One of my current units at UWA is called Indigenous People and Social Work. Indigenous studies is a very important topic in Australia and so it is no surprise that this is one of our first units. I feel like everything I previously learned and read about the Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander communities is now being reinforced, expanded and given a new Social Work perspective. I hope that by the end of this unit I will begin to see my knowledge deepen beyond a superficial understanding. A documentary that was recommended to us is Putuparri and the Rainmakers. I’m not sure how you would get ahold of it in the US but in Australia you can stream it through SBS On Demand. This documentary talks about Aboriginal culture, history, land rights, the law and so much more. It is yet another perspective and another group of voices to add to my understanding and appreciation for Aboriginal life, history and culture.
Perth International Arts Festival opened this weekend with an amazing light show through Kings Park. Boorna Waanginy: The Trees Speak explored the Australian landscape through lights music and story telling.
The pictures from my phone don’t do it any justice. But it was pretty spectacular even with the crowds of other people surrounding us. Just listening to the music was mesmerizing. Another wonderful free Perth event was a great way to end the weekend.
Paradox is the right word to use when discussing the relationships to leaders and views of leadership in Australia. This “lucky country” has an interesting history that has fed into these paradoxes of leadership and authority. I’m thankful for this book to help navigate some of the unspoken rules and general assumptions that a typical Australian wouldn’t question or think twice about. But this book isn’t just for outsiders seeking to understand the system. This book is a great read for Australians who want to unpack what may be obvious in regards to Australian leadership but also what sits, often hidden, beneath the surface.
The Australian Leadership Paradox: What it Takes to Lead in the Lucky Country by Geoff Aigner and Liz Skelton walks the line between critique and advice very well. More than just stating the paradoxes themselves, they begin to tease out the why behind them. And they also give examples of how Australian leadership can and should change for the better. These examples are in the form of short stories which give context and I believe make them easily relatable as well. Anyone who has ever struggled in a position of leadership in Australia could potentially find their story here. And in finding their story, hopefully see how they could be empowered to change their leadership style for the better without losing some of the great things about being Australian.
This book is primarily talking to Australians about Australians and for that it speaks very well. For me personally I will have to do my best to apply this knowledge appropriately because so far my interactions in Perth have been with very few Australians. In the past month, I have met more immigrants or children of immigrants than anyone else. This is maybe my own personal paradox, coming to Australia, seeking to know and understand Australians. But instead of being surrounded by primarily born and raised, multi-generational Australians, I’m surrounded by an amazingly multinational, multiethnic community. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but my own definitions of what it means to be Australian are definitely being expanded.
We see what’s happening from our balcony, as the grass between us and the Swan River is slowly being transformed for tomorrow’s event. Our place will be the hub for our team to come and be a part of this Australian tradition because we’ll have a great view of the fireworks and we’re right on top of all the action.Perth is preparing for Australia Day. For all you Americans, think Columbus Day with celebrations like the 4th of July. But just like Columbus Day is drawing criticism because it tends to ignore the people the land originally belonged to, Australia Day also has critics. The city of Fremantle no longer has an Australia Day celebration and for my understanding of why, you can read my blog post from 2013: Australia Day also known as Invasion Day.Observing and participating in these celebrations are part of us getting to know Australia, history and all. And so we watch as the lawn below us turns into a carnival and a gathering place. And tomorrow we’ll take part in the sausage sizzle, maybe some of the games and then a group of us will gather in our apartment and watch the fireworks. Not a bad way to celebrate us being here in Australia together on our first Australia Day.
There are many different ways to learn about a city. Sometimes you need a local guide to talk about why certain things are the way they are and to point out places or things that you might otherwise overlook. Ryan and I decided to try out a local tour that seemed interesting and it turned out to be well worth our time and money. If you come and visit us, we’ll probably send you on this tour too. (Check it out: Oh Hey WA!) It was a great way to see the heart of the city, hear about local history, art, food and the future of what’s happening as well.
From the oldest building in Perth to the current revitalization of buildings in the city. We were introduced to all the basics and then some. This tour answered some of the questions I had about spaces I was seeing in the city as well as asked me to look up, down and around some corners that I wouldn’t have otherwise noticed.
The street art in Perth is pretty amazing, especially if you know where to look. And when the tour guide mentioned two different pizza places in the city, she had Ryan’s attention. One spot even has half priced pizzas on Wednesdays. I know where we’re eating soon!
We also were introduced to some of the buildings and art installations that light up in the city. This has inspired us to take more evening walks. I’m hoping that those walks will lead us to a couple of the cool bars that our guide also mentioned. Evidently there use to be no nightlife in the city but recently bars and restaurants have been opening up and making their mark. After 5 o’clock there is a reason to be downtown now.
One thing I have noticed before was the mix of old and new in the city. This tour just emphasized that this juxtaposition is the result of a lot of intentional work and planning. And of course, I loved being introduced to some of the Noongar (aboriginal art) that can also be found around the city. This was a wonderful way to spend our morning and now we have even more ideas of how to explore and enjoy this great city.
December 7th will always be a day that will live in infamy. But this doesn’t mean that it can’t be redeemed on a more personal level. Today is also the day Ryan proposed to me 3 years ago. And now 3 years later we have our tickets and are headed to Perth together. If you want to look back and see, Perth was always the intended plan (Here’s the Plan) even if we were holding it rather loosely and praying, a lot.I’m so thankful for this man, our families and all our other friends and supporters who have been with us along the way. Life is a crazy journey. I’m also abundantly thankful for the faithfulness of Jesus who gives us much needed grace and mercy to keep moving forward. Ryan and I will celebrate 3 years of marriage this February in Perth. And to think it all started with an online date, a kangaroo and a ring.
Thanks to a post from a teammate in Perth, we found this gem of a video. If anyone was wondering, “Why did we choose Perth?” this is not the answer. If you watch this video, in under 3 minutes, you will smile, maybe tap your toes a bit and if you’re lucky, have a catchy tune stuck in your head for the day. Enjoy!