houses.

Similarly, Norway before 2006 is like one big history lesson to me. I had to immerse myself in significant cultural shows and events (read: The Julekalenderen, Flåklypa, mm…) just in order to understand a joke. And every time the value of the Norwegian krone drops or gains, I compare it to when I first moved here.

Melbourne, likewise, will remain a snapshot of what it looked like and the events that occured in 2014. For fun, I’ve listed just list some things that come to mind: protests, local fashion, only owning [needing] one sweater, shark culls, Korean hot pot, Tony Abbott’s circus, (related: ignoring Aboriginal rights), 96 tram, comedy shows, sunny parks, and lest we forget the market guy who always yells “BANANA! 4 DOLLAH 4 DOLLAH! 4 DOLLAH BANANA!” To feel the heartbeat of a culture, what drives its people, what unites them and divides them…that is how I love to travel, and have always loved to travel. The first thing I do in a new place is check out the nearest grocery store or peaceful protest. That’s where I can get a sense of how much of the world is at their doorstep, and sometimes, how much they are on the doorsteps of the world.

Fast forward to 2015, which is almost over. On the cusp of 2016, Melbourne is at the doorstep of the world, and her metropolis is expanding at a phenomenal rate. It’s a very exciting time: the creatives keep creating, Turnbull has calmed the nation down, and David Jones even has a website now.  The next time I visit, I am in for a shock; I can only hope the internet conenction is better 20 years from now, too.

The travels continue, and are never enough to sratch that itch. My time in Melbourne was just short of magical, and I can peacefully live elsewhere, knowing that it will never be as I left it. And that’s ok! It is therefore essential that we keep in mind that the world is truly at our doorstep, whether it is off to a new experience in the here-and-now, or off to the past, where our memories inspire and comfort us. I know that through dreaming, I continue to bring this far-off land to my doorstep, this one where winter is summer, rooftop bars are plenty, and tiny bears are grey and hang out in trees.

CBD as seen from Northcote at dusk

CBD as seen from Northcote at dusk

And then, just like that, my time in Australia was over.

One year ago today, I left Oslo with 29.8 kilos of my life in “Big Blue,” my massive, loyal [and expensive] suitcase. My heart beat so hard that my cheeks thumped with the aftershocks. I had put a lot at stake in investing financially and otherwise into an education in Australia–what if I had made the wrong decision? Alas, I had always wanted to live in Australia. My lonely bachelor’s degree in sociology was getting me nowhere that I wanted to be. I had, however, always loved writing, bringing people together, and hearing their stories. The light-bulb moment arrived, and it was time to act on it! I had no responsibilities, nothing to tie me down–I did not even own a mattress. Now was the time to go!

So I set off with tears in my eyes saying good bye to the friends and the lifestyle I loved dearly in Oslo. It would still be a long time before I could make it home to the U.S., but it was a sacrifice I had to make if I was going to pursue that looming goal, just two semesters in the making. 

 January 29th was a warm, steamy summer’s day. I arrived at my AirBnb room whose A/C was struggling to keep up with the summer’s pressure. As I hauled my carry-on bags up the stairs in that house, I felt it all (as Feist might say). I felt alone, brave, scared, stupid, adventurous, and EXCITED, all at once.

Eventually settling in a studio flat downtown, I quickly felt myself come alive again, thawing rapidly from so many winters up North. My skin screamed in the strong Australian sun and protested by turning red immediately. I relished trips out the country and to other states in order to let my soul breathe–sometimes, Melbourne was just too full of concrete for this country girl. I pretended my farmer’s market WAS a farm, lugging home $5 boxes of fresh zucchinis, apples, and farm fresh eggs. I lamented daily about hipsters, Tony Abbott, and Woolies. I had gone native, Melbourne-style. I tried to soak in as much as possible, but that only made time fly quicker. Suddenly, I was all out of time.

By January 2015, my skin was sun-kissed and my feet were cracking from walking barefoot so much. I had a degree in my hands, with proud, strong grades despite every curve ball the year threw at me. I was broke, and it was time to find a “real” job. My student visa was running out, and my ticket was return to Oslo.

