Miscellaneous Rumbles

Why sometimes it’s cool to be Australian

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My wife and I have had a bit of a bad run recently - my dad died on new year's eve and not long afterwards my mother in law went - a huge brain tumour, discovered only just before christmas was responsible. Still if you gotta go it could be a lot worse - dad was 87, mother in law was 86.

My mother in law was a Croatian catholic, so she had her plot at the cemetery already picked out and paid for. It's a lovely spot too - while we were seeing her off kookaburras cheekily laughed loudly, Twenty-eight parrots ( there are parrots called Twenty-eights) whistled and squawked in the gumtrees. And not far away from her spot is Bon Scott.

It made me realise that where I live is full of people who come from somewhere else. It's wonderful. My mother in law never quite mastered English and her attempts were often very, very funny to her family. Years ago in war-torn Croatia she had been told by her Aunt that she was going to Australia. As the eldest of 9 children she was to be the first of her immediate family to leave to live with another aunt in Australia. The same kind of story could be told of people from Italy, Germany, Macedonia, Greece - the list goes on. It could be said of families from Scotland too, some of whom went on to be quite famous world-wise for their music.

Now people are coming here from Africa and the middle east. So I get to meet people from everywhere in the world and I love it. New foods to try, new sayings, new music, new ways of seeing things. But always they are just people wanting a better life. The guy who delivers my stuff that I order online is from Eritrea. He knows me by name now and always has a smile - recently he introduced me to his friend who (I think) is also from Eritrea who he is training to do his job. One time he had tried to deliver a package to me - I think it was a guitar pedal. We weren't home but he spotted me walking down the street with my wife so stopped his van and asked if I wanted my parcel. How cool!

I feel very lucky to live here with such wonderful people. If my mother in law had never come here I obviously would never have met my wife. My son's girlfriend is half-Mauritian. She is a beautiful young woman. My mother in law said that she was so glad that she had been sent to Australia because she had a life here she could never have dreamed of back home.

There are many other reasons to be grateful for living here - the likelihood of getting shot is extremely remote! But it's the people who make Australia a good place. You guys should visit some time.

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i know there are probably less-than-optimal folks there since that's true of everywhere, but all the Aussies i've met IRL have been tip-top people. i'd love to visit someday though it's a god-awfully long trip from the eastern US, and feel like i'd be comfortable with the average folks. i wish more Americans appreciated diversity as you do.

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Cool story. A very sweet and well-meaning lady once told me I should move to Australia. She noticed that I struggled with being a weirdo here in conservative PA, and told me I could be as weird as I wanna be in Oz, and folks would be OK with it! And...I was in Croatia for a few weeks when I was a kid...around 1970. Beautiful place. All the exterior scenes in Fiddler on the Roof were shot there...45 minutes or so outside of Zagreb.

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Your heartfelt story of gratitude was very uplifting, thank you for your elegantly put words. Please accept my sincere condolences for the loss of your father and mother in law, and my hope that this will be a better year for you and your family.

I'm an American, and have seen war torn countries in my own hemisphere (Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua), during the 1980's, while I was a soldier. I missed the Vietnam War by a couple of years, I was too young, though many of my brothers here were involved in that conflict.

It's difficult for those who haven't seen it, to imagine war, and it can take a lifetime to digest, once experienced. My heart has great sympathy for the civilian populations in warring regions, and I'm very happy that your mother in law escaped. It sounds as if it turned out to be a wonderful opportunity for her to have a very good life, amongst good people.

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That's a nice comment. I have greatest respect for people who have to leave their homeland, go someplace new, and still seem happy.

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Australia must be beautiful and I'd love to visit someday. Tolerance to foreigners is a lot better than what the media projects, here in the USA but with that said hate is on the rise as well. It all just depends on who you know and where you hang out. I try to distance myself from people with hate in their hearts. With that said, I'm sure we could learn a thing or two from the Aussies. They've always seemed to lovely people to me.

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JimmyR - your musings here over the years have made me quite curious about western Oz. Glad you're back again on a more regular basis

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Nicely said, JimmyR! That's a sweet tribute to your family.

Thanks for the invite. Make sure the beers' cold---we'll be along shortly.

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Come on down and visit you guys while the exchange rate is well in your favor (AUD$1 = US 70 cents).

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Yes, it’s on the list to visit. Seems like a cool place.

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I've been to Sydney several times, worked with many Aussies over those years in Asia.

I need to take my wife there on Holiday.

I love the upside down World Map!

And somehow the Sun is always out the wrong side of the window...

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Hey Twangmeister - you would be surprised at how that catches me out when I visit the northern hemisphere! You don't realise how much you subconsciously note the position of the sun when walking around. After my first (3 1/2 months) in the northern hemisphere, visiting the USA, Canada and a fair chunk of Europe, I was amazed to look at maps of cities I had visited only to find they looked "backwards".

