Last week, instead of posting, I was snorkeling on a beach on an island off the coast of Perth. I could use the excuse of no Internet access for not posting, which is true, but mainly I just didn’t want to spend one second in front of a computer when I could spend it gazing out at the Indian Ocean. I am sure you agree I made the right choice.
I’ve been to Australia twice before, but both times were ages ago, before kids, when I didn’t really notice anything going on around me. This time, I went to visit friends with little babies. Which reminded me how hard it is to have little babies. The lingering smell of bodily fluids on every surface. The mucky milk bottles haunting the sink. Squeezing your day’s plans in between nap times. Good thing they are so damn cute.
So here’s some things I learned while in Oz:
1) Birds sound completely different there. They look like American and European birds, but then they open their little beaks and you are not in Kansas anymore.
2) Women have paid time off to raise babies. Like LOTS of time. One friend I was visiting had been off for three years raising her now 3-year-old girl and 8 month old boy. Her career is still there, waiting for her, when she goes back in another year. To a teaching career. Wild.
3) MEN HAVE TIME OFF TO RAISE BABIES. Another friend was alternating time off with his wife so each could have six months off with the baby. And he was being paid to do so. CRAZY.
4) They have “baby care rooms” in public places stocked with a large changing table, appropriate bins for nappies, wipes and other baby detritus, a grown-up and toddler size toilet in one stall, hot and cold water, room for a stroller, a comfortable seat and a microwave. If you have a kid, you totally get how absolutely amazing that is, and you hate America for not emulating this. Seriously, parents have to use more of their political power to get these implemented. I am annoyed I didn’t take a good photo.
5) It is really, really far away. Like REALLY far. Unless you live there, of course.
This week, I plan to rejuvenate my political aspirations. I have a few ideas, but I have to admit that I am foundering a little. The problems I see are just so big, and I feel so small. I am still compelled to enter the race, which is a good sign. Especially when people like Warren Buffett write articles like this which make me think I need to get a move on. But overall, after joining every political group known to humankind and sifting through 20 e-blasts a day detailing our current political climate and attending bill hearings in Olympia, I still have no idea where I belong. I am loathe to waste my or anyone else’s time by channeling my energies down the wrong path, so I am just standing here at the top of an impossible hill…gathering information.
It seems as good a time as ever to quote Shakespeare’s Hamlet: “My thoughts be bloody or be nothing worth!” Only I don’t plan to kill anyone…just trying to stoke up some resolve here. Ideas?