What will resonate the longest with me when my time Down Under comes to an end is the deep optimism present in Australian culture. And optimistic doesn't completely capture it. It is a temperedness, a nearly tangible authenticity, a nonchalant attitude that never dips into negligence. They take things at face value and rarely suspect dishonesty (sarcasm doesn't really have a place in their humor). It is a culture nearly void of insincerity.
There is plenty of ambition here. Australians are hard workers—focused, reliable, and competent. This permanent cheer I'm referring to does not negatively affect their productivity. Instead, it is like a light blanket that drapes over this continent and compliments every aspect of life. It is something that is so innate to these people that I don't think they are aware of an alternative way to function.
This is mostly manifested in a very subtle ways. If you're looking for it, you'll notice it in their body language, behavior, social attitude, and even in their diction. It's a mindset and a lifestyle that has made this deep-breath of a culture one of the most pleasurable places to live.
An example from work: If someone must leave early or needs an extra day on this assignment or that project, barring an immediate deadline, there is no reason for anyone to object. It goes without saying that whatever you state is done so without deception. (Again, I have put myself in very uncomfortable situations by thinking they'll understand sarcasm).
Now, 90% of Australia live along its coasts and this has created a beach culture. Although a beach culture generally produces an outdoor-centric, Vitamin D-enriched community where smiles are more common than not (probably a big factor in my whole point here), it also inevitably creates bros. You know what I mean. The are most certainly bros in Australia. And in particular circumstances, when these bros are around other bros, blood starts to boil. Australians are not immune to irrational emotion and aggression, and I have witnessed their usual passivity challenged right in front of me. But the difference here is honesty. There is no fluff. There is no deceit. It is, even in circumstances where there is anger, truthful. Feelings are laid out free of misinterpretation. I sincerely don't mean for this to sound condescending, but in circumstances like the one I've just described, the way Australians communicate reminds me of children. It is plain, and they're unafraid to call a spade a spade. "You did this and this is why that makes me mad." If violence or an argument ensues, then so be it. But there is so sense in sacrificing decency to prove a point.
(Note: I have not put forth serious effort in understanding Australian politics, but I figure politicians are politicians no matter their longitude. Perhaps they will get a pass from my argument. But in terms of general cultural behavior, there is an attitude towards life and living Down Under that is inspiring.)
Modern Australians are descendants of British criminals. How this happened over the course of 200 years is beyond me. Perhaps this attitude is the reason that although the history of the United States and Australia are strikingly similar, we have created a much larger global footprint. And that's not necessarily a good thing.
I am not here to trace cause and effect. I am simply stating facts. And a marvelous fact it is.