#869 Late night soccer

Just as well I brought the hat home last Friday.

It had been in my old room, at my parents house. Just as I have been purging and sorting through my own stuff, so too have my parents been trying to purge – themselves of my stuff. LOL.

I always said I would tend to the big pile of childhood and teenage accumulation and mementos that I had left at their place when I first moved out. That promise turned into a faraway and not very concrete date, and so my parents took it upon themselves to take everything out of hiding and line it up accessible and for me to see in my old room.

Every time I am there, I go through a little more. I came across some carnival hats that baby girl was enamoured with… I thought ‘fine.’ There’s many things I am bringing home, simply because I am not sure of what to do with it, but I feel that I should really be throwing it away.

The hat, is not the case.

Because the hat, is from the homeland. It holds my parents roots, and is an emblem of where I hail from.

The discovery of the hat was so timely, because I was able to hold it near and dear to me, during the viewing of the Soccer, very very late (or very very early, whichever way you roll) last night/this morning.

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Croatia has progressed into the second round of finals in the FIFA world cup. I always said if they did get this far, then I would stay up/get up early, and watch. I knew baby girl having school holidays would make it easier – no early start and subsequent running around after a 3-hour sleep due to Soccer match… so very very early this morning, that’s what I did.

I had a preorganised massive blanket on the couch to wrap myself in. Little did I know it was the coldest night of the year, but I was all tucked up and cosy, the only light coming from the guys on the green field and the soft glow of our hallway.

In those 2 and a half hours, I learnt a bit. I didn’t think I would. I picked up strategies and things about the game which I had never noticed before. I got emotional, my head lifting from the pillow in anticipation when a goal was near; I whispered “damn!” at missed opportunities; and I also nearly fell asleep several times.

I am more sleep ambassador than a soccer one.

But it was the memories and the times I had spent watching the World Cup before, that led me to this night. I remember my Dad staying up late, and me sitting with him, trying to work out the game. Asking him questions. Things about the goalie, and how hard his job was. All of this came flooding back to me, the time I spent with my Dad watching this sport, excited about the rare late nights, and the bonding that I didn’t realise I was partaking in, ’til just last night.

And there was more. I remembered World Cup soccer parties at my sister’s place. The excitement of driving across town at midnight to watch the tournament take place. I remember sleeping in my bed at 3am, and the phone ring because Croatia had just progressed into another round, and my sister across town was calling to talk to my Dad, who was watching on our side of town.

“Sorry SmikG,” she said. “I’m calling for Dad.”

So casual, yet so novel. It was fascinating, how this event turned all our lives upside down.

And then when Croatia did make 3rd place in that same year, the happiness the people experienced and devoted themselves to, awoke something in me.

A deep curiosity for World Cup Soccer. Now, it was going to become a ritual.

Years later when Australia made the World Cup, remarkably it was Croatia they faced in one-play off. Although I couldn’t really lose in this scenario – ‘homeland’ team, playing ‘home’ team – I nonetheless went for the regional underdog, while Hubbie, then BF, was happily cheering for the land down under.

Our rules were: take a shot when your team makes goal. And run around the house with the national flag wrapped around you.

We did it.

Meanwhile on the other side of the world, my parents were in Croatia, their native home, watching the very same game. They would wince when Australia faltered, silently cheering and smiling with glee when they moved ahead, noticed by my uncle who said to them

“Why, you’re cheering for Australia, not Croatia!”

That’s because Australia was their real home now.

Or maybe it had to do with going for the underdog in their current location, just as I was doing, cheering for Croatia to win as I sat in my Australian house.

I never remember who won. I don’t even care. All I remember are the memories.

I am not a soccer devotee. I will not claim I know all the players’ names. I will not pretend to watch soccer at any other time for the next 4 years after this event.

But I am a fan of where I come from. And as long as Croatia will feature in this 4-yearly event, so too will I haul my ass out of bed in freezing cold Winter temperatures, and remember, the memories from before.

