The last week was a little rough for me. For the first time in Australia, I got sick. I came down with a cold/flu sort of thing for several days. It was being passed around my college pretty quickly and I knew I would get it. As my college is a fairly close knit group of 500 uni students living in close quarters and spending the majority of their time together, things obviously spread quickly (think of the Thurston flu).
But after a few days I improved, and it was only necessary to take one sick day at work. My illness was further improved by the opportunity to spend two relaxing amazing days at the beach this last weekend. Despite being winter in Canberra, it was a sunny 75 degrees at the beach both days which was perfect for hiking and having a bonfire. It was a little chilly at night, but so worth it for the experience of sleeping under the stars on the beach in Australia.
During my time here, I have yet to find something better than sleeping under the Australian stars on the beach listening to the waves crashing in. Stars in Australia are pretty special, due to the fact that the ozone layer is much thinner over Australia than the rest of the world. While this can easily lead to a sunburn (or a nice tan) during the day, at night it allows millions of stars to shine through in a way that is not even possible in America. Added to that, is the experience of different stars from back home. For example, there is the Southern Cross, but no Northern Star, and Orion is upside down! It was also really weird to return to campus from two days at the beach and run into friends as they arrived back from a two day trip to the mountains and skiing.
As I am sure is interesting to nearly all GW students (seeing as we retook the honour of most politically active campus), Australia has an election coming up, and it sure is different than an American election. For starters, the election is not held on the same date all the time. Actually, it’s not even held every three or four years. It just has to be somewhere within that timeframe and the party in power gets to decide when they want it to be. Once the date is decided, Australians have about a month to enrol to vote, change their registration, or whatever else they need to do to ensure they are not fined for not voting under Australia’s compulsory voting laws. Also, instead of voting for a person to be prime minister, you vote for a party, the leaders of which then get to decide the prime minister. Sounds alright, except that they are allowed to change who the prime minister is whenever they want, as happened about a month ago. One day, they just decided they were sick of the prime minister and replaced her with a new one.
If that isn’t absurd politics then I don’t know what is. Just after writing this one of my friends showed me a piece of brilliance by John Stewart that really sums it all up quite well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xx9eH3qOJXw