I am almost thirty and yesterday was my first Christmas without mom and dad. Kate is in the same boat. Somehow, it seems like this should have happened sooner. Maybe thirty is not that old, or maybe we grew up slower than most, or we are just lucky. In any case, it has highlighted the only real problem that we have with living in Australia: a lack of family. Brisbane is incredible, the weather is unfair, the laid-back lifestyle and spectacular scenery in Queensland would make any sane man contemplate staying for good. Plus we constantly meet great people who are very good to us. Here’s why I won’t stay: because Canada is also a good place to live, and because a Christmas phone call to parents and siblings is just not good enough. That would be even more true if I was here alone, or if Kate and I had children.
So... family is important. Family is good. Duh.
Our genes program our little brains to love our close-relatives and we produce hormones that create a strong urge to take care of those we care about. Biology is neither good nor bad, the hormones exist because our relatives share our genes and thus it is best for our genes to help their genes survive. Sure that sounds crude but it works for elephants, penguins, ants, and people. But an understanding of this changes nothing.
We have just been told that Kate’s dad is going to visit us for a few weeks in May. From the minute she heard this news, Kate has been planning every detail of his stay here. It was instant motivation and I know of few things more impressive or capable than a motivated woman. Ken will have a great visit and we're thrilled that he is coming.
Oh, and friends are family! The biology goes as follows: an old friend and a distant relative might as well be the same thing because we evolved in an environment in which all close friends were likely related. This could go without saying but when I say family, I include the many non-related family members that we would have loved to see this holiday season. Anyway, I didn’t really intend to rant today, enough thinking. And I also don't mean to complain. We have countless reasons to enjoy our Christmas in Aussie Land. Here are some pics of how it all went down:
We decided to treat ourselves to a brief holiday in an isolated little rainforest cabin before christmas.
Many years ago in Kingston Kate and I watched a young couple get out of a mini-van and put on matching brightly-coloured full track-suits and matching roller-blades (and wrist guards) and skate away together down the path by the lake. We promised ourselves that day not to become that couple. Avoid matching outfits at all cost. So how did this happen?
We also had time to do some hiking (the Mohican's shot from earlier) and to see the sights in and around the beautiful town of Montville.
Then a quiet Christmas eve and morning at home by ourselves. Rather than a tree, we got a bird with a hat. Here's Kate on Christmas morning on our balcony.
And we also had a big turkey to eat courtesy of our friend Connor (an Irish chemist). He put this Christmas dinner together for a mix of his family-less friends in Brizzy.