I write the title with skepticism. Inspired by Forrest Gump, I feel like all of sudden, the day came where I just dropped my shoulders and thought “Well, I made it this far. Might as well turn around and keep going.” A return is inevitable but its capacity and duration remain a project for the gods to deal with. 2014 is hands-down the year I cried the most, learned the most, laughed the most, felt the most. I love both cities and people in them. That’s all I can really say about The Future.

Your support, your letters, your likes and emails and Skype….  it has meant so incredibly much to me. You have been on this journey with me the whole way. You walked with me through a eucalyptus forest. I had you mind when I listened to the koala’s growl in the night. When I drank Little Creatures beer I thought “Yeah, you’d like this.” Thank you, thank you! I’m so happy you joined me.

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Waves of Happiness

I lay down on the board, and pretend to take a nap. The waves have died down a bit, allowing for some playtime in the water. The small waves gently hit my board, just enough to rock me back and forth. There is a gentle, peaceful smile on my face. All I hear is the sound of the water, and waves in the distance washing up on shore. Marty is nearby, but perhaps in his own world, too.

After being surrounded by chaos and stressed-out city humans in the store for days, all I wanted was to get away from them. Please, no humans today, my soul begged of me. I wanted to hear nothing else but the sound of the ocean. I wanted to see no one but Marty, off in the distance catching a wave.

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A quiet day at Bells, photo taken earlier in the year.

We have met some French tourists earlier in the morning thanks to Marty’s ability to make friends with absolutely anyone. He rivals my own reputation for it! Everywhere we go, I am practically pulling him away, interrupting his conversation in order to convey “cmon; lets get a move on!” That morning was no exception. They chatted about the south of France, about the weather conditions that morning, and about road-tripping Australia. I was quickly bored, looking forlornly out into the waves. Feeling as eager as I was to get away from the city, I tugged on his shirt and said “So, um, sorry to interrupt but, I wanna get out there.” “Ok, ok, see you guys later” he responded with a wide smile, adding sarcastically, “You act like you really wanna surf or something!”

My capabilities in this sport are minimal, but I have never done any sport in order to excel, let alone one to do with water! To me sports are about letting loose and having fun, and I am sure that was the original intention of them anyway, in the days where it was hard work and a hard life. I have had fun learning to feel waves, and sometimes I have the discipline enough to stand up. I learn a little more with each try. Mostly, though, it is just great to be out there, feeling a part of the Earth greater and bigger than I am.

I remember just before I was about to try surfing for the first time. I had mixed feelings whether or not to tell my family. My brother and brother-in-law, I knew, would not be happy. Of course, I could get swallowed whole by swimming knives, blue bottle jellyfish, or drop bears that prey on Midwestern girls. Admittedly, I did protest slightly when Marty even suggested it. “What if I don’t like it?” I asked wearily. “Aww, you’ll like it!” Marty replied matter-of-factually. After all, I was not born with an affinity to the sea. Growing up, I did not need to feel the harsh ocean winds against my face and feel the salt stick to my skin in order to be happy. Give me a forest, a freshwater lake, and a canoe. Now there’s happiness!

However, discovery is an ongoing human desire, is it not?? Whether it be through food and new recipes, through travel and new places, or music and new songs to learn. When we unearth a new part of our world, we open ourselves to more room to be happy. When we have a bigger platform on which to be happy, it becomes easier to find happiness, instead of a mystical illusion or a fleeting feeling. At least, that is what made sense to me anyway, as I lay on the board, waiting for the next succession of waves to come in.

When I really actually enjoyed being out in the ocean, it was much easier to embrace it. The waves became a playground instead of a terror zone. The city and humans became a distant memory, and time did not matter. As the morning grew late and more humans sought the same solace as I did, I got out reluctantly, but ready to face the city again with new energy.

Just don’t tell my brother or brother-in-law.

Getting OUT of the city

Had I been looking, I would have seen the wombat.

