Sunday, September 26, 2004

A Macedonian Farewell

Our Macedonian friends are leaving Australia and heading back to Macedonia to try their luck. Yesterday they hosted a party full of Massos, Bosnians, Slovenians and Croations. Ok, there were a couple of Aussies and a Korean as well.

Attending parties like this with an open mind is one of the best experiences that you can imagine. These people have travelled far and wide, been involved in war, and had so many experiences in life - there is much that you can learn from them.

During one of the discussions with a Bosnian guy, he mentioned that he comes from a country of Muslims, his family are Muslims, and therefore he isn't supposed to drink beer or eat pork. But, these were activities that he partook in as he wanted to be friends with everyone. He said that you are stupid to have enemies. How true.

Other valid points that he made regarded Americans. He had seen their soldiers in the UN and they were hopeless. All they knew what to do was push buttons on big guns. They had no brains for fighting. This was coming from his experiences and so I couldn't argue with him. Well, the American soldiers aren't known for their brains, just their brawn. He also said that everybody has the same size arsehole. By showing them US dollars people in many countries had their arseholes get bigger. There is a sublime message their and he made the point that Australia wasn't in that position yet.

This man had many interesting things to say. Europeans were more carefree as they believed that a house was just for sleeping in. On the other hand, Australians work almost solely for their house. You can't be buried with your house can you? It was the work of the Australian government to put you into debt (the Australian dream of home ownership) and that kept you in check. It helps to maintain the gap between the rich and the poor. You had to work to pay off your debt and didn't have time to protest at the government's policies. Some very wise words.

Something else of note that he said, and that surprised me somewhat. For the first two years that he spent in Australia he couldn't understand anything that was going on around him due to the language barrier. Then he thought that he wanted to understand and so made the effort to make Australian friends. He found Aussies to be very helpful and understanding of his efforts to learn English and his Bosnian friends just made fun of him.

So many people at the party mentioned that Australia was the best country in the world to live in. And we Australians pay such high taxes but it is the price for the freedom that we enjoy. Pretty hard to argue with, don't you think?

Back to the farewell. Tears welled up in my eyes and so did a lump in my throat as I said my goodbyes. Our Macedonian friends are lovely people and it will be difficult to see them again. We were initially worried about maintaining contact when they bought their house and moved 20 kms away. Yu-Jin never forgot his best friend, Marko, and they have remained good friends. This will make it harder but I really hope they can maintain their friendship. Perhaps it will be the kickstart to Yu-Jin learning to write and garner an interest in geography. I guess investment in a Webcam isn't a stupid idea either. It is rare to make friends with such nice people and I don't want to cut the relationship.

Yu-Jin is pretty sad about it but he wants to go to Macedonia. I've told him to save his money and wait until he is six or seven years old. We need time to save money and get some holidays and it would be lovely to go.

There is another sad point - the loss of mutual friends. You know, those people whom you only see because they are friends of your friends but are nice people too. Contact with them will be severed. Bit like a divorce, I guess.

I wish them well. We all do.

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