Only 17 days to go until the wife and I leave Australia and I must say I am rather looking forward to my imminent return to the motherland. This is for a variety of reasons - I've been away for nearly three years, I can't wait to see my friends again, I miss my family and since I've been gone my sister has given birth to my beautiful nephew, AJ, who I am eagerly anticipating seeing. But apart from the usual personal reasons for wanting to go back home I am also looking forward to return because I love the UK and I love London. Sure it has its faults, where doesn't? But overall it rocks.
What I have found amusing over the past few weeks and months is the reaction of Australians (mainly those who aren't friends and family) when I have told them that I am going back to the UK.
First, a look of utter bafflement appears on their faces, as they are unable to internally process why on Earth someone would want to leave Australia to go to the UK - usually this bafflement lasts so long that I have to quickly say 'Ah, but we're only going for a couple of years and then we'll be back' just to put their minds at ease and break the embarrassing silence. Bafflement then turns to relief. 'Ah, he doesn't really think the UK is better than Australia' the relived Aussie thinks, 'it's just he wants to go there for a little while. He's coming back, so that shows he prefers it here.' Phew!
Or the alternative to this scenario is that the Aussie asks as soon as I've told them I am leaving 'Why??? don't you like it here?' They cannot even comprehend that I may really like it here but that I *still* want to leave. DOES NOT COMPUTE. BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. NOT A WHINGEING POM. STILL LEAVING. *&&(*%^&$(* *CRASH*
Their minds just cannot handle it - if I had said "No, I hate it here' I could have been filed away in the 'Whingeing Pom' category and they would have still been safe in the knowledge that Australia *IS* the best country in the world and those Brits who leave are simply whingeing poms, it's not US it's THEM.
Then comes the assumption. 'So you'll be back when it's time to raise children obviously' And why is it obvious exactly? 'Well, it's just a much better place to raise children.' Is it? Just because you spent 2 years in London living in a shared bedsit in Hackney so you could spend all your money getting wankered at The Church doesn't mean you have knowledge of what the rest of the UK is like. I was brought up in the UK, so were all your English friends. To my knowledge we haven't got an ASBO between us, thanks.
Then comes the criticism of the UK:
"It's so expensive to live there" - Coming from someone from a country where green beans (green beans!) are currently $13 a kilo
"The weather is shit" - Sure, we have rain. You know, that watery stuff that is essential to life. Besides, weather aint everything. We have good TV and cheap dr*gs.
and so it goes on.
The conversation inevitably ends in me soothing their bruised egos by assuring them that we are coming back and that our future children will not be raised in the dystopian hell that is England.
It is such a bizarre way to speak to someone who is embarking on an exciting adventure, is it not? Yeah, thanks for your hospitality and your best wishes for the future.
Pfffft bloody convicts.