Well, the blog starved while we were away in North America, but now we're back in Oz, and back in our own life, and the postings will resume their earlier pace.
We found Pelagic in great shape after sitting for seven weeks unattended at someone's dock in Mooloolaba. We've re-entered the emotionally close lifestyle that we get to enjoy as the result of living in a little space with a Little Person, without the saving grace of a door to close behind ourselves every now and again. And finally, finally, we're starting the trip north to the Great Barrier Reef tomorrow.
I admit that I felt a little trepidation as we returned to Oz. Keeping everything going on the boat is such an unending struggle, and it's a little weird to be sitting on the anchor so much lately instead of sailing across an ocean, and the part of Queensland we've been in is so unappealing.
But it's been great to be on the boat again. And I've noticed that even in soulless Mooloolaba the sky is much more dramatic than in the U.S., and the light is much more beautiful. I think it must be because the air is cleaner in the southern hemisphere.
Our trip back to the States was all about seeing family, and we had a GREAT time doing that. But apart from the family visit, I also had a few neat insights during our time in the Lower 48. One was how nice it was to occasionally hear Alisa blurt out, "This place sucks!" as we were driving around some sprawled-out, generic town where the public space was dominated by the same corporate edifices that you find everywhere else in America. Usually I'm the one who voices strong opinions about things like that, so it was nice to let her say how ugly and pointless were some of the places where we found ourselves (no offense to our loved ones who might live in those places). Disagreement over what constitutes a good place to live can be one of the hardest things in a marriage, and I'm happy that Alisa and I seem to be in such perfect agreement on that score.
Another neat insight was the way that people tend to aggregate with others of their ilk in particular places. For instance, American men with bad toupees seem to gather in airports. And Put-in-Bay, Ohio, a little town on an island in Lake Erie where we spent a delightful day with Alisa's fam, attracts fat people. I had gotten used to thinking of Australians as being a little chubby and out of shape, but that's nothing compared to how big an average American on summer vacation at Put-in-Bay can be. No offense to anyone, of course, but I started wondering about the implications for the future of the nation - as people get less healthy, they work less during a lifetime, and their health care becomes more expensive, and it all has to add up somewhere...
I recently read an article about how American parents no longer teach their little kids nursery rhymes, but instead teach them pop songs and TV theme songs and advertising songs. When I read the article I thought that change sounded like the natural outcome of change in the society, and not necessarily a bad thing. But (neat insight!) seeing the cultural diet of some American kids for myself changed my mind. I came up with the phrase "culturally polluted" to describe the phemomenon of little kids who are full of age-innapropriate pop art. Again, no offense to anyone whose five year old might know the words to "Gin and Juice", and I'm sure they'll all turn out to be happy, productive adults. But the little kids that we know in Iluka are so innocent by comparison. And that innocence seems so important.
Hmmm. There were some other neat insights, but I guess the gist of them is that after seven weeks of house-living back in the home country, I'm really really glad that we're sailing now, at the prime of our lives, and not still dreaming about it.