I’ve lived in the UK for what seems like so many years now, I feel like a proper native! I reckon I’ve got everything down to a T now. I can talk the talk and walk the walk. I can make a chicken pie like a pro and can knock back tea like I was born to suckle on it.
I’m proud to live in the UK and I love it here – I won’t be moving any time soon! But on occasion, I do pine for my homeland of Australia. It’s just a whole different world and it’s a really fabulous country. One of the only benefits of living away from Australia is, when I do go back to visit, I can fall in love with it all over again.
So what makes Australia so great? WELL, let me tell you…
Everyone has this stereotype of Australian people that we’re loud, drunk and swear a lot. We do, but we’re also intelligent, friendly and the warmest people you’ll ever meet. With 43% of Australians being born overseas or with parents that were born abroad, we’re a rich melting pot of cultures. It helps make us understanding and accepting of people from all walks of life and you notice it.
Everyone mixes with everyone. There’s always a smile for a stranger in the street and there’s always a bed for someone who needs it.
Australia is HUGE. There’s so much land and so many different landscapes that it’s hard to lump them all into one! My favourite place to be in Australia is the beach. We have the best beaches, it’s just a fact. Soft, sandy beaches, clear blue water, the freaking Great Barrier Reef! It’s simply beautiful and you need to go to an Australian beach before you die.
Of course, Australia is famous for its outback. I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the outback. It is breathtaking, stretching on for miles in every direction without a soul in sight, there is a lot of Aboriginal history there too. The Aboriginal’s rock paintings date back thousands of years and it boggles the mind to see. On the other side of things, it takes so long to travel anywhere and the heat is often unbearable. It’s dangerous too, no cell phone signal and no townships for miles can spell disaster if an accident were to happen.
People will always say that Australia doesn’t have its own food culture. We’re very multicultural and derive our dishes from a range of heritage, but we have food that is all our own too (and it’s not just witchetty grubs and kangaroo balls)!
Vegemite is the quintessential Australian food. It is heavenly and scrumptious and I have to order it in bulk to be delivered to the UK. Vegemite on toast can be enjoyed any time of day and should be eaten at least six times a week.
Balmain bugs are another dish that non-Australians don’t really get. It’s not a bug, it’s a type of slipper lobster. The shellfish can only be found in shallow waters in Australia and you can only eat meat from its tail, but it is so tasty!
Australians love barbeque. It’s not just a funny phrase that people like to imitate in a terrible Australian accent. We genuinely do love barbecue. Snags, burgers, prawn, chicken, turkey, emu… anything can be grilled on the cue, I promise you.
We have the best wild animals in Australia. It’s such a disappointment living in England and having the most interesting wild animal be a bird. Australians have kangaroos and koalas, deadly spiders and snakes, wombats and dingos. You can walk out of your front door and come face to face with something that could kill you. Isn’t that amazing?!
Don’t get me started on drop bears though…
Oh, how I long for the long, sunny days that populate most of the year in Australia. It’s real heat as well, the type that is refreshing and soothing and just generally good for the soul.
Moving to the UK was a massive shock climate-wise, it rains ALL THE TIME. When I first moved here for university, I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t understand how people lived like this for their entire lives.
I got used to it though. I have my trusty brolly and those two days of sunshine. I’m learning to live with the cold, even if my tan is suffering!
The UK is amazing and I love the amazing opportunity that studying and working here has given me, but there’s no place like home. Now, if you don’t mind me, I’m going to go Skype my mum and get her to take the laptop to the beach…