Sunday, 26 January 2014

It's a long way to the shop if you want a sausage roll...

Australian ex-pat trying valiantly to uphold national pride in -20C. Photo: Charles Cardinal

The title of this post is something probably only Australians of a certain age would get. It's a schoolyard twist on the lyrics to AC/DC's It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll); just try singing it and you'll see what I mean...

Today is Australia Day, and despite all the broader political ramifications and my personal uneasiness in recognition of Invasion Day, as it is also known, I am a little more nostalgic than usual for my home country. I celebrated by listening to '80s Oz Rock and making a batch of lamingtons to share with my classmates tomorrow. Surprisingly, there are two other Australians in my class, so I am not as much of an exotic creature as usual. I also made a batch of sausage rolls for Charles and I, which turned out to be the best I've ever tasted, perhaps because I've been so deprived. Like any good immigrant, I have soulful longings for the unique tastes of the Old Country.

It's a curious thing, being an expatriate. There is all the excitement and novelty of a new country, culture, and—frequently—language to explore, but it is so often clouded with a few greying drops of homesickness, as well as the involuntary comparisons. I can't even imagine what it must be like for immigrants who have had to leave their home against their will or for the preservation of their lives.

As always, I remind myself that the purpose of this blog is to enforce a positive view of change on myself so, like a happily tipsy father of the bride, I take the view that I am not losing my own culture, but gaining a second. (Gosh, I just remembered having a jumbonormous fight with a German boyfriend in 1998, when he claimed Australia didn't have a culture. Oh, my goodness!) As I sit here, I've been contemplating just what it is that I'm invoking when I think of that mythical beast that is "Australia." In essence it seems to be wide, open spaces, a freshness of both spirit and produce, and a lack of taking anything or anyone, including oneself, too seriously. But mostly it is the wide, open spaces. Oh, and warmth!

For years I have celebrated drives through those wide, open spaces with a stop at a country bakery for a sausage roll and a Farmers' Union Iced Coffee. It was a little tradition that I made for myself somewhere along the line, to the point now when a long car trip will induce sausage roll cravings. I've managed to find a suitable iced coffee substitute here, at the ubiquitously Canadian Tim Horton's chain, but it looks like I'll be doing a little pre-trip baking from now on because there really is no suitable alternative to the sausage roll here, and 16,000km is indubitably a long trip "down the shops."

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