Before moving to Australia 10 months ago, I had heard there was not much life in Australian nature. It was apparently pretty red, pretty dry, and pretty barren. I keep learning, however, that there is always life if you just look. I thought the native brown grasses were victims of relentless drought, and that dry lakes could not possibly be a regular occurrence. Beauty in nature according to my upbringing lay in lush, green grasses that my toes danced in. Life found itself in strong rivers and black, nutritious topsoil. Upon arrival, I even thought a burnt forest meant that it was dead. Of course, had I looked, I would have seen that it is teeming with life.

Maybe I had been looking, but through the filter of the city and society. The beauty had disappeared between tram stops and construction sites. I was slowly growing more frustrated with life. I knew I was not seeing much of life or its beauty when a stranger asked me for the time as I buzzed by, my mind elsewhere. I automatically replied “No thanks,” as if they were a street corner fundraiser, and marched on. I was 10 metres away already when I back-pedaled and looked him straight in the eyes. I said, “I’m sorry about that. The time is 2:45.” I had, again, not been looking.

So now, I put my head out the window, the salty ocean air filling my nostrils, but I do not dare let it do something that I do not see. I am wide-eyed, looking eagerly at all the plants and rocks and coastline. As the car winds its way along the Otway National Park, I spot a koala hanging out having a meal, a wallaby, and some funky birds. And then I see this guy:

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A little echidna dude

Where did all of this life come from?! How did I not see this before? I began to spot things everywhere, finding every wallaby’s hiding spot and even a lizard of some sort. It only continued at the campground. On my way to the use the toilet in the dark, I was on high alert for yellow eyes shining in my flashlight. Sure enough, I saw two staring right at me, and it wasn’t moving too quickly. It was, of course, another koala.

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How cool is the forest, hey?

 

There was little I didn’t see at this point. So much to see and learn, and at night the koalas gave their territorial growls, sounding like wild pigs. It is funny looking back that everyone talks about snakes and spiders when they think of nature in Australia, and I still do not want to see any ever ever ever. But by assuming this, are we really looking? Compared to North America with wolves, bears (Ok, in Minnesota anyway) and racoons–in addition to snakes and spiders–growling koalas did not seem so bad!!

By focusing on snakes and spiders, I would not have seen the other animals. By focusing on the brown leaves or minimal streams, I would not have seen all the ferns or waterfalls. It was hard to be convinced of red, dry, barren land amongst all this life.

I just had to look.

Escaping the city…in the city

G’day; it’s 23 C and sun: let’s go for a walk in Yarra Bend park!

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Could use some more rain maybe…

We’ve got our bag with water and some food. We’ve got proper shoes on and high spirits. The phone can stay on the desk in the bedroom. The city’s busy crossings and suits can wait til tomorrow. Off we go then, to discover bidgee widgees and other plants known only to this crazy island. Shown above is a little river that winds its way quietly in the middle of the city. From this angle, you feel you are “in the bush.” There are native grasses and birds, and if you focus on the wind in the grasses, you forget you are in the city at all. As you bend over to get a closer look at the light purple flowers swaying in the breeze, it’s almost as if they are smiling at you.

Then we turn open our ears again, and hear the hum of the cars on the highway. You stand up, turn around and see the city skyline behind you. You slouch. Sigh. The weir is a sad sight to see. What is the point? I ask to myself as I stare quizzically into its centre. There are too many of them here: the go-to band-aid for this country.

Alas, there are still many native plants to be discovered. This is the bidgee widgee. That’s right, the Acaena novae-zelandiae. Mmmhmm. The bidgee widgee is basically what eventually turns into ‘spurs.’ They love socks and shoe strings!

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“bidgee widgee” is my new favorite common name. (Last week was Billy Button).

What a good day for a walk. It’s time however to go back to the bells of trams and the minutes of meetings. Thanks for joining me!

Post-graduating

It’s been two long semesters

$20,000 in tuition

290 coffees

1,000 hours + in the library

four textbook check-outs

Seven group members

Four A+’s

One C

One degree in Communications from Victoria University.

