I’m MORE Aussie since leaving Australia
EXPAT ISSUES | There is something odd about feeling more Australian in the UK than in Oz but I’ve never felt more Aussie than I do while living here.
I GREW UP in Sydney with English parents and so have always lived amongst an ex-pat community. This also meant I grew up with rhyming slang, imperial measurements and Marmite.
I’ve often found it interesting that despite choosing Aus over England 35 years ago, and leaving what they called “that damp little island”, my parents still remained attached to their homeland. However living in London I am doing the same thing. I’m immersing myself in British culture whilst simultaneously reinforcing my identity as an Australian.
Many of us arrive in the UK intent on not being yet ‘another Aussie in London’ who only hangs out with their own. However we inevitably end up being drawn together. This isn’t just because of our common lingo and attitude; it’s also a sense of kinship from experiencing common assumptions made of our nationality.
I come across stereotypes daily; “every animal there can kill you” and “you’re all so upfront”. One English mate after a trip to the infamous ‘Church’ is too scared to revisit making the comment “you Australians drink like you don’t want to live!”
These gags no longer annoy me like they once did. I’ve reached a point where if I’m going to be judged as an Aussie, I may as well show people that ‘Aussie’ doesn’t just mean southern cross merchandise and beach-side soap shows.
In London people can’t help but pigeonhole us from the moment we speak. In fact I’ve never felt more Aussie as I do living here, due to the constant reminders every time I meet someone; “oh you’re an antipode, I always get this wrong, Oz or Kiwi?!”
I have met a more diverse range of Aussies in the UK (and travelling) than I ever would have in Sydney alone. Over here I am more Aussie not just by comparison to other nationalities but also because I want to be. Having a totally Brit background I thought I’d come and see how I’d fit in here. What happened was I ended up truly embracing my homeland whilst living in the motherland.
Also read: I’m LESS Aussie since leaving Australia