Even though, I’ve been living in Paris for the better part of a decade, I do still get a tad homesick from time to time. Usually, this happens around special occasions, such as family birthdays, Xmas, Mardi Gras…or anything involving a party really. So, I tend to celebrate my Antipodean heritage whenever I get the chance. As was the case last Sunday when I hosted an early, celebratory Aussie-themed lunch in honour of our National Day.
To be honest, it was partly due to my trying to banish the winter blues with thoughts of summer in Sydney. To invoke the true spirit of the occasion, I pranced about in a brightly coloured t-shirt, short swimming trunks and a pink Australian flag worn like a cape – a present from a dear friend during a long ago Mardi Gras season. Not that I’ve ever needed much encouragement to play dress up, mind you.
Also, I do so enjoy trying to convert foreigners to the ways of the land Down Under, particularly in relation to our food. To this end, the lunch was a bit of a hybrid affair – much like my marriage – with a delicious mix of Australian and French fare…baguettes and wine thrown together with a sausage sizzle and TimTams. I even managed to have non-Australians trying and actually liking Vegemite. Admittedly, I was a bit sneaky about it, as I’d spread just a smidge of the salty, black goodness inside a cob of bread and then covered it with a ridiculous amount of cheese – it is a bit of an acquired taste, after all.
When I first moved here, I was frequently amused by the response of the locals when they found out where I was from. They couldn’t understand why I would leave a tropical paradise to come live in a land-locked city – as beautiful as Paris is. It would always start with the phrase – “Australie, so far away!” – and was then followed by a barrage of questions about the weather there and the abundance of animals attempting to kill you. They do seem to like hearing about our hungry sharks, vicious snakes and deadly spiders. Not forgetting, of course, the most infamous of all – the ferocious drop bears.
Today, I plan on celebrating my heritage in a most traditional manner by finishing off the leftovers from the BBQ then heading to my favourite bar to down far too many cocktails with a fellow citizen…excessive consumption of alcohol is practically our birthright.
Happy Australia Day!!!