Tuesday, January 4, 2011


We've discovered some unexpected flotsam on our trips to the beach here.

Flotsam, as in: 

1.the part of the wreckage of a ship and its cargo found floating on the water. Compare jetsam, lagan.

2. material or refuse floating on water.

3.useless or unimportant items; odds and ends.

4.a vagrant, penniless population: the flotsam of the city slums in medieval Europe

(taken from dictionary.com)

While I don't think of us as useless or unimportant, vagrant population fits and I like that concept of odds and ends.

And it fits better than jetsam, which as it turns out is: goods cast overboard deliberately, as to lighten a vessel or improve its stability in an emergency, which sink where jettisoned or are washed ashore. (also from dictionary.com)

Our being here is chance and good fortune, nothing deliberate about it.

The flotsam that finds its way to us, as kindred spirits with familiar accents, are other American-Australians. (African-American-Australian, Irish-American-Australian, German-American-Australian; the most important part being the Australian.) Turns out we are part of a once-unknown species that may be more prevalent in Australia than previously supposed. It's hard to tell. We're pretty scattered. We breed with the local population. (In fact, that seems to be what got most of us over here in the first place!) But more than that, we love it here so much, that we don't make waves.

If you look closely, you might be able to pick us apart from the other Australians by our goofy grins of disbelief. We just can't believe we're here. We just can't believe how lucky we are and how good we have it. (We're the ones who cry during the national anthem and take pictures of the flag.)

We do tend to cluster in small groups and exchange phone numbers. If you listen closely (and can understand our accent) you'll hear us talk about things other Australians take for granted. ''And the schools, can you believe how good the schools are?'' ''Oh yeah, it's way better for raising kids than back in the U.S.'' (And no, I haven't heard ANY of us refer to it as 'back home.' More like, 'back there'.) And, of course, ''yeah, the Australians are unbelievable. So friendly. So laid back.''

General consensus of this flotsam is that we ended up in the right place.

''Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.''

Who would have thought we'd find the American dream?

Right here in Australia. 

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