Today we are celebrating Australia Day, and even though I am very proud of my Finnish roots, I’ve fallen in love with Australia. If you ask me, there are so many reasons to love Australia and this post is solely dedicated to praising this country, its people and the way of life. I wish that all Australians would appreciate the fact that they have been tremendously lucky for having been born here or having been able to immigrate in here. So happy Australia Day to all of you who are today in Australia, whether you are residents or visitors, travelers or locals, born in here or migrated from somewhere else – today we all are celebrating as one.
1. Aussies are one happy mob
Yesterday I was drinking sangria at Queen Victoria Night Market and two nice ladies probably in their fifties sat in the same table with us. Soon we started chatting about differences between Finland and Australia and we all agreed that we love Australian summers, Melbourne, positive way of life and no worries attitude. In Australia it is completely acceptable to smile, be happy and chat a word or two with strangers (if you do this in Finland, everyone will think that you are a crazy person). Soon we found ourselves taking selfies together, giving high-fives and having a good time. When the ladies left, the other one gave me a big hug and said: “We Aussies are one big happy mob. I hope you will enjoy your stay here”. How cute was that?!
2. They have the most unique animals
In Australia there are heaps of species you cannot find anywhere else in the world. You can spot kangaroos, koalas, emus or dingos in the wild. You can encounter the deadliest spiders or snakes. If you are really unlucky, you can get eaten by a shark or crocodile. Then you have these really odd fellows, like the platypus, an egg-laying mammal that looks like a duck and a beaver had a baby.
3. Aussie slang makes you laugh
G’day, mate! Swag. Arvo (afternoon). We Aussies celebrate Chrissy (Christmas) by having a barbie (barbecue) on the beach. My beginner’s tip on Australian slang is to shorten every word. McDonald’s is macca’s. Bottle shop is bottle-o. Service stations is servo. I can drink Gab Sav (Cabernet Sauvignon) and eat a choccy biccy (chocolate biscuit). You get the idea? Oh yes, and Australia is Straya.
4. Australia is HUGE!
When I did my farm work in a rural and remote Northern Queensland, I drove 400 kilometers to have sushi. Not kidding. Many people from Europe tend to forget that Australia is actually a continent and traveling from one city to another takes time – sometimes even a lot more than traveling from one European country to another. That also means that in Australia you can find so different landscapes ranging from barren desert in red center to lush rainforest, beautiful beaches, barrier reef and even snowy slopes. And because of its size, there is always something new to discover.
5. They are so different and yet the same.
One third of Australian’s population is born outside Australia and even more people have their roots in somewhere else. Australia is under a constant change since new people are pouring into the country and they always bring with them some of their customs, traditions, celebrations and cuisines. If you look even more back in time, this whole nation (at least if we are talking about modern, “white” Australia), is built on immigration and brave people seeking for better life (yes, some of the first white Australians were convicts who didn’t come here voluntarily, i know). Immigration is in Australia’s backbone, core and basis. And so is all the other things linking to immigration, like open-mindness, tolerance and embracing differences and multiculturalism. As a foreigner, it very easy to come here, find a job and make a living. I have been so surprised how well Australians have welcomed me and this in turn makes me very motivated to do my share and contribute to this beautiful country. I happily work, pay taxes, obey the laws and embrace Australian values and way of life.
6. They have bloody good coffee
Finnish people consume the most coffee in the world but the quality of coffee is not something we can brag about. In Australia, and especially in Melbourne, coffee is good and tasty. People love their coffee and happily spend 5 dollars on a cup if it’s well made. Thanks to Aussies, we have a flat white. It is pretty similar to cappuccino but maybe a bit smaller in volume so the espresso tastes more. Also the milk is not hard foam but a velvety micro-foam which just tastes heavenly soft in your mouth.
Even though the sun doesn’t shine in Australia on every single day, climate is so much more suitable to humans than the long, ice-cold, dark winter days in Northern Europe. I have tactically managed escape the winter three years in a row and Australia has provided a nice safe haven to me and other climate refugees.
8. Australian cities are pretty cool!
I’ve been to all the other territories and states except Western Australia and seen many large cities and smaller towns during my 17 months of traveling. Different cities have so different vibe, people, way of life, climate and landscapes that there is no point in just staying in Sydney or Melbourne with all the other tourists.
Australian cities also have one of the highest qualities of life both on financial standards and also if you measure just the happiness of people. Especially Melbourne has been voted for the most liveable city for many years in a row.
9. Australians love their food
Around 97 % of their fresh produce is Australian which means high quality meat, fresh fish and delicious fruit and vegetable selections. After spending some time in Australia, you will learn which fruits are in season and where are the best farmer’s markets located. Also thousands of immigrants from all over the world have brought their cuisines to Australia and you can literally have the world on your plate.
Then the Australians have their traditional foods that they are so proud of. I’ve never understood the fuss about meat pies, sausage rolls, Lamingtons and Vegemite. I would love to have my fish and other seafood just fried with lemon and herbs instead of having it battered and deep-fried. But hey, all nationalities have the dishes that locals love and foreigners can’t understand. Just google Finnish mämmi, hernekeitto, or mustamakkara and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
I have to add that i love Australian barbecue, pavlova cake, TimTams and especially Australian wine so please, don’t kick me out of the country!
10. Australia has an interesting culture
Here I mean the aboriginal culture that is older than any other living culture in the world. When I did my trip to Uluru, I heard many interesting stories about aboriginals and learned about the strong spiritual connection that they have to the land and to the living creatures on it, their traditions, beliefs about dreamtime and all atrocities they had to go through.
I wrote on my Facebook page that in ten year I will become an Australian citizen. That deeply I have fallen in love with this country. Today however, I’m focusing on celebrating Australia Day.