Happy Australia Day! It’s a day that gives pause for thought both for those people who are Australian by birth and those who are Australian by choice.
Coming from Scotland I’ve often been asked whether I was torn between the country of my birth and the country I choose to live in, but I don’t actually see a dilemma. Just as a person grows up and gets married and goes to live with their new partner and subsequent family I see Scotland as the place where I grew and formed and Australia as the opportunity for my next adventures in life. No place can take the place in my history or my heart of Scotland, and it may even have a place in my future. In the meantime I live in a country I love so much that I chose to become a citizen on the very day I became eligible to do so.
There is a lot of talk about the political and social issues du jour here in Australia, but for a moment I’ll give you a snapshot of my little corner; I live in a nice suburb in a slightly daggy but loveable house that contains a happy family and three dogs. In our corner of the street our newest neighbour moved in ten years ago, so we’ve seen each other’s families grow up and we all know each other and know we can chap on anyone’s door for help or coffee (though we rarely do – should do the coffee more). We can chat over the back fence – when we got new fencing done I had to put an old upturned plant tub to be able to see over for the chats. And in a rare event a house around the corner was up for sale just before Christmas and was bought by our neighbour’s daughter and her family, so the suburban idyll continues.
The neighbours are mostly Italian migrants or the sons and daughters of Italian migrants. Exceptions are us and Tony and Robyn across the back who are of UK extraction. The commonality is that no matter whether our accents hail from Piedmont to Sicily, from Glasgow to London, or from Port Hedland to Geelong and anywhere in between, we are all Australian – and that’s the key – the diversity.
This song says it all: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjkrjYitgeA
Happy Australia Day!