It’s Australia Day, yeeha! But what exactly does that mean…to me?
Hmmm, I don’t ever remember celebrating Australia Day as a kid, although I do remember having to dress up for it once in primary school. I went as an early settler lady with a basket and long skirt while my little brother went as a convict with torn denim jeans, red mud on his face, holding half a french stick loaf and the dog chain wrapped across his chest. But I don’t remember family parties or getting crazy about lamb chops or floating on huge inflatable thongs in the surf.
We didn’t cover ourselves in Australia flag tattoos or wear thongs with pretend grass on the sole…anyway thongs back then were double pluggers or nothing. We didn’t attach flags to our cars or dress up our dogs like koala bears. At school during ‘Social Studies’ lesson we traced maps of Australia and shaded them in using pencil sharpening for effect. We learned about Captain James Cook who was partial to a wig and a waistcoat and liked to point his gun and look through his telescope at the Aborigines who liked spears but didn’t like wearing pants…or underwear. We learned about the queen and practiced our national anthem…on the recorder.
It’s really only in the last 10 years for me that I now stop to reflect on what being Australian means to me on Australia Day. It means living a bloody good life thanks very much in a spectacularly beautiful country. Simple!
It also means not having to live in war..like really live in it…I get to live in a house and my kids have easy access to education and I don’t live in fear of being attacked and raped and having my mister kidnapped or kids sold into slavery. You know that kind of awful stuff that goes on all over the world…but not in Australia.
Sure we’re not perfect but are our imperfections more first world problems compared to what others around the world live with daily? Instead of pointing out what’s wrong with our great land I’m gonna choose the ‘silver lining’ view…
From where I sit I live in a place where I can visit the ocean daily, my husband is employed and I’m living out my bloggy dream. I get to live this dream because our medical system saved my life! My kids go to school and uni and play cricket and skateboard through the streets. They have education choices and can get part time jobs, have their own cars and travel when they please. I still peg my washing out on a Hills Hoist clothesline that I won’t replace with a more modern clothesline because it makes me smile and remember where I live…in Australia.
Our country is pretty damned good at digging deep when there’s a disaster either here or internationally. We are getting closer to equality for our gay and lesbian community…which includes my sister and several cousins. We are very sports focused but these days we celebrate disabled athletes far more than when I was younger which means we are opening our minds…and our hearts. We talk more openly about things like divorce, suicide, mental health, disabilities, death…and cancer.
Uhuh, 20 years ago you wouldn’t see a 40 something year old woman chatting in an open forum about boobs and baring her scars, the visible and not so visible ones. Yet here I am today doing just that and having the freedom to do so. Some nationalities believe it extremely taboo to speak about illness or cancer and women are forced to go through it silently, ill informed and lonely. Yeah I live in the lucky country…thanks Straya!
I love that Australians take the piss outa themselves…shows like ‘Upper middle class bogan’ make me laugh, so does the expression ‘take the piss’!
I love that Sonia Kruger welcomed her longed for daughter this weekend at the age of 49 and Australia’s hearts melted and for the most part they applauded her choices and rights. I love that a woman who had her son murdered in a shocking case of domestic violence chose to be a voice for those who can’t find theirs, a campaigner for domestic violence and our newest Australian of the year…bravo Rosie Batty.
I love our coastlines and cities. We have incredible sunsets, stunning rainforests, golden sands, parched lands and wild weather. We can road trip around our country or jump on a flight to visit friends and family, our country is now so accessible.
For me a visit to beach to enjoy a swim then home for a lazy barbecue spending time with my family and the dog until the sun goes down…that’s a pretty perfect Australia Day. Now pass the Aeroguard and ave a good weekend!
What do you love about Australia?