A slightly small(ish) post today as I am busier than a one-legged man at an ass- kicking contest….one of the pearl of wisdom phrases my father shared with me as a child. It just sticks in my mind.
Digressing, sorry. Let me now share with all of you that as of yesterday, my family is now Australian. Australia recognizes Dual Citizenship so we did not need to renounce our American citizenship…which is something I would not do. However my inherent mistrust of all governments made me too afraid to continue raising our children in a country that they did not enjoy 100 percent protection of. Therefore Ted and I studied and passed the exams. Yes….Ted managed to get all twenty questions correct and I barely scraped by with nineteen out of twenty. I would like to state for the record that the question I missed was the one that said Queen Elizabeth II’s official Aussie title is The Queen of Australia. I am proud to have missed that. PROUD, I say.
Yet another digression. Sorry.
The ceremony in and of itself describes Australia to perfection in my mind. It was official, important and the most irreverent display I’ve ever seen. The mayor and two council members cracked jokes the entire time. One poor woman lost her newly acquired certificate for messing up how she walked back to her seat. The mayor returned it but he did actually yank it out of her hand. There was a comment about, “Yeah, that’s something usually just the Poms do” Poms – for my American friends, is the derogatory name for Brits. I grew up calling them Limeys but now I have to learn Poms. It’s a learning process. At least I can use arvo in a sentence correctly now.
When the mayor was handing out our certificates he stopped in front of Teddy and Connor (Tessi was by me because she was very afraid every one would laugh at her…another story) and refused to give them their citizenship papers until they gave the correct response to “Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!” Which my cherubs dutifully provided. “Oi! Oi! Oi!” “Too right!” responded the mayor and “I wanted to hear that!” piped up one of the more irreverent council members. After the ceremony the mayor bullied Connor and me into eating vegemite (almost got on the boat to leave the country) and Tessi hugged the mayor as we got a picture with him. Then she walked out shrieking, “I HUGGED THE MAYOR!!!!”
I once worked for the City Clerk’s Office in Austin, Texas and I NEVER would have addressed the mayor as anything but Your Honor or Mr. Mayor. A few years ago I attended a P&C (like the PTA) meeting where the mayor attended so we could discuss parking problems. It being my first time seeing the mayor in person, I asked my friends next to me how he should be addressed. Would His Honor suffice? “Eh, I just usually call him Nick” was the response. When I asked if he was friends with the mayor I got the usual “Crazy Yank Look” I’ve become accustomed to and heard, “No, why?” Ahhhhh, nevermind.
In all honesty, Christ…I love this mentality. Too often we as a society are so bogged down by rules, regulations and what is proper that we miss the humanity of it all. Respect is important. Yet here, respect is only entitled once it’s been earned. Even after it’s been earned…well, that doesn’t give a person the right to be an uptight git. “A Tall Poppy” is the phrase here.
Thank you Australia for being everything we were looking for. I won’t lie, I wish to God you’d allow normal-sized dryers and region-encoded games are an affront to humanity. Yet even I admit those are small prices to pay for the privilege of living Down Under.
For the rest of my life I will always call Australia home.
In honor of my new homeland let me leave you with a You Tube clip to a funny and clearly offensive Monty Python clip. I have seen it several times while I lived in the US but only after moving to Australia have I learned how utterly gut-wrentchingly and side-splittingly humorous it is.
Enjoy and G’Day!