Learning to be an Aussie

Even though I’d much rather be living in London than Sydney, I’m not the type of person to wallow in self pity and not give living here a good go. Plus if I sat here all day and bitched about Sydney compared to London I’d just drive myself insane.

Sydney is what it is and we are here and that’s that. London will always be there waiting and although it’s very unlikely we’ll move back there in the near future, it’s highly likely we’ll get another stint elsewhere abroad.

So while we’re here for however long that may be, I want my kids to learn about Australia and who they are. Rob and I have done a pretty pathetic job of teaching them about where they come from. We left here without looking back in 2007 and embraced England with open arms so we have very English children who know bugger all about anything Australian. Plus we didn’t have many Australian friends in London either and none of the ones we did have had Australian children, so their Aussie exposure has been almost nothing.

So there are many things that other Australian kids the same age as mine know that my children don’t. Stuff you wouldn’t even think about.

I was doing some practice comprehension with Holly today. We bought one of those extra learning books from the newsagent to do at home and obviously it’s an Australian book so it refers to places and things in Australia. She’s finding things like that hard because she doesn’t understand basic stuff like what the capital cities of Australia are or what an Aborigine is. There was a segment in the English book on ‘The Dreaming’ and I had trouble explaining it to her without her looking at me as though I was speaking Mandarin.

We did another comprehension exercise and it was about Currumbin Bird Sanctuary and although most of the answers to the multiple choice questions were in the paragraphs, they assume you know certain things. So when it asked ‘which of the following are marsupials’, she couldn’t answer it because although she knows what a marsupial is she has no idea what a cassowary is. One of the other questions was what major city is Currumbin near if it’s on the Gold Coast. She has no idea yet because she doesn’t know where Brisbane is.

So I feel like I’ve totally failed her.

Luca is the same but it doesn’t involve as much learning. He came home the other day and said “Do you know that everyone in my whole class, except me, is Australian? Isn’t that weird?”. So I told him that actually he was Australian too and he was blown away that there were no other nationalities in his class. He is struggling more having a different accent, and is trying his hardest to sound Australian but instead it comes out like he has some weird quasi American accent. Bless.

And then yesterday …. for the first time since I’ve been back I used our clothes line. I didn’t have one in our garden in London and I don’t know anyone that did so today when I took the sheets out to the line rather than putting them in the dryer like I usually do my kids were absolutely fascinated at this big contraption in the backyard.

“Mumma, what is it”, Charlie said. “What does it do” he said. He and Jude both walked around and around pulling on the handle and looking up. It was the most hilarious thing I’ve seen in ages.

We have a LOT of Australianising to do!




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