My first full days in Australia resulted in significantly more culture shock than expected.
For some reason odd reason, I chose to spend my first few hours after landing in Brisbane at the massive Indooroopilly Shopping Centre (which admittedly was a questionable choice), where it took just about every ounce of energy in me not to giggle hysterically and/or run into random passers-by as I dumbfoundedly stumbled through the mall.
Immediately following 9 weeks in generally rural Fiji, everything seemed just too… nice. And shiny.
I found myself initially thinking there were far too many shop and restaurant options. And why does this mall have freaking chandeliers; don’t they know there are children out there who need new classrooms built and island communities desperately in need of cyclone repair!?
Mild yet striking discrepancies between certain retail stores here in Australia and those back in the States, such as a simple change of font in the ‘Target’ logo, sent me into a remarkably bewildered temperament.
Relatively speaking, Brisbane isn’t even that big of a metropolitan area (although at least twice the size of my home city of Denver), but enormously urban compared to pretty much everything in Fiji.
Albeit being a very very nice, frankly, Indooroopilly felt uncomfortably suburban.
Prior to Fiji, I lived in the city, where no one really seems to care what you do so long as you don’t bother anyone else. Folks in Indooroopilly did seem to take slight notice to my disoriented nature (not at all suggesting that suburban-dwellers are cold-hearted, but perhaps just a tad overly observant!).
Finally, I decided all I could do was sit in the corner of the mall’s Pig ‘N’ Whistle restaurant (which I later found out is a chain), where I marveled at the immense beer selection on tap and ultimately ended up quite tipsy embarrassingly early in the evening. It was all I could handle before Uber-ing back to my Airbnb for a long, long sleep.