Sometimes I like to joke that low expectations are the key to happiness. While this sounds cynical, I often find it to be true. My expectations for this Thanksgiving here were pretty low. I felt pangs of homesickness thinking of my family gathering at my parents’ house. Our family unit spent Thanksgiving on our own in Australia this year, so I thought it would be a little lonely. I thought it needed to be the same in order to be special, but I was mistaken. I think the differences are sometimes (or often) what make an occasion memorable.

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Swooping Season

Sometime last month, I started to notice bicyclists with strange, poky things sticking out of their helmets. I am not particularly observant of my surroundings, so who knows how long this has been going on around me. You know how once you learn or notice something new, you suddenly start to see it all the time? For instance, I did not know the word balaclava until fairly recently. If you’re like me and this word is not part of your lexicon, a balaclava is a ski cap-type hat that covers the whole face except for the mouth and eyes. In defense of my ignorance, I am from Texas, where balaclavas are not widely worn. And if you do see someone in a balaclava, you should probably be very afraid because you are probably about to be robbed. Anyway, so I learned the word balaclava. Then, as I was reading the Harry Potter books aloud to my daughter, I discovered that the word balaclava is used on several occasions. (Hagrid wears them.) I had read those books before, but must have glossed over a word I wasn’t familiar with. Once I learned what it meant, it stood out to me. But, I digress. Once I noticed the poky helmets, I starting noticing that almost everyone I saw on a bicycle had strange pointy things sticking out of their helmet.

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Today we’re going to take a little detour on the blog. Maybe next time I’ll tell you about how my ideal day out in Sydney includes a visit to the member’s lounge at the Maritime Museum with the senior citizens, or why I think that the magpie is the most terrifying creature around.

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