It's Australia Day. Or, more correctly, Austraya Day. Which means different things to different people admittedly - not all of them positive, not all of them with a 'celebration of a nation' spin. And that's fine. I personally don't feel the need to drive around with Austrayan flags pinned to my car and wearing fake Southern Cross tattoos, but each to their own. If it stays benign of course.
I'm not sure that I need a special day of the year to know that I am proud to be Austrayan. Because I just am. I honestly cannot think of another country on the planet I would rather be a citizen of (even Sweden, although if the SkarsGod was offering marriage, I'd accept dual passports, thanks Alexander). We still are the Lucky Country; despite seeing baboons attacking cars at Macca's drive-throughs with shovels and other primates attempting to wreck the Cenotaph, I do firmly believe this. And there are some very big reasons why I am grateful to this big sunburnt country of ours.
- Vegemite. Seriously - what's not to love? You don't like the taste? It's made of yeast, people! Yeast is in beer, beer is good, therefore Vegemite must also be good. Q.E.D.
- Our beaches. Nothing more needs to be said really.
- Our obsession with sport. Thank goodness.
- Freedom of speech. I may not like what a lot of troglodytes out there have to say, but then again, they may not like what I have to say either. What I do like is the fact that we can all speak out without fear of being hurried away in an unmarked van - or in my case, as a woman, quite possibly shot on the spot.
- Our sense of humour (or yewma, as Kath and Kim would say). We still take the pi... - uh, mickey out of ourselves better than most.
- The way we stand up for our mates - whether that is over the back fence or across the world. I know we indulge in the occasional tall poppy cropping, but I still think that in terms of standing by our friends - Aussies are fairly amazing.
- Our incredible food and vino. Yum.
- Our amazingly talented actors, musicians, artists, writers, scientists - all of whom we send out into the world... and never see again. Ha! (see point 9 for the ha).
- Our irreverence. Our mockery. Our sense of the ridiculous. Which thankfully has not yet been swallowed up by the almighty Bald Eagle. We may be on the road to the Hotel California - but we haven't checked in yet.
- Our ability to see when as a nation we have stuffed up - and acknowledge it. Sometimes it may take us a few hundred years... however, we get there in the end.
Random reasons? Probably. My reasons? Absolutely. Which is part of being an Aussie - I get to have my reasons - not reasons that anyone else wants me to have.
Australia, my gratitude to you. You rock.
Or that should be, you Uluru.