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Journals from James Cook University, Australia

2013-06-11 5/8 - Life should be enjoyed

May 08, 2013

Life should be enjoyed

When I first arrived here, nothing seemed drastically different than home. Of course, there were small things like getting used to understanding thick Australian accents, understanding their lingo and slang, learning their currency, etc. But I never experienced the culture shock that I was prepared to face – which I suppose is probably a good thing. It seemed to save me grief and allowed me to jump right in and start enjoying my time abroad! But after being here for a couple of months and learning all the little things there are to learn, taking in all the scenery, and getting used to life here, it has occurred to me that while Cairns might not instantaneously seem different from home – at this point I’m not sure it could be anymore unlike the Portland area.

I arrived here and saw green. That’s all I saw when I looked around – green mountains, green valleys, green fields, green trees, green plants, green grass, green sugar cane, etc. and of course, it reminded me of home. I got here during the rainy season when it rained everyday so of course, it reminded me of home. Downtown Cairns has a great nightlife and it’s somewhere I enjoy spending time so of course, it reminded me of home. I had in my head that Cairns was a place very similar to where I came from in just about all aspects. While it might be true on a small scale, looking at the broader picture made me realize that I am in a completely different place. Cairns and Portland might be similar, but Australia and America are polar opposites.  

Australia has a laid back lifestyle; there is no rush, no hurry. It seems as though the majority of people here are truly enjoying themselves and the things they chose to do. If they spend a day on the beach, they enjoy relaxing. If they spend a day working at home, they enjoy the tasks they work on. If they spend a day at work, they enjoy doing what they do for a living. They take time to do the things they want to do and the things that they enjoy; why race through something that makes you happy? Cairns doesn’t have any drive-thru coffee shops or espresso stands. Instead, they take the time to go inside, sit down for a while, and consume their beverage. People still make time for that here. Back at home – you get to choose from several different Starbucks, Dutch Bros, Twin Perks, and privately owned espresso stands within a 2 mile radius. Americans no longer have the time to sit down and enjoy a simple cup of coffee or muffin because we are in such a hurry. We live in a time where schedules are packed full of activities and fast food seems to be the only option for meals. America is not a laid back society; we thrive on greed, money, power and wealth. We spend countless hours a week working jobs we don’t enjoy just to make money. And that….that is a sad state of affair.

So while I’m here – I’m going to truly enjoy what I’m doing, no matter what. After all, life should be enjoyed…not just lived.

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