Australia Day Makes Me Feel Uncomfortable

I have umm and ahh’d about writing this blog all morning… but I can’t seem to stop thinking about it, so I have decided to stop and put my thoughts down on virtual paper…  Over the last 5 years my thoughts on Australia Day have started to shift and as I sit here and write this, I am feeling really uncomfortable with what today, Australia Day, represents.

5 years ago I wrote a blog called ‘3 Reasons I love this Sunburnt Country‘ and reading it back today has made me cringe… In the blog the only thing that upset me about Australia Day was the assumption that copious amounts of alcohol had to be consumed in order to truly celebrate.   Today, there are lots of things that upset be about the day… and ironically, I hadn’t even thought about the alcohol that will be consumed until I read the blog back.  I still love this Sunburnt Country and the reasons I gave in the blog still ring true, I just feel like they are now much less important.

My love for my country is also something I have had to wrestle with, and it is something that I have continued to write about, particularly over the past 12 months.  I have longed for our history to be different, to be able to start again and I have learned just a fraction of how truly unique and wonderful our long heritage is and that it should be savoured and treasured.   I want to be able to celebrate all things Australian, but I no longer feel like I can just blindly buy into the celebrations of the day without the darkness it also represents being felt.

Today my social media and news feeds are flooded with 2 things… both about the same issue… but not at all the same.  Half are what I would call ‘traditional’ Australia day posts… pictures of BBQs, flags, hottest 100 votes and general celebration of what it means to be Australian in 2017.  There were even some fairy bread lamingtons… what’s more Australian than that?  But the other half are calls to change the date of Australia Day, acknowledgements of the dreadful events of January 26 in years gone by and attempts to respectfully acknowledge the pain and suffering many Indigenous people feel on this day, which many of them consider a day of mourning.

So how do I as a ‘privileged white Australian’ work through this… I love a good public holiday and I would hate to see this one disappear, but I think we do need to seriously stop and consider celebrating being Australian on another day of the year.  I have watched a number of videos suggesting all kinds of dates and I have been surprised to learn how little history the date, the 26th of January, as a nationally recognised and celebrated holiday has.  I am not a miserable person who should crawl under a rock as some of our politicians might think, I am just one Australian who doesn’t think it is too much to ask, to have a national day that truly unites us, rather than one that continues to divide us and hurt so many.  I am not just trying to be politically correct, I am just trying to be human, compassionate, understanding and hopeful of reconciliation for all.  I don’t think this push to change the date should just go away, as I am beginning to think that many people would want.  It is not something we shouldn’t expect any one to just ‘get over’ and while it is certainly not a part of our history that we should forget, it is also not a day of national celebration.  I think it is time to stop and consider it.  If we can start a new public holiday for a football parade which benefits no one but the economy, surely we can alter one to bring people together.

Today I am uncomfortable, because I still want things to be different.  I want to be able to celebrate all of Australia, I want to be ok with being a white Australian, because I can live in harmony with all of those who also call this great land their own.  I also want to be able celebrate on a day where the Bunurong peoples who are the Traditional Custodians of the land on which I live can also celebrate because they are not reminded of the pain and suffering that has been brought to their people over the last 200 years.  I want to be able to feel comfortable and confident in the fact that we are moving forward together.  I want unity, harmony and peace… and if changing a date, shifting some celebration is what needs to happen to do that, then I support it.

I am proud to be an Australian, I am proud of where we have come from and mostly who we are becoming… (we still have a lot of things to work on) and I want to be able to celebrate with everyone… not just the selected few… who also happen to be the powerful majority.  It’s time to stand together and celebrate who we are…

Here’s to a less uncomfortable Australia Day in the future.

australia-day

It’s 2017 List Time!

Hey 2017, I have been waiting for you… waiting for a good reason to start lots of things again… all the usual suspects, like getting my eating and exercise on track, but also a brand new list.  I am really excited about this year and it’s list.  I am not really sure why, but it has a good feeling about it, which is enough for me to go with.

This year will be my 9th list… 9, can you believe it? That will take me to 900 things that I have ‘listed’ and attempted.  You can check out all the old lists by clicking the year they were attempted here: 2006, 20072010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 or 2016.  This year’s list is once again full of little goals, 100 of them all up… Some big, some small, some fun, some serious, some new, some re-dos, some very deliberate and some very very random but all things that at some stage last year I decided I wanted/needed/should do this year.

I really love doing these lists each year and the last couple of years I have been lucky enough to have been on some overseas adventures, in fact last year we started the year in Venice and the year before we were in New Zealand, so I jam packed those lists with the things we would do while we were away.  But this year we are regrouping and staying home, which means the list looks a little more like the lists of old… all home grownish, localish fun which means if you live near me… or want to visit me, you too can join the listing fun.  Seriously let me know if you want to help me… crossing things off the list is always more fun with someone else.

