Happy Australia(n Cattle Dog) Day!
Dear fellow Australian Sparklers, Happy Australia Dayyyyyy!* From my chilly New York office (currently -7 degrees Celsius), I wave a tiny flag woven of lamingtons and merino wool toward the southwest, and the celebrations taking place: Namely barbeques and backyard cricket. In a gesture of unification, I have also cobbled together a beta flag of the boxing kangaroo and a series of blue heelers (INCLUDING THE PRIDE OF MY LIFE, MY DOG COOGEE—can you spot him?).
To celebrate the day when everyone in Oz says, "Bugger it! I'm lighting sparklers and wearing my togs to dinner, and I don't care who knows it!" I decided I'd put together a list of the things I miss about my fabulous home country. (Disclaimer: They are mostly about food.)
Calling them "thongs."
Putting the sprinkler under the trampoline.
All of the uncles in Oz wearing terrible budgie smugglers.
Question Time in Parliament.
Baker's Delight cheesymite scrolls.
Driving 2000 miles to say hello to a friend. (Hi, Perth!)
Having good sushi rolls available EVERYWHERE YOU GO.
Guthega/Twynam/the Thredbo alpine slide/the forgotten ski resorts of Corin Forest in Canberra and Ben Lamond in Tassie.
Tonia Todman/Maggie Beer (grouped loosely for their brand of comfy craftiness in their respective fields).
Potato wedges with sour cream and sweet chilli sauce.
Bakeries in little towns (BRAIDWOOD, I AM LOOKING AT YOU).
Barefoot bowling (are you all still doing this?).
Calling them "potato gems."
Frenzal Rhomb tweets/people taking the piss.
The ocean baths everywhere (shout to the Newcastle "Bogey Hole" and Bondi, Bronte, Coogee and Maroubra baths).
Peter Helliar/Amanda Keller (grouped by topic).
Lawyers wearing olde timey lawyer getup, including wigs and capes.
Finding out what Kate Ritchie has been up to via the supermarket checkout mag stand.
Having sunshades over playgrounds.
Fish and chips on the south coast.
All the Aboriginal art your mum randomly bought last time she was at the airport, including boomerangs for each of you.
The amazing Thai/Indonesian/Malaysian/Vietnamese/Turkish/Lebanese food.
Cycling over the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Spelling things with a "u" (see above).
The prime minister throwing the ball terribly to start the Boxing Day test match.
Roping off half a mountain so the pygmy possums aren't disturbed.
Australian stone fruit.
Seeing kangaroos on the way to school/uni.
PRAWNS/Balmain bugs/Moreton Bay bugs.
Those terrible Lowes ads starring random rugby league players.
Stephen Larkham. I WILL NEVER GET OVER HIM.
Climbing the Castle.
Religious freedom (jk jk America is alright).
Ramsey Street (I cannae resist!).
The people! My people!
Mozzie bites (they're bad, but preferable to North America mosquito bites, which are hard and pointy. I don't know why.).
*A serious hat tip to Australia's indigenous people, in acknowledgement of the not so happy cultural associations of January 26.
**This post has been published on January 25 in the U.S. because I am calculator-able, and it is already tomorrow in Oz.
How are you celebrating, my fellow countrymen?! What have I missed since I have been gone?!