Well, some people may still find my slight accent a give away, but I now think in Australian, which is a definite indication that I have become one – I know what to “crack a tinnie” means, after all.
I say ‘Bob’s yer uncle’, and ‘bonzer’, I get my knickers in a twist, spit the dummy and am ‘totally wrapped’ about living here. ‘Strine’ is my second language, I stopped whinging because I sounded like a Pom. Unfortunately coming from Somerset in England, my accent owes more to the Pirates of the Caribbean (as all the Pirates came from my part of the world obviously…just ask Johnny Depp).
I truly love Australia, the wide brown expanses, the empty beaches, the millions of birds, and the bush. So when I arrived, I soaked up the sayings I heard. I worked in Prahran. The Italian and the Aussie girl I worked with soon had me learning fast, about footy, about drinks, about having fun Australian style. We used to slug champagne on Friday afternoons as soon as all the clients went home, sitting on the verandah of a little house in Eastbourne Street. I travelled on packed trams and trains and the close proximity with other travellers soon speeded up the learning process.
I learned as Christmas approached that first year, that ‘break up’ parties didn’t mean you broke anything. That if you rooted for footy teams that was rude! The correct phrase was “barracked”. I worked hard and was “flat out like a lizard drinking”; if I got confused they said I might be “a sandwich short of a picnic”. There are a million other brilliant sayings, so send some of your favourites.
I wanted to belong from the first day here, although I still love and appreciate the beauty of my original home, and Somerset and Devon are beautiful, I belong to Australia. Today is Australia Day, and I will never forget the first one I had here. It was 1988, a special year. As I watched the celebrations all over the country and felt the swell of pride for my new home, it etched all those visions on my memory. I sat on the beach at Phillip Island and looked out to a blue horizon. It was a perfect day; some days are like that and they remain with us.
When I wave my little flag and try to sing along to Advance Australia Fair I shall feel just as proud. Tears come when they sing, “I still call Australia home”. So be proud of your country, of its origins in the time before white settlers, in the growth that has spread across the land. Like any nation mistakes are made, we don’t have to look far to see them around us. But we still have so much to be thankful for, this is still a proud country with a background of strong pioneers who knew what real hardship was. There are still those working on the land, battling the elements and making a better life for us all. So, Advance Australia Fair.
What are your favourite Australian sayings? Share them with us!