For those keeping score… my ass-hauling last night DID pay off. Croatia won. In an epic extra-time plus penalty shoot-out setting. They won on the last kick!

Incredible. And if all I remember from this World Cup is…

coldest night

reminiscing on the past

cuddled up on the couch

Hubbie joining me post 6am before heading off to work

and then cheering happily because they had won (and I was going back to bed!)

then that would be enough.

#754 5 out of 6 ain’t too bad

I have already driven 5 hours today.

Off to the other side of town with baby girl for an appointment: 1 hour 20 minutes

Then to my parents place for a few hours: 20 minutes

Back in the car to drive back home (now through Long Weekend traffic, general bullshit inefficient drivers, and car accidents where rubberneckers couldn’t help but slow down to look at a collision that WASN’T in their way): 2 hours and 20 minutes

Back in the car after a 5 minute stopover at home, now to drive to work: 1 hour and 20 minutes

5 HOURS.

And that’s not even ALL of it. Because I still have to drive an hour home later on… at the terrific-ly beautiful time of 3-4am.

Yep. All you Aussie peeps will be dreaming your sweet little eyelashes off, and I will be driving down the freeways, getting home as late as possibly 5am.

YAY! for me (not sarcastic, at all).

Seriously though, what the hell have I got to be grateful for here?

Well…

  1. One hard day like this is almost down, with only one to go
  2. I am in a good mood despite racking up so many k’s todays
  3. And I have driven 5, out of 6 hours. I’m almost there.

So close.

I am happy, so very happy, despite all of this, and being happy while at work, amidst busy days, and so so so so SO much driving….???

It makes me even more happy. And grateful. 🙂

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#712 Family Fun on Jan 26th

Today is a day that divides many people from the land down under.

January 26th – Australia Day. A national holiday to celebrate our achievements as Australians, to recognise how far we’ve come, and to reflect on our culture.

The local park down by the beach ran a huge Australia Day event, and naturally, we all headed on down.

It was a very pro-Australia Day experience. Flags abounded, Union Jacks on clothing, and green and gold was the norm. Massive theme park rides were spaced on the perimeter of the park, food trucks on one end, and a stage for live music on the other.

These people came here to celebrate Australia day – or as was in our case, to take advantage of the free entertainment.

But there is a movement, a wave of people that has been increasing exponentially, that believes we should not celebrate Australia Day on January 26th.

And I agree.

BUT that does NOT mean I am not proud to be an Australian.

January 26th is not the day the First Fleet landed in this country, as many people are led to believe. In fact it is believed to have occurred in 1788, somewhere between Jan 18-20, and the 26th is the day the Union Jack was raised in Sydney Cove, to declare British Sovereignty.

Australia Day was celebrated in Sydney on January 26th in those early days, before other states took on the holiday too, but they did this on different days, like Tasmania’s ‘Regatta Day,’ or South Australia’s ‘Proclamation Day.’ This was the case for 200 years, and only in 1935 did it become nationally recognised and celebrated, even then only being declared as a holiday in 1994.

In that way, Australia Day as we know it today, is fairly new.

The day January 26th, is known as ‘Invasion Day’ or ‘Survival Day’ to these Anti-Aus Day Jan 26-ers. Because it signalled the end of 50,000 years of Indigenous occupation on this land, which then led to brutal colonisation. Massacres of the Aboriginal people took place, land was taken, and children removed from their parents. The stolen generation was born, and many Indigenous descendants grew up not knowing where they came from.

The pain, suffering and loss the Indigenous community experienced is more than profound. And that doesn’t include the repercussions echoing out to this current day. To think of what they have had to endure, not just over years, but decades and centuries, with oppression and hate and discrimination, when all they were doing were living on their land… a sorry will just not do.

But it was done. In 2008 the Australian Prime Minister formally apologised to the Aboriginal community – for the successive laws and policies of previous governments that inflicted severe pain and grief onto their families and communities.

January 26th, the day the Union Jack was raised in Sydney in 1788, is then a representation of all that preceded, and all that was lost to the Indigenous community when the First Fleet arrived. The slavery, the violence, the oppression. It is a day of mourning for many. Rightly so.

