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Thursday, July 30, 2015

my one-night stand with insomnia

It’s 12 a.m. and some other brightly lit numbers that I can’t read without my glasses on. Why didn’t I get Lasik back when people got Lasik? I only slept for two hours before my cough woke me up to have that regret. 

Another regret. Moving out of the country and telling people we’d only be gone two years almost five years ago. Does that make me a liar? Or an accidental liver? Not the organ but the other kind that isn’t a word.

Nobody wears Uggs out of their house in Australia. Not one body. I realized this when I wore mine out of my house when I first moved here and my new friend became a best friend when she reprimanded me with a raised eyebrow and a comment section.

She also taught me you can have ‘fashion trainers’ (sneakers) or regular ‘trainers’ (still sneakers) but you should never call a ‘jumper’ a ‘sweater.’

If I was at a dinner party and went to the bathroom, would anyone be alarmed if I never came back? Why isn’t anyone alarmed? It has been almost five years. Prom girls have babies in toilets. Snakes live in them.

My $8 supermarket mascara is $18 dollars here. When it goes on sale at Woolies for $16, I celebrate the savings and buy two.

I can’t sleep while my husband can do nothing else. I want to lean over his face and steal his dreams but my cough won’t let me. Maybe I have walking pneumonia even though I’m lying down. He doesn’t seem to care.

My ebay account here greets me with ‘G’day, Tiffany.’ I refuse to donate my Seven for Mankind bootleg jeans, because they were once so very expensive, but I will package them up and send them to you for just enough money to buy half a tube of Very Black.

Some people, my husband, think Facebook is a waste of time. I think not being on Facebook is a waste of time because can you imagine the amount of emails and phone calls it would take to find out who got Lasik or a new job or wrote a book or read a book or booked a holiday or if it rained or snowed or stopped raining or snowing all together and that kittens are cute without it? We all have to think of more creative birthday greetings though.

My family moved into a new house in October, ie. summer, only to find out it leaks when it rains. It rains a lot in the winter. It is now winter. G’day, winter.   

People don’t tip on this side of the planet. We once had this lovely brunch at this cafĂ© in Auckland and were compelled to leave some gold coins. This made our waiter chase us out to the car. He thought the tip we left on the table was forgotten money. We had to convince him with more words than necessary that it was on purpose and his to keep. And why.

I used to feel strange about not tipping and then I went to my first hair appointment. I left 20% happier than normal. And no one chased me to the car.

My American children know everything Australia. You can ask them anything about the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, rugby league vs. rugby union, Rabbit Proof Fence, the early settlers, Anzac Day, Prime Minister Toe-Knee-Ab-Butt (you have to point to the body parts when you say it), hot cross buns, metres, and mateship. But if you have a question about America, keep walking.

We live on a peninsula with water on three sides so there is one main street that runs through our neighborhood. We are on that thing exactly too many times a day. For our commute to school or bread or fruit or a glue stick. You cannot walk down that street without seeing every single person you know. This is where the mascara comes in.

The President of the United States was on television last month. My then seven-year old recognized him immediately: “Barack Obama!”

Me: “Do you know who he is?”

Seven did, “The President.”

“That’s right!” I was thrilled.

Until he added, “Of Australia.”

Less thrilled. “Well. He’s not the president of Australia...”

Seven nodded and adjusted his answer, “I know. He’s the President of the United States.”

“Yes!” said me.

“Of Australia!” said him, louder and wrong-er.

I worry about this night’s sleep, those five gyres of ocean garbage, if my cough is wet or dry, my pilot spec, what to make for dinner and then I remember we are going to another family’s house for dinner so I stop that one.

I think everyone should live out of the country. Because it is scary and amazing and you don’t have to tip, but also because you find people you didn’t know you were missing. I now have a collection. A collection I can no longer live without so when I move back to America three years ago, like I told everyone I would, I will somehow have to smuggle some very attractive, not middle-aged kidnapped ladies through customs.

I can’t decide if it’s my cough medicine or my cough that is keeping me awake so I vow to do neither again, and then mucus flies out of my face so I take another swig. I fall asleep right before my husband wakes me up for the day and tells me I have mascara smeared under my eyes.

Save my seat at the dinner party.

Our Darling Street in front of Woolie's
WITH our chalk birthday greeting to our friend Ava captured in front by Google Maps.
Thank you, Google Maps.