It has been 13 months since we moved to Brisbane but a day hasn’t gone by that we are not reminded about our time in the Midwest of the U.S.A. Mainly, it’s thanks to sports and of course, the undeniable connections we still hold with family (my husband’s parents) and our dear friends (who thanks to the beauty of social media, has made keeping in touch much easier). I know for a fact that we will always have a connection to Missouri beyond our family and friends and our beloved sport teams.
It is in the Midwest that we made the commitment to one another (our marriage license was granted to us by Boone County and we got married at the Newman Center on the University of Missouri’s campus). We built our first home on the best name street I’ve ever had the pleasure of living on (Funderburg Mill Drive – I mean, come on, the word FUN is in it). The Midwest taught me how embrace my community and all that it has to offer. Midwesterners are the most generous and accommodating people. It is in Mid-Missouri where I truly started my career. I was given a chance to build on my confidence (and we all know that Americans in general are the most confident group of people you’ll ever meet) and go after what I want and share what I have to offer.
So really, spending six years in the Midwest gave us much more beyond our unbridled support for the Tigers, the Cardinals, the Chiefs and the Cougars. Since the best way to show your affinity for ones favorite place is through shirts, hats, etc, we can’t help but wear our Missourian gear all around Brisbane. Partly we’re hoping that one of these days we’ll get stopped by fellow Midwesterners – we always enjoy when that happens.
Call me crazy, but I miss snowstorms. All this talk about #blizzardof2015 has got me reminiscing about six year’s worth of Missouri snow days. There was something so calming and soothing about watching the snow fall, the drifts and watching the snow come towards you on a windy, snowy evening. The novelty wears off rather quickly only when things get icy and you have no choice but to drive in those treacherous conditions. But once again, all is forgotten when a beautiful snow fall comes through and blankets the roads, the trees and surrounds all over again. It’s one of those experiences that doesn’t compare to what you see in the movies or view via photos. I highly recommend it.
I love greeting cards. Sending them, receiving them, picking them out and even just perusing through them when I’m trying to kill some time at the store. I love the sentimental ones as much as the humorous ones and everything in between. During the six years we lived in the U.S., I kept Hallmark in business because I had over 20 family members living back here in Australia who celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, engagements, weddings, etc. Any and every chance I had, I would send a card – just for the heck of sending a card. I love a good witty card and I am of the belief that Hallmark makes the best kind.
It just happens, Hallmark is headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri and I had the pleasure of visiting their Hallmark Visitors Center in KC many times while living in Missouri. I remember getting giddy over the free bow maker they had at the center along with all the memorabilia and the dozen or so Hallmark decorated Christmas trees they had on display. Kid in a candy store, I was. Then we got a different doze of Hallmark right across the road at the Crown Center with the best Crayola store known to mankind, a Hallmark store on steroids and one time they had a wonderful Wizard of Oz exhibit.
I miss Fall colors. I miss October in Columbia. The changing foliage, the mention of pumpkin spice everything (despite not being really fond of pumpkin spice), going to Shyrock’s Corn Maze and decorating with large orange pumpkins around the home. The anticipation for Thanksgiving is building, but not before getting Halloween out of the way first. Then there’s Mizzou Homecoming, football games, World Series games. Mornings are getting cooler with the need for a cardigan and tights to work. Summer is but a distant memory. Some folks might even be looking forward to the “white stuff”.
Perhaps one day we will once again reside in a place that will create such a spectacular season. Maybe perhaps Brisbane will surprise us and give us its own Autumn brilliance later this year. But for now, I will live vicariously through our Missouri friends and equally enjoy our opposite weather here in Brisbane.
Sending Mark Twain a letter*
I am a member of a handful of Aussie-based American expats groups on Facebook and whenever the question of “What do you miss most about living in America?” comes up, one of the first answers always mentions how much they miss mail pick-up right from your mailbox. I’d have to admit that it’s not the first thing that comes to mind for me, but once somebody else mentions it I definitely (virtually) nod in agreement.
The luxury of having the mail carrier person picking up your mail is most definitely something one takes for granted. You only realize how good you had it when you’re left to either drive to the post office to drop off your mail or find a red postal box close to your home.
Luckily, Australia Post mailboxes are everywhere
I do miss the convenience and ease of sending mail. But most of all, I miss putting up the red little flag on the mailbox whenever I had outgoing mail. It was a cute way to let your trusty mail carrier person know to come by your box. It’s was a bright little reminder.
Wait a minute, Mr. Postman
*This photo was taken in Hannibal, Missouri during one of the last local road trips we had a chance to take before moving to Australia. Hannibal is best known as the boyhood home of author Mark Twain. The town has done a beautiful job showcasing its Mark Twain connection and we had such an enjoyable day trip there one cold April afternoon.