To me spring always marks a much bigger fresh start than a new year. Rains and spring storms send allergy-sufferers into an anti-histamine daze, and everything is an excuse for eating ice cream. My course is finishing up and my new career path is completely uncharted. It’s terrifying. My mom has been encouraging, saying “Just get a job.” Yeah, working on it!! It’s just daunting. I try to figure out my chances, given contacts, references, experience, expertise, language background, and training…huff. It’s a tough call. What to prioritise, what to drop, what to prepare for. It’s all there. I’ll prepare for the worst though, like a good optimist! ;P I still have two months left here and it is certain to fly by. I am most proud of getting myself back into remission during a time of tremendous change and stress. I have my last doctor’s and pathology appointments ever with the St. V clinics in November, and all three of my closest friends are determined to go with me. I’m feelin’ the tremendous love.

Grad school has been so incredibly painful and given me second-guesses all along the way. I have seen my attitude improve, and my skills are sharpened like a No. 2 pencil. I am getting to know my creativity better, as if it is a colleague of mine rather than this weird random magic wonder that showed up every now and then. I am a different person than I was before I started, and certainly I will be six months from now, too. I took a chance to put a poem of mine out into the public sphere and it feels great, even if no one can read norsk around these parts. I don’t care; I did it anyway. #mymantra. Now why are you reading this instead of employing me?? Go on, then!

One poem

23 essays

Two academic blogs (here and here)

Eight Powerpoint presentations

3 boxes of Kleenexes

Eight osteopath appointments

One wild adventure

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Some Queensland forest. 6/2014

Tuesdays

Tuesdays have come to be my favourite day of the week here. A journey that has been a year in the making.

A year ago this month, I was applying to schools all over Australia, putting my faith into Sydney and Melbourne. I had finally decided to dedicate myself to my creativity and skills, to pay attention to what everyone else had always told me to pursue: writing.

…and I was scared out of my mind.

I didn’t want to tell anyone because I was fearful of what they would say. I didn’t want to tell my family most of all, because I knew that would be the nail on the coffin of the “Leah has officially gone crazy” campaign. Australia, of all places! Maybe they were right, but I wasn’t about to admit it!! I kept my fears and my dreams to myself, locked in a nice little box with a purple bow, while I anxiously awaited an acceptance letter. Continuing my travels around Europe, October first brought Lyon, visiting an old housemate. Then in Copenhagen, I fell in love with the Danish autumn. I had plenty to think about and not enough time to articulate it.

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Lyon, France.

I remember the moment that I knew that I had made the right decision to go into PR and Communications, knew that it was time to take the purple ribbon off of the box. It was in fact the reception of this article. I wrote about a subject matter that tends to ruffle feathers. The “I’m not like that!” or the “Go back to where you came from!” crowds could have had a hay day with me if I had written even just slightly off course.

Since I was a child, my family has always encouraged me, but especially in two things: to write, and to help those who have less than myself. Why donate blood? You’re saving up to seven lives. Why buy Christmas presents for strangers? Because we’re so lucky as to have many. Why flip pancakes on Easter Sunday? So that we can raise enough money to go to summer camp and learn about love and nature. This has always been my impulse, my instinct, so when I asked a local charity here if I could please intern with them, I was so thankful that they said “yes.”

That charity was OzChild, a local, Victoria-based foster care provider. A group assignment in Semester One led me to them. We had to pick a local NPO and create a mock PR plan for them. Our enthusiastic and overachieving group realized the need for a real media kit and created some key messages and objectives surrounding an actual event. We aimed to create positive media attention and wanted to ensure that this could benefit OzChild beyond our theory-heavy research. Long story short, I started on a Tuesday.

Every Tuesday, I have had the opportunity to have responsibility for projects and learn in such a passionate environment. The work I do there every Tuesday is miniscule to the work they do every day of the week. I have helped lead the largest fundraising campaign to-date with them, a project that nobody but my manager and myself believed in, and we’re not even done with the campaign yet! (We are raising a whopping $96,000 for the organisation, if you feel so inspired to give from afar).

Ozchild has provided me with the chance to grow in my skills and experience with a fantastic and incredibly talented group of communications practitioners. My university has fostered immense feedback and support, and come November, a poem of mine will be published, thanks to OpenAccess, how cool is that? No matter where my degree takes me when I am done, I will always be thankful for the opportunity that this organisation and leap of faith has given me, to be able to pursue my two greatest loves: words, and helping others.

