I must admit that celebrating Australia Day when you are away from home takes on a whole new meaning.
When at home Australia Day typically means a public holiday (a requestite for all us public servants who have been back at work for a whole three weeks after Christmas without a break - shocking!), drinking Tooheys Extra Dry (lovingly known as TEDs in our home), listening to JJJs hottest 100 (counting the half a dozen songs we know) and spending as much time as possible in the water with your mates who will attempt to drown you at least once over the course of the day. Second to Christmas, its our favourite holiday.
This year, Tristan and I enviously read our Facebook updates watching you all complain about the heat/fires/floods and other marvelous meteorological events that make our great country the land of droughts and flooding rains. You spent the day celebrating with your "family", eating snags, pizza shapes, cabanossi and cheese, and running around in your board shorts and national footwear. You watched the Sydney fireworks on the news - after all, who wants to get up at the crack of dawn to get a decent position on the foreshore, where you can't drink and need to sit beside/on a complete stranger for hours on end only to realize the wind is blowing all the smoke from the crackers directly into your eyes so you can't see them anyway!!! Needless to say, we were very homesick.
In an effort to bring the land of Oz to the Mile High City, Tristan and I agreed to host Australia Day celebrations way back in August. The plan was that this would be our last sha-bang before RJ arrived (oh how plans change). Of course, life in its many twists and turns resulted in us paying near no attention to the date. So a week before the big day we realised that we had a party to cater for, but didn't even have enough seats for all our guests to perch on. Luckily, the great Aussie bregade came to the rescue, agreeing to each bring an Aussie platter, Tristan moved all our patio furniture into the basement (liberally "borrowing" odds and ends from our departing brethren) and we made a made dash to Sam's to get meat and salad for a BBQ. Like any good Aussie household, we didn't need beer as the pantry was already stocked ;-)
The day started out like any other: a visit to the hospital to see our little boy - who incidentally was wearing his Aussie Day best thanks to Aunty Ange. I gave him a bath and inked his feet for more footprints, while Tristan ran home to get the party started in my absence.
When I got home a couple of hours later, the house smelled of sausage rolls. Yum! Drifting into the basement I was confronted with a sea of green and gold, and Aussie flags decking every surface. There were dips and chips aplenty, Tim tams and crackers galore, beer in the esky, and wine chilling in the fridge. Devine!!!!
Denver pulled out some good weather (42 - F not C) so not long after I got home (literally Tristan didn't even give me enough time to eat lunch) we grabbed the bat and ball and headed to our local oval to confuse the neighbours with a game of cricket. It was so much fun. The little tackers put the grown ups to shame. The girls stood in the out field doing their best to disappear anytime someone new was needed to bat. And Tristan played one handed as to not spill his drink.
Later on Tristan pulled out his BBQ skills and delivered the best Aussie BBQ that Denver had ever seen. There was potato and pasta salad, something that looked like beetroot (....), a huge salad that was barely touched (in the tradition of Aussie Day - you don't make friends with salad), steak, lamb, hamburger patties (that shrunk on the BBQ and looked more like meatballs) and sausages of the chicken variety. It was a grand feast that was serenaded by the gentle whispers of Richie Benuet and the Australia Day Test match at Adeliade Oval. It felt just like home.
Then came my favourite part of the day - DESSERT!!! The Aussie ladies of Denver delivered such delight that my taste buds are still dancing. There was pavolva (covered in aerobar flacks), laminations, chocolate crackles and cake. So good! The best part was that there was left overs!!
After heavily indulging and being glad that I was wearing track pants with an elastic waist band, everyone decided to head home (early mornings the next day meant we really couldn't indulge too much more...). In an effort to help, one of the kids was carrying the left over cake to the kitchen and just missed the bench. It was the funniest thing I had seen in ages. Chocolate cake all over the floor, the little tacker standing in the middle of it not knowing whether to laugh and or cry, and Tristan's devastated face when he realised his morning tea for the week was on gone (though we did manage to save some of it). Classic Aussie Day memories.
It wasn't the same as home, but it's uniqueness made it special. The importance of being Australian when you are away from home just seems to be more. You want to scream from the mountain top that you come for the sun burnt country and make every American eat a tim tam so they can appreciate how crap their cookies really are. While we are enjoying our American adventure, we will always call Australia home - and miss it terribly while we are away.
Hope you are all well and enjoyed Australia day where ever you may have been in the world.
Tristan, Penni and Zac