My ancestors were NOT from that First Fleet. In fact, in 1788, my ancestors were probably farming cattle in a remote and poverty-stricken land somewhere in the Balkan region of Europe. My parents came to Australia in 1970, for a better life. It is the story of so many European immigrants, and continues to be so to this day. They came from nothing, from having to work so hard just to be able to obtain, I don’t know, a bike… over the span of a YEAR… and the opportunity to come to a “land of plenty,” where stories of filling up a trolley with fruit and vegetables with only $2, and realising after their first pay check working in the factory, that they could achieve so much more here in months, than they could achieve over there in years… that is the history I grew up with.

I grew up hearing, how Australia saved my parents. In doing so, they saved my sister and I. I grew up hearing of the comparisons between my parents’ beloved native country, and the ‘lucky country.’ They have such respect for where they came from, and when you ask them their nationality – they are Australian. Proudly so.

I have seen more of my family come from overseas. They didn’t come here to brutalise and oppress any minority or otherwise group, just as my parents didn’t. No, they came here for a better life, for a chance at something greater, even to escape WAR. They came here because they heard things were good, and they wanted to see things for themselves.

They have all stayed. We ALL have.

The Australia I have lived with, and which has been represented to me, is a good one, a noble one. I know things are not perfect, and there is always something the government must do better. But here, there is democracy. Freedom of speech. There is strong multiculturalism. People are kind. People are friendly. People love to connect.

However, bad things were done, many, many years ago, and despite the fact that we can’t go back, we can try to make things work as a unified community.

A country, united as one.

Both black and white, coming together.

But it has to be a conscious and integrated effort from both parties. There are white people I know that complain of the country we live in, or talk about how shit Australia is, or how that ‘other’ country is soooo much better.

Well move then. Go on, piss off (as a true blue Aussie would say). Don’t hang around here gaining benefits and working and earning Australian coin, when you know of so much better.

You are ungrateful. We don’t want you.

Likewise I have heard some other pretty horrible things today. I have heard of Indigenous people at Invasion Day rallies, saying “F*&k Australia, hope it burns to the ground.”

This makes me terribly sad. Sad for the mourning this person would have experienced to want the country they live in, the country we ALL live in, to burn to pieces.

Like I said, both parties need to want to move forward, peacefully. Slandering will not make things better. And it unfortunately won’t change the past.

Whether like me, my ancestors were not part of that First Fleet, or like other Australians, perhaps they were… the power to want to change the future is out there. People want to make amends for the past, whether they are white or black… but a person living in Melbourne today, should not be blamed for what their Father did in February 1st 1985 for example… just as today’s First Fleet descendants that want to change for the better, should not be blamed for what their ancestors were part of from 1788 onwards.

The idea is out there, that Australia Day needs to be moved to another date, or it is abolished all together and another day that celebrates both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities coming together, is created.

I believe this is the only way forward. I think respect needs to be shown to the original people of this land, and January 26th and Australia Day, are synonymous no more.

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Soooo…..

I went to the park today. I was happy to be amidst our community of proud Australians – Australians that love the country they live in, the people in it, and the culture that lives on.

Was I celebrating Australia Day? Hmm, not quite. I was celebrating the life I live…

But that I do every day. Because I am grateful for the place that I reside in the world.

I am grateful for MY history. I am grateful for the choices my parents made. And I am grateful that change is coming to respect the life and culture of those who inhabited this land 200 years before any white people were on it.

I had my own family fun day, and I enjoyed the fact of some extra time together, with them.

I hope wherever you were in the world, your day of January 26 was great too…

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#682 Work Air Con

At our home currently, we do NOT have air conditioning.

This may not mean much to an Eskimo, Santa, or any person currently not experiencing an Australian Summer.

However, in Melbourne tonight at the time of approximately 10:30pm, it is about 28 degrees in the city centre.

And it ain’t dropping heaps overnight my friends.

