| posted on January 26, 2018
WHEN I first met my mum’s English cousins and they asked me whether I was going to chuck a shrimp on the barbie for them, I didn’t understand why they laughed at my confused face.
At three years old, Australian phrases had not quite wound their way into my vocabulary.
But, eventually, I got the hang of our country’s native twang and slang, and soon, I was g’daying and catchya later-ing like a pro and I’ve never looked back.
My mum is English and my dad is Australian, and despite my mum insisting that I am half English, I am very proudly Australian.
I love a good snagga from Bunnings and I proudly don my pluggers as much as I can.
My inner bogan appears every now and then, and I’ll rock the leggings and uggies combo (yep, I brave the public like that), and drool over a V8, and despite the odd weird look from a passer-by, I embrace my inner Shazza.
Tomorrow is Australia Day and as per tradition, the supermarkets will probably be suffering a bread and red meat shortage.
Cars will be loaded with cartons and people will head to the beach or park for some sun, some cricket, and some chill-out time.
Australian culture has some weird and wacky things, but one thing we are known for, and I am proud to be a part of, is our casual patriotism.
We aren’t like some Americans, who have their stripes and stars painted on everything they own.
We embrace our Australianness; we get on board and amuse international tourists by exaggerating our accents, we are pretty laid back, and always support each other in times of crisis (particularly on the sporting field).
We know who we are, we know some countries forget about us (cough, America) but we don’t care.
We live in one of the safest and most beautiful parts of the world.
We are Australian and we are happy with that.
(To be noted, I am talking on a general scale, and do not intend to speak out as an accurate representation of all Australians. I know many people who hate being called a sheila and are sick of 30 degree-plus days, and that is totally fine).
I was watching some crumby breakfast TV show ages ago and they had a correspondent in America who was walking the streets of New York City asking people if they recognised famous Australian landmarks and actors.
I’ve never cringed harder than when one person said Steve Irwin was a singer and pronounced Irwin as “Eeerween”.
Despite this cringing, I didn’t feel the need to jump on social media and berate that particular American.
Rather, I simply laughed, rolled my eyes at the American’s naivety, and got back to my Bunnings snagga.
I am proud to be Australian.
So, tomorrow, while you’re arguing over whether your brother’s over-the-fencer counts as a six-and-out, debating whose job it is to keep the Bush Chook flowing, or figuring out how to blow up an inflatable thong, remember why you’ve got the day off, regardless of the date.
Australia Day celebrates being an Australian, and being proud of who you are.
Whether you are Australian, Italian, French or Mexican, or even half English, be proud of who you are and your culture’s weird and wonderful traditions.
As the late, great Steve Irwin once said, “I’m a proud Australian, a very, very proud Australian.”