Coming off the plane in the “Land Down Under,” the differences between Australia and the States are quite apparent. Cars are driving on the wrong side of the road, everyone has an accent until the realization you have the weird accent, the green American paper dollars are traded in for strange, brightly-colored bills made of plastic and a bevy of tiny little coins that are somehow worth two dollars. Around you the animals are very different. Large white cockatoos soar through strange treetops, kangaroos hop around instead of deer, and you're told every animal you see can kill you. It is very different and a bit of a culture shock.
Then, as time passes Australia becomes more and more familiar. The history of Australia is that of white English settlers landing on a foreign land filled with indigenous people without a concept of land ownership. Strife and disease decimate the aboriginal population and the settlers begin claiming land. The settlers push westward in search of wealth and land for cattle and farms. Eventually, a country stretches from one side of the continent to the other. The world wars come and take many lives, depressions and booms occur, migrants from all over the world blend in a new melting pot creating a new fusion of culture. As one lays back on a rooftop patio relaxing with a local wine, the city skyline is filled with busy people working in tall skyscrapers. If one did not know this was Australia, he could easily think he was living in New York or Miami. Despite all the differences and culture shock, “Oz” has come to feel like home back in “The States.”