I can only think that I am so used to having the sun predominantly in the north to me that I was still registering it like that while in the USA and Europe. Rome in particular threw me entirely. On my return I looked at the map and it all seemed like a mirror image. My wife, having no sense of direction whatsoever, was not affected at all.

And unfortunately Australia is probably just as full of hate and intolerance as the rest of the world. We have some pretty disgusting politicians but I refuse to pay them any attention - perhaps my welcome to my Eritrean delivery man is a response to the reaction I fear he receives from others. But I find that if you welcome someone with warmth and friendliness it is generally reciprocated if that person has an open mind, regardless of where they are from.

In my work as a photographer I meet all sorts of people. One time I was shooting house extensions and "Granny flats" for a small building company. The occupants of one such granny flat were an elderly couple from India who grew about 12 different types of chilli in their small garden. They were so fun and loved to explain the differences between their chillies. I left that job with an armful of perfect chillies and a container of the best chilli sauce I have ever tasted. I regret not going back to insist they give me the recipe! It was that good.

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And Fuzzpop - you made my day! Thanks!

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Not saying Aussies are no longer cool, but I remember back in the ‘80s it was cool to be Australian. Aussie’s were a main fixture if you will, on MTV back then for example.

I used to cross paths with many in Hawaii and South East Asia back in the 80s and all were very nice people.

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Oh I'm sure Aussies are no better than anyone else. I kinda have a sneaking admiration of Kiwis (New Zealanders). Apart from the hilarious accent their sports teams are often huge over-achievers and you find kiwis everywhere you go. Some great musicians, actors and artists come from little old NZ. I often think that kiwis are what Aussies think they are like.

Some folks you might think are Aussie are actually kiwi. Russell Crowe, Hugo Weaving, Neil Finn and Split Enz for example. Maybe NZ is the Canada of Australia.

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I like the "NZ is the Canada" analogy...

Just hard for us in North America to tell the difference.

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Aussies love Kiwi accents because they sound like someone played musical chairs with the vowels. The classic example is the term "fish and chips". Kiwis will say "fush'n'chups". Neil Finn becomes Nill Funn. Exact becomes uxect.

Years ago a friend from Dunedin (far south NZ) cracked me up in her outrage at the price of fruit - "Suxty sints fur en epple??"

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We bought into a Kiwi Switch Mode business back in the day, and brought one of their better folks to the US to represent the Product Line. I never really had any issues...maybe it was easier for my ears.

Aussie accents get hyped here - Outback Steakhouse, Croc Dundee, and Greg Norman...Ha!

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Speaking of Kiwi vowel switching: !WARNING! LOTS of innuendo in this video

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One of my daughters is going to accomplish one of my Bucket List items and is flying out of Denver, CO tomorrow (Tues.) and heading for your world for two weeks. I truly envy her!

They have friends in Hobart, Tasmania and will spend more than a week traveling and living the life there. The route home includes a few days in Sydney.

At my age I can not say that I envy the 30-hour ordeal (airlines and airports) required to make the journey. I DO wish I'd had the gumption and initiative in my younger years to "just do it" and go see Australia before it's too late.

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This was so positive and fun to read. Thanks for sharing and inspiring me to continue to respect and love all people I come into contact with. Good day!

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Hobart is a beautiful city: the waterfront area with its old pubs from the whaling days, the art at MOMA, the sights from Mt Wellington, and the whiskey- oh, the whiskey!!

I’ve only been there once but want to go back and explore more of the Apple Isle (our name for Tasmania noting its apple growing) including Cradle Mountain and some of the heritage-listed areas that got devastated by bushfire this summer.

As an aside, each year to advertise the lamb and get Aussies to eat more lamb, the industry publishes a TV ad just before Australia Day on 26 January. This year, the ad focussed on the joining of Australia and New Zealand to become New Australia with the current NZ Prime Minister as the first Prime Minister of New Australia. The ads are very funny and carry a lot of dry wit. Some people don’t like them and turn them into political slanging matches; others just see the humour and go out to buy more lamb.

()

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Ha! I've been around the world many times but STILL haven't been to Tassie! I really must.

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Jimmyr, I’ve been around the world a few times as well, and not been to Perth.

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I enjoy a lot of Australian culture.

In the 60s and 70s- just the best saloon car racing in the world. Those big Holden Monaros against the Ford Falcons at Bathurst. Perhaps even more fun were the strategic games when the big Fords were pitted against the smaller, nimbler Toranas.

Brocky's Crystals. Need I say more!

Curiosity Show- a great programme to enjoy. Cool science, totally immersive. This is still the benchmark for children's science tv presentation. And Rob Morrison has the most fantastic voice, I could listen to him all day.

So sorry you've had a tough time lately Jimmy. I hope that you and yours will have joy back in your lives.


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