This October 7th will mark my first decade living In Australia. I think it’s fair to say that as someone who is greatly affected by the weather, and given that I invariably wake up each morning under azure skies, I won’t be moving back to Blighty any time soon.
But it’s not just the favourable climate that keeps me here. It’s all those extras which make life so pleasurable. As a Brit, going out for good coffee still feels like a treat. Which would explain why I keep resisting The Chap’s yearning to buy an Espresso machine. His cries of “but we could have coffee at home!” are met with “yes. That’s precisely the problem.”
Because it’s not just about the coffee but all the rituals that go with it. If I stayed at home, I’d no longer get to make a fuss of all those bored, patient dogs, essential given that we lost ours last year; I’d miss out on browsing through the latest releases at the book shop whilst enjoying a great latte; I wouldn’t have the wonderful range of breakfast and brunch options that you simply don’t get in the average British town.
But perhaps more than this, it’s that sense that if you come here with the right attitude and work ethic, you can make it. “For those who’ve come across the seas, we’ve boundless plains to share,” states the National Anthem. In our public hysteria about “the boats,” perhaps we have forgotten that only some decades ago, it was those whose coffee and food we now take so much for granted, who were vilified upon first setting foot on these shores.
We should be proud of the fact that those fleeing troubled homelands see Australia as a place where they will be given a fair go. And more so if we have engaged in combat on their soil. My own feeling is that anyone who is prepared to risk their life on a boat to get here shows the character traits needed to ensure our society is kept rich in its diversity.
So I’m using Australia Day as my inspiration and, specifically, the kangaroo. Because they have strength; a relaxed attitude; and there are over 60 different kinds.
In all, a national emblem we should keep aspiring to.