So. I am living in Queensland, yes? Yes. And in theory, that means several things. Slower voices. Strange words like 'port' for suitcase. A sudden overwhelming urge to support the Reds in the Super 15s. Banana bending. (Just kidding, large mob of angry Queenslanders coming towards me with pitchforks). Endemic to where I am living, of course, lots and lots of fake tan, fake hair and fake boo- uh... body parts.
And I assumed, glorious, glorious warm weather. Sunshiny days. Mild evenings. A winter of blissful non-frostbitey 'ha-has' to my Southern sisters.
Yes. In theory... yes.
There is no denying that the people watching is amazing around these parts. It's a veritable smorgasbord of 'come as you are, or perhaps as you always wanted to be, but didn't have the guts to be anywhere else'. I feel bewilderingly normal, and thus stand out like a sore thumb, because I have no image. None. I need to develop one, but as everything I have seen so far involves heavy body inking, tandoori tanning, bleaching and/or inserting of silicone, it might take a while and involuntary anaesthesia before it happens.
As for the weather?
I arrived back home Sunday night from an unexpected weekend away, and it was, as our lovely pilot cheerfully informed us, eight degrees. Apparently the night before it had been four; the second coldest night in Gold Coast history.
This is not what I signed up for.
My ugg boots were supposed to stay firmly in the back of the wardrobe; I was only to pull my coat out of same wardrobe when going to more southerly climes - I actually gave away the more substantial layers of style that composed the House of Kate. Winter? Winter, to misquote A Game Of Thrones, was not coming.
Last night I actually had to put socks on. This will not do.
I would like Queensland to get its act together please, and turn on the sunlamps. OK, so I may be the palest person on the planet, and my skin tone may somewhat resemble a speckled trout's tummy, but that is beside the point; I like to feel warm whilst I am sitting in my straw hat and thirty plus. You can be sun smart and smugly happy at the same time.
You may well ask, as I have just spent the last zillion paragraphs whinging, where the gratitude is in this post.
It's quite simple really.
It may be a touch frostier than I was expecting up here in the not so sunshiney state, but when it comes down to it, I am massively lucky. Unlike a hell of a lot of Australians, I am sleeping in a lovely warm bed, and if I need to, I can grab as many extra covers as I want to put on said bed. I have, for that matter, a warm coat.
If you want to get down to brass tacks, I have socks.
Things are a bit rough for me health wise at present, and it has made me more than usually aware of a few things. Every time I think about what I don't have, I am constantly reminded of what I do have. It makes me feel humble, and grateful, and very, very thankful despite all of my groaning and moaning about feeling a slight chilliness in the air, and I know how trivial my complaints are compared to what so many people are facing on a day to day basis - simply trying to survive.
I don't wish to sound preachy, but if you are lucky enough to be a 'have' this winter, take a moment to be grateful, and think about the 'have nots' - and actively do something to help.
You may just find the sun will come out if you do.