Om det å flytte

Du kunne ha sagt at Solveig (74) fra Tøyen har en mye mer spennende historie enn de fleste. Alan ikke verst, heller.

Det var en søndagsmorgen i juni, og jeg hadde fortsatt litt hjemmelengsel. Solen skinte selv om dagen var kald. Jeg tok trikken til “Frogner” (Toorak). Jepp, jeg skulle i kirken! Tro det eller ei! For første gang siden…..tja, lenge siden. Men ikke bare en vanlig kirke. Neiånei. Den svenske kirken i Melbourne, for å være eksakt. Foran de store, tunge, overveldende dørene sto jeg et ekstra sekund. Jeg pustet dypt inn, og brukte kroppen for å skyve døren nok til å kunne snike meg inn.

Døren smalt hardt bak meg. Jeg så meg rundt og smilte bredt: Jeg hadde tatt et steg gjennom tid og kulturer. Jeg hadde havnet i et samfunn utenom det vanlige. Jeg hadde ikke brukt norsk på ganske lang tid…

“Morgen!” Sa jeg mens jeg rakk ut hånden. “Leah heter jeg.” “Hallo Leah, jag heter Per. Hyggelig. Har ni vært her før?” (Min verste svensk aksent). “Nei,” sa jeg. “Håper det er greit at jeg snakker norsk.” “Haha! Jo, det er flere av dere gærne her,” svarte han med et vink.

Jeg satt meg ned og lurte på hvorfor i all verden jeg var der. Men før jeg kunne svare, begynte gudstjenesten. Med rundt 25 stemmer tilsammem, reiste vi oss og sang noe om Gud og kjærlighet (sikkert).

Etter gudstjenesten var det tid for litt kaffe og boller, såklart! Her var jeg den yngste deltaker med flere tiår, men det var jo bare hyggelig. Jeg liker å snakke med de gamle. De har de beste historiene. Jeg fikk møte alle de norske som var tilstede:kun damer som hadde flyttet hit leeeeeenge siden, mye lenger før jeg ble engang født. Det er nok årsaken på at de ble her: barna deres.

Men så begynte jeg å snakke med Solveig. Solveig ble født og oppvokst i Oslo. Hun fortalte meg om Veitvet “før i tida” og barndommen hennes på Tøyen: hvordan det var så stille, rolig, og et ganske fredelig sted. Når jeg tenkte på at Øya Festivalen skulle holdes på Tøyen i august, smilte jeg litt. Mye har endret seg. Solveig kom til Australia i 1962. 1962! Hun var 22 år og hadde aldri vært uten moren hennes før. (Jeg kjente meg godt igjen.) Hun kom med fly, noe som tok en hel uke i den tida. Hun ønsket å jobbe i Australia, og det gjorde hun. Hun ble fort forelsket i en mann. (Jeg kjente meg godt igjen). De hadde barn sammen, og nå er hun bestemor. Hun har integrert seg så mye man kan i et fremmed land. Og her er hun, på den svenske kirken. Sikkert hver helg.

Naturligvis er Solveig en solstråle. Hun ble like fascinert over historien min, og vi lo litt over livet mens vi spiste mørk, nordisk kaffe og spiste IKEA kanelboller. Jeg måtte ta av hatten til denne dama. Bare reisen til Australia i seg selv er noe å være stolt over å ha overlevd. Og tanken på at en tenåring på Tøyen hadde lyst til å reise til Australia! “Bare for å oppleve noe nytt.” Det gjorde hun, altså.

Og Alan? Alan, han som ikke har blitt nevnt på flere hundre ord? Han snakker ikke et eneste ord på verken norsk eller svensk. “I come for the ladies,” sa han. “Scandinavian women are beautiful, no matter what age.” Jeg visste ikke om jeg skulle tro at det var ekkelt eller morsomt. Men han var en sjømann i sine yngre dager, og ble forelsket i en norsk kvinne. Det høres romantisk ut, men historien fortsetter: hun ville ikke til Australia, og han ville ikke til Norge. Så det ble slutt, og jeg lurer på om han fortsatt angrer. Det høres da kanskje litt mer trist ut enn romantisk.

