Round the Town from Down Under

When guests come to town, I usually take them to the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, especially when it's below freezing and there's snow on the ground. Here two of my Australian guests check out the acoustic furniture in a special exhibition in the Bloch Building.

Sure, snow is pretty, but the thrill quickly wears off when frost bite sets in. When it's snowy, sleety and frigid, what are you going to do with guests who don't know what real winter is? I took them to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, where the temperatures are balmy. Here two of my Australian guests check out the acoustic furniture on a curving floor in a special exhibition in the Bloch Building. In the foreground is Michael Cross' work, "Flood," which features light bulbs and brightly colored cables in vases of water. (Kids, don't try this at home!)

It was a dreary, cold, snowy night when we picked up our Australian guests from the airport in late December. To us locals, the snow was a nuisance, but our guests thought it was beautiful, like fairy dust, fluffy and bright.   (It was soon dirty and crusty…)

The first night, the boys raced through the snow in the dark with a flashlight, making tracks.   We’d gotten rid of our sleds long ago (probably in some garage sale for nothing!), but the next morning, the youngest boy found a piece of cardboard and “snowboarded” down a hill several times.  

Squirrels were fascinating creatures. Cardinals and woodpeckers were exotic.   It was wonderful to see the world with a new perspective.   When I drove them around, I pointed out what I knew.  They also asked me plenty of questions I didn’t know the answer to, so I spent some time online when we got home learning more about my own city.

We spoke the same language, yet we didn’t quite.  Jumper, biscuit, council, fringe, bum.  Familiar words, but with different meanings from American English. I’ve watched enough Masterpiece Theater that I knew what they were talking about, though.   Thanks, PBS!  New to me is bushwalking, which means hiking.

In Australia, they are surrounded by birds we only see in cages, such as lorikeets and parrots.  There are marsupials everywhere, while we have only one — the opossum.  They have mandatory voting and are fined if they don’t vote.

The Liberty Memorial is so tall you can't see the top!

The Liberty Memorial is so tall you can't see the top!

They checked regularly online for the cricket scores.  There was a  big game in Perth, Australia, against South Africa.  Australia’s national cricket team is the highest ranked in the world.  Cricket is played in a hundred countries.  High-level “Test cricket” games can last up to five days with time outs for lunch and tea. I still don’t understand American football, so I can’t begin to explain cricket.  All I know is that they use bats and wickets, and that one of the incarnations of Dr. Who wore a cricket uniform.

We visited the National World War I Museum underneath the Liberty Memorial.  Again, I saw the world through a different perspective.   Their visit lasted too short a time. The next time I hope they can see our city in the summer.   Soon I’ll be seeing the world from their point of view (and be a lot warmer, too) when we visit them in January.

What is Cricket?

What is Australian English?

National World War I Museum

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

 

Our young guest from Sydney, Australia, contemplates the snowy view.   Beyond, Auguste Rodin's "The Thinker" ponders the giant shuttlecocks that seemed to have landed on the snow in front of the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art.

Our young guest from Sydney, Australia, contemplates the snowy view. Beyond, Auguste Rodin's "The Thinker" ponders the giant shuttlecocks that seemed to have landed on the snow in front of the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art.

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3 Comments

Filed under Art, Friendship, Humor, Kansas City, Life, Photography, Random, Relationships, Sports, Travel

3 responses to “Round the Town from Down Under

  1. Nuisance or not, we Albertans learn to live with it every single day, especially this past two weeks, we’ve been having minus 20 temp. (C. not F., but not much difference). This is going to be a rare white Christmas for all Canadians we’re told, snowing from coast to coast.

    Wish you have a joyous Christmas Cathy, snow or not, and a wonderful 2009 of more meaningful reading!

    Thanks, Arti, I’m wrapped in a blanket right now. My computer mouse is like an ice cube! My book club Christmas party was postponed because of snow, so I couldn’t attend because I was picking up the Australians from the airport on the new date. The snow was just a couple of inches, but people were all freaked out. I was so disappointed. We exchange small gifts. I did finally get mine, but it’s not the same opening them by yourself. By January, we won’t think anything of a mere three inches. Right now, the streets are covered with a thin sheet of ice, which is worse, I think.

    I have our book club’s reading list for 2009, which I’ll post on http://www.blatherblog.wordpress.com in a couple of days. Happy reading to you, stay warm and Merry Christmas, too!

  2. alwaysjan

    When our friends from England visited California last summer, I loved all their linguistic diversions. Some were British, others no doubt from Suffolk.
    I’d never heard the expression “bits and pieces” used in so many contexts. Leftovers or odds & ends were all “bits and pieces.” (Following that line of logic, I think it’s fair to say that Frankenstein was made up of “bits and pieces.” What they enjoyed most though was “sitting out in the garden,” which we just call the patio. They made it sound downright glamorous!

  3. It sounds like you showed them a grand time! Lucky friends. I agree the snow can be so underwhelming but it is so pretty when it is falling like big powder puffs from the sky and glistens in the sunlight so pretty like tiny fairy diamonds. Just think….its only the start of winter! We still have Feb to contend with…Ha!!!

    Our Australian friends are in Chicago now, where they are getting their fill of snow!!! That’ll teach’em to visit here in the winter. I hope they did have a good time here. I’m planning to send them a virtual trip of what it would have been like to come here during the other three months — apple blossoms, butterflies, hummingbirds, pumpkins on the vine. Yes, it’s so true that snow can be beautiful, especially when you don’t have to go anywhere and can enjoy it from your window. Happy holidays!

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