This matter of right choices. (Auto-biography)

In summing up the choice to return to Australia from Holland was made spontaneously. Helvi was happy to stay but also happy to return. She has much less trouble with the perceived pros and cons of this country or that country. To ‘just get on’ is much more in her domain than mine. I mull and procrastinate and still make rash decisions. It seems an oxymoron.

The reasons given can be seen as both wise and unwise. Both countries have good and not so good qualities depending on personal likes or dislikes. To shine further light on what happened back in 1976 seems an exercise that might be futile and runs the risk of boring  the reader who could already be somewhat stretched in accepting this chain of indecisive events.

I do remember missing the good times with my extended family of brothers and sister with their spouses and their children in Australia. Another item not to be ignored was the lure of the bush. It is rather comforting to know you can just walk into the Australian bush  for days, never need meet another soul.  This makes for great therapy, but also great murder scenarios. Skeletons are sometimes discovered of people gone missing years before. Australia is even big enough for that! Some call it “Lebensraum”.

The sea of life is what we make of it and mulling over past events is what this exercise is all about. I write down what happened in the past, hopefully without invoking even more guilt or judgement. This is a luxury that I give to the readers. There is no greater naval gazing than writing memoires. The dressing up of calling it an Autobiography seems a bit haughty if not pretentious. It is not as if this writer is an Obama or the latest Pope! Even so, it is the best I can come up with in doing something useful. Apart from all that, it keeps me off the streets.

If I remember right we arrived back in Australia in the beginning of June 1976 and moved into our house around the beginning of August, coinciding with arrival of all our belongings. Those belongings were packed in Holland in two large wooden crates measuring together a bit over 17 cubic metres. I received a letter from Customs that the goods had arrived and that,  after inspection by custom officers, I could arrange to get them picked up and delivered to our house in Balmain.  The Custom letter also gave the sage advice to take a jemmy-bar to prise open the lids of the wooden crates.

After arrival at the depot it took about half-a-day to find the crates amongst thousands of other crates. It had Oosterman written on it and that was of some comfort. However, to open the lids proved difficult. Even to get on top of the crates was going to be very difficult, (sorry ‘challenging’). It was years later when the word ‘difficult’ was banned and changed into ‘challenge.’  The psychologists have a lot to answer for by making us believe that changing words around, somehow can make life easier. Later on  the word ‘challenge’ was primed up even further and has morphed into ‘solutions’.  We all know that after paying to get ourselves psycho-analysed we end up accepting there is nothing to life’s problems that can’t be overcome by using and finding ‘solutions’.  I wrote before about our local butcher selling ‘meat solutions.’  Huge trucks and road trains thunder along our highways with ‘logistics’ written on their tarpaulins, bringing ‘solutions’ all around our country.

A friendly truck-driver gave me a leg-up onto the top of the crate. How to open the lids allowing for Custom Officer inspection when standing on top of it? The logistics were challenging. The Custom Officer arrived and with help of the friendly truck driver managed to open the lids. He poked around a bit and wasn’t all that enthusiastic in looking for wood-worm or other possible infestations of bugs that Australia was very weary off. Most people that have ever flown into Australia might remember the Customs carnival going through the plane cross armed, after arrival in Australia, holding two spray cans above their heads and spraying the perplexed passengers still sweetly restrained sitting in their seats! All in an effort to safeguard Australia from nasty Foreign Overseas born flies  and insects. Of course, no country in the world suffers more from flies than Australia!

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22 Responses to “This matter of right choices. (Auto-biography)”

  1. Carrie Rubin Says:

    “you can just walk into the Australian bush for days, never need meet another soul.”—When I read that, I was thinking, “Ah, an introvert’s dream.” Until I read the next couple lines about murder and skeletons…:/

    Liked by 3 people

  2. M-R Says:

    Idiot ! – it ain’t flies, but creepy-crawlies we don’t yet have (or flying things, ditto). 🙂
    But Oz Customs have ever been thus, I suspect – laying down laws and then making it extremely diffic challenging to follow ’em.

    Like

  3. Dorothy brett Says:

    Gerard I think of it as your autobiography, and a very interesting one it is. I love your little insights and how you describe different experiences, and the changes in Australia over these years, even in the use of language.
    So keep on keeping on.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. gerard oosterman Says:

    Thanks Dot, No greater compliment coming from you. We are off to Queensland visit my sister and husband. How is the jetlag,?Venice and Keukenhof a fond memory?

    Like

  5. auntyuta Says:

    ” . . . going through the plane cross armed, after arrival in Australia, holding two spray cans above their heads and spraying the perplexed passengers still sweetly restrained sitting in their seats! . . . . . ”
    Gee, I remember this so well! When you have some fruit in your car, intending to cross the border into another state, do you deposit the fruit in a bin provided near the road when you drive to this other state within Australia?

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, I remember the border control when you had to open the boot of the car to show you had no fruit hidden. At dances you had to breath over the guard to prove you had not been drinking. The girls would put curlers in their hair before they went dancing. Friday nightwas curler night.

      Like

  6. elizabeth2560 Says:

    Welcome back!

    Like

  7. berlioz1935 Says:

    “Of course, no country in the world suffers more from flies than Australia!”

    They forgot the Aeroguard! They think fruit flies can’t fly across the borders, they only come with the luggage. Smart buggers those fruit flies, hitching rides.

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, even now during summer I eat at least four or five flies a day.

      Like

      • berlioz1935 Says:

        My mothe told me to always keep my mouth shut, so the flies won’t enter. She must have had the feeling that I would move to Australia one day.

        Like

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        The flies in summer were an important source of protein when we lived on the farm. It was a tough life. We always had netting around our faces when working outside. Even so, the flies would queue up and no sooner than when you lifted the netting they would get in and you would eat them up. It was the only way.
        The Australian accent evolved from fly eating. The mouth always clenched and as the flies would get in, your words, if any, would be allowed to get out and escape. ( but under protest).

        Liked by 1 person

  8. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    You have enriched my recall button regarding customs officials. They are the same all over the world–officious.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. bkpyett Says:

    Thanks for transporting me back in time. I returned to Tasmania from Europe in 1975. Love reading your story.

    Like

  10. Patti Kuche Says:

    A plethora of challenging situations!

    Like

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