Today - 26 January - is Australia Day or in Aussie language 'Straya' Day. So I thought I would digress slightly from stitching and ponder and reflect on what it really means to be an Australian, however, when I really thought about it I found it became far too deep and meaningful ... so, I decided to lighten up and ponder and reflect on what it really meant to me to be an Australian. Now, firstly let me preface by pointing out that when I was very young Australia Day wasn't considered patriotic anywhere near to the extent that it is today. School and workers went about their daily lives on January 26 and the recognised public holiday was scheduled for the following Monday ... no big deal. But then in 1983 Australia won the Americas Cup ... a real big deal ... and it seems that since that momentous occasion, pride in our nation, its people and achievements grew substantially. We now honour Australians of the Year (from sporting to art/cultural to science fields), hold special ceremonies, perform re-enactments of the landing at Sydney Cove of Captain Arthur Phillip and get together with family and friends to 'throw a snag on the BBQ' and have a game of backyard cricket.
I find the diversity of our country so interesting - from the rainforests in northern Queensland to the dry centre of Alice Springs to the alpine regions of the Snowy Mountains to the hustle bustle of our cities and the scenic beauty of our natural landmarks so stunning, that it's no wonder tourists worldwide want to flock to the 'land down under'. How flora and fauna survive and flourish in some of these harshest and driest of climates and areas has always fascinated me and is the source of inspiration behind my designs. Yes .. we do have a laidback lifestyle but us Aussies are not immune to the pressures of modern everyday life and need relaxing outlets - this is just one of the reasons why I began my designing and stitching business.
Sometimes, though, I wonder how much of me really is Aussie. Don't get me wrong - I love a BBQ, vegemite and Tim Tams just as much as the next person but would much prefer to visit an art gallery, musical or concert over cricket games, football matches and cockroach races (yes, they really do exist!!) and you would never, ever see me wearing thongs or a flannelette shirt.
Whilst I have snorkelled in the Whitsundays, travelled the cable car over the Blue Mountains, climbed Ayers Rock, ridden a camel in Alice Springs, cuddled a koala, seen the fairy penguins at Port Phillip Bay and jetboated in the Great Southern Ocean south of Hobart, there is one thing on my bucket list that I've yet to see and that is the spring wildflowers in bloom in their natural habitat outside of Perth, Western Australia which I am led to believe is an absolutely amazing glory of colour.
A few things for sure that will never change are our Aussie sayings and slang, that we are a sporting nation and the fact that we pull together and help each other out in times of trouble and turmoil. I have witnessed that firsthand during times of flood, cyclone and fire disasters and the mateship to friends and strangers alike warms the heart.
This afternoon, my husband, son and I will be celebrating Australia Day by firing up the BBQ for a sausage sizzle (sausage and onions in bread with tomato sauce) and then watching a re-run of 'Charlie and Boots', a movie starring Paul Hogan and Shane Jacobson featuring scenes and landmarks from Melbourne to the tip of the Cape York Peninsula. I will continue with my current stitching design which is part of building up stock for the opening of my Etsy shop - still a little way off, but slow and steady does it. So until next time .... See ya mate!
'Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life' - Anon