Jeg hadde ikke hjemmelengsel igjen etter den dagen. Det var nok da da jeg begynte å tenke på at hjemme er noe vi bærer rundt i verden med oss. Akkurat slik Solveig gjør med stille og rolig Tøyen.

That Melbourne Wind

Oh, so that’s what they mean by Melbourne wind!

Today was windy. In fact, it’s 2am, and through my widow I hear buildings protesting and a hollow wind through the branches.

In Iowa, it was typically windy. It wasn’t a prime landscape to bike, to wear dresses, to cross country ski….etc. My moms car door twice needed repairs because she left it open and a gust came. And that was just the one car. However, it still didn’t occur to me that silence could really envelope a place until (Eastern) Norway.

Whenever it is windy in Oslo, it is practically in the news, and for legit reasons. It IS annoying, not because (we’re) simply not used to it, but because it disrupts life so much more. We DO walk and bike everywhere, wear flowy skirts, and cross country ski! I am reliant on umbrellas most days and if it is windy, I can’t use one.

Faced with packing a suitcase for Melbourne, two things were made clear to me: it rains a lot, and is windy.

I am not convinced that Melbourne is rainy. In fact, any Melburnian will tell you that New South Wales and Queensland have a higher average daily rainfall percentage (or something) than Melbs. I’m not quite convinced that it is all that windy in Melbourne, either. This is the second or third night I can recall where the winds here were so….well, Iowan.

Two things stick out at this point: that Melb gets these bad raps for the simple reason that they actually have such natural occurrences. I suppose ‘everyone else’ living here are all from places where wind and rain rarely occur. Of course, I’m sure some snowbirds like myself laugh. Just to keep the balance. 😉

Winter WAS long and hard and as equally depressing, actually. It’s just because society has that same mindset of: “it’s cold, it’s miserable, get me home to a cuppa tea.” So since spring is hopping along, we are all much more open to life and smiling. Laughter comes easier and Melb is suddenly alive again.

One question I cannot answer is one I got just the other day.

A customer I had was from Brasil. He was a lovely guy although felt cold at 18C. I laughed and told him winter was weird here because, given my background, I expect snow and all we got was some rain. After a slight pause, he looked at me with pure sincerity and curiosity and wonderment in his voice and eyes, and said “why would you miss the snow?”

I am still speechless at his sincerity in the question. He truly could not understand the crunch of the boots, the silence of it falling gently on the street, or the way it lights up a dark night. He does not know the way snow can change a landscape overnight, or bring such joy to a Labrador or child. In that same sense, we cannot separate ourselves from the environments in which we know intuitively. We can grow to know others, but I for one still cannot embrace the desert like I can the winds. When it rains, I still hope for a thunderstorm. And when it is windy in Melbourne, I pull my hair back, and leave the umbrella at home.

“Leah, what are Aussie men like?”

Aussie men.

You’re all dying to know aren’t you? What are they like? You keep asking, but I don’t think six months justifies any presumptions I’ve made. But there are some things that I’ve been asked repeatedly. We’ve all heard these things and the verdict is still out on if the myths hold true. I’ll try my best to be diplomatic.

“They are fit.” Yeah, it seems most people in general value being active anyway, no matter their weight.

“They have a good sense of humour.” Definitely.

“They are obsessed with sport.” Definitely.

“They are loyal.” Sure? As much as any random white male population. They seem ‘American’ though in the sense that Couplehood is the crowned child of society.

“They are hot.” Sure? As much as any random white male population.

“They are short.” Let’s just say when I see a taller bloke, I notice.

“They all surf.” I’m sure Ayers Rock is a huge RipCurl hub. 😉

“They like to wear flip flops.” Affirmative.

“They like beer. A lot” We all like our beer.

I know you’re disappointed in me. You wanted the scoop, the scandalous statement, the one where I declare them pigs or gods. They are neither. They’re ‘stralian!
Now come see for yourself! The Aussie mates I have anyway are incredibly funny, loyal, and thoughtful. They are smart guys with a soft heart.