Earlier when I spoke to Hubbie he told me it was boiling in our house. There is no breeze, and there is sweat on baby girl’s face, reminiscent of that time we went to Port Douglas and she was mostly cranky pants in the 40 degree heat, only satisfied when in a pool/ocean.

And yet, I am grateful. Not for the sauna awaiting me at home when I leave here shortly, no. But for the fact that in this moment, I am in a cool climate of possibly 18 degrees, the industrial work air con working brilliantly in my surrounds.

🙂

#655 SIA!

SIA!

Clap clap clap.

SIA!

Clap clap clap.

SIA!

Clap clap clap.

What an incredible and talented performer and ensemble we were privileged to be in the company of tonight.

As if it isn’t enough that she has conquered the vocal world with her chords, what makes it all sweeter is that…

She is OURS.

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Aussie gal through and through.

🙂

#618 The classic Theme song

I have said on many occasions here, that one of the important things with gratitude, is appreciating all the little things, as well as the clear and obvious and staring-you-in-the-face BIG things.

Well, I’m well acquainted with that notion. And you will probably LOL at my gratitude for today.

I have been really enjoying my Bold and the Beautiful catch-up episodes of late (I say catch-up because I have approximately 70+ episodes on my Foxtel Planner, and as it is Australia is about 3 months behind, soooo…..).

It is the 30th year of their being on our screens, broadcast around the world in too many countries to even begin to count, and in lead up to their ‘anniversary date,’ they were showing small clips of significant moments throughout the years, at the end of some of their episodes. These significant recaps were fantastic: huge fights, people coming back from the dead revelations (at least two), declarations of love, meltdowns, affairs… you name it. I have thoroughly enjoyed these little snippets at the end of each ep, some I even vaguely remember – I have been watching it since I was 11!

That’s 23 years of my life! Sheesh, I need to get me another hobby.

Anyway, these end of ep recaps ceased once a select group of the cast headed on over to Australia NO LESS, to film and celebrate the wedding of two of their most popular characters, and my most favourite couple, Steffy and Liam… yay they got hitched!

But no, there is MORE.

Because as this most fantastic 30th anniversary wedding episode happened in front of the Sydney Opera House, hell I will even call it in my backyard, something else incredible, ingenious happened.

They went back to basics, in the BEST, FREAKING, WAY.

It is the original theme song! I LOVE IT! A throwback, updated yes, but a brilliant homage to the original theme song that quite frankly knocks the ball out of the park when it is compared to the ‘runway theme song’ they had before this, which was new, but lacked any thing really…

Bold. Or Beautiful. Yes I went there.

So gratitude. Yes, basic things. But it reminds me of my childhood, and things that should remain as they are when they are working.

I ♥ this show.

#375 Chaddy shopping day no.1

Because us Aussies have to over-familiarise and give a not-really-syllable-shortened nickname to EVERYTHING.

We haven’t been to Chadstone in a little while. But now that we are living 20 minutes or so closer than when we were on the other side of town, it somehow feels more accessible.

Even though we are still in the car for a good 40 minutes.

But when there, we make the most of it.

Today’s buys:

For Hubbie – gold jeans and grey jeans for work, courtesy of Jay Jays

For baby girl – a Frozen Elsa doll, a Frozen Elsa aqua princess dress, and a variety of clothes, courtesy of Targe-t, daaarrrrlliiiinnngggsss.

And for moi? Why shoes of course. Lovely Summer sandals from Wittner.

And then in the car, I enjoyed one of these:

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It’s a baked cheese tart, and I believe it’s becoming quite a thing. Hokkaido is the name, their story originates in Japan using dairy from the island of Hokkaido, and as well as the Chadstone location, there is also a couple in the CBD, and in Box Hill. The short-crust pastry is crisp and warm yet soft, and the cheesy filling has a definite hint of sweetness, which upon completion you go “woah. Hand me the water.” Subtle, creamy, and smooth, I enjoyed it, and it is definitely worth trying to understand the unique combination of sweet and savoury.

So there has it folks. Chadstone shopping day, no. 1.