I am also hoping (like every other year) that 2017 will be the year that I get more consistent with blogging it when it happens… so that I can remember them all, not just all the big ones… anyway, that’s enough rambling about the list… here it is:

  1. Play some table tennis
  2. Learn to make a paper crane
  3. Do something special to celebrate my 30th
  4. Go on a book blind date
  5. Make Mrs Kaye’s cookies
  6. Have High Tea
  7. No more games in the morning… even if I am sick
  8. Try again
  9. Keep getting closer
  10. Go back to park run
  11. Go back to work
  12. Go back to school
  13. Paint something
  14. Build something
  15. Drink a bottle of water most days
  16. Have a ‘no screen time’ day or hopefully a couple of them
  17. Make some smores
  18. Go on a picnic
  19. Find out how floating lanterns work… how they are made etc.
  20. Go to the drive in
  21. Go Camping
  22. Go on a  road trip
  23. Swim in the ocean
  24. See a musical
  25. Do a fun run
  26. Have a spa of some sort
  27. Write a letter to myself to open in 10 years
  28. Help change something at home
  29. Start learning guitar again
  30. Get a haircut
  31. Take a photo everyday
  32. Exercise at least 3 times a week and make the most of my gym membership
  33. Send 20 hand written cards
  34. Eat/make paella
  35. Bake a lemon meringue pie
  36. Get a massage
  37. Participate in a scavenger hunt
  38. Do some trivia
  39. Try those multi fill water bombs and have a water fight
  40. Remember the important things: God, Dave, Health, Family and Communication
  41. Get better at shopping for my body
  42. Watch Hocus Pocus
  43. Go on a bush walk
  44. Use my new outdoor reading chair
  45. Blow some bubbles
  46. Play a board game
  47. Play a video game… not on my phone
  48. Go berry picking
  49. Have 5 different milkshake dates
  50. Try yoga again
  51. Visit a museum/gallery
  52. Blog regularly
  53. Seriously… be on time
  54. Get to work earlier and leave on time
  55. Keep my photo storage up to date
  56. Keep my computer up to date
  57. Meet Baby Lewis
  58. Try to make Turkish Delight… or just eat some real Turkish Delight
  59. Read 16 books
  60. Read at least 3 christian/devotional books
  61. Bake/cook something from 6 different countries
  62. Visit 3 different national parks
  63. Create an outdoor cinema in the backyard
  64. Go to a country town I have never been to before
  65. Watch a sunrise
  66. Get my car washed properly and then wash it least 5 times
  67. Read the book of Joshua
  68. Find some new blogs I like and read them regularly
  69. Cross at least one thing off my list each month
  70. Go to the fancy McDonald’s in Clifton Hill
  71. Finish cleaning out the spare room
  72. Three words… ‘home cooked meals’
  73. Have a spend nothing day at least once a month
  74. Get up at 7am on work days
  75. Make a quiche
  76. Have a non liquid breakfast at least twice a week
  77. Finish Gilmore Girls
  78. Check out Hungarofest
  79. Stop using Eastlink… just leave earlier
  80. Find out if our house has a legit hidden fireplace… or just get some proof of hope
  81. Find out where our local swimming hole is and use it
  82. Remember Joshua
  83. Try the crochet thongs/uggs
  84. Stay at the Langham
  85. Try Danny’s Donuts
  86. Finish sorting and storing the VHS tapes
  87. Blog about being thankful at least once a month
  88. Get my steps up again… ideally to >10,000 per day
  89. Learn how to play a new game
  90. Go interstate
  91. Get both the Europe and New Zealand Photo books ready for print
  92. Finish watching Star Trek Next Gen
  93. Go on a romantic get away
  94. Try 4 more local cafe’s in the search of our new local
  95. Finish my sentence a day book
  96. Improve my 5km time
  97. Do some colouring
  98. Go to bed earlier
  99. Clean out the Kikki.K folders
  100. Be deliberate about filling the house with good things like flowers and music

And there you have it… 2017 I am so glad you are here!

2016 – Photos, Lessons and Thankfulness

Ok so today is the last day of 2016 and I can’t tell you how ready I am for 2017.  It’s not that 2016 has been all bad, it hasn’t.  There is a part of me that will actually miss the things and events of 2016, but I am ready for something new.  Ready to start again.  2016 has held lots of my best and most treasured moments, our travels around the world, new friends, old friends and meeting and holding my baby boy for the first time.  But the second half of 2016 has also been my hardest time to date, saying goodbye to Josh way too soon and learning to live in world where he was and now isn’t.

Much of 2016 was unexpected, but through all of this I have grown.  I have learnt more about myself, who I am, who I want to be, and where I need to make changes.  More about my family and friends, just how important they are, and how much they love Dave and I through both good and bad.  And more about what is important in life, how much trust I have in Jesus and that even though I may not see the whole picture I can trust that this is part of something much bigger than me.  That this year has been and will be way more important that I will understand for a long time.  I have learnt to hold on to the things that I know are true and good and to hope and celebrate joy in really really crappy places.  I know that “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28, NLT).

Looking forward to 2017 I must “be strong and courageous! I must not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord my God is with me wherever I go.” (Joshua 1:9, NLT with my paraphrase).  God has this covered, he has Dave and I covered in his love, in his grace and in his mercy.  His love brings joy and peace beyond understanding and circumstance.  We have good things ahead and my hope is that we will see some of these in 2017. 

Usually at this time of year I would right a blog looking back at the year through the photos taken on my iPhone which I am still going to do, only this year instead of writing a highlight of each month, I am going to write about the things I am thankful for.  On most occasions these are also the highlights, but practicing my gratitude and highlighting the blessings brings me a lot more joy than just telling you that something was good.  It’s also better for my brain. So this is what 2016 looked like through the eyes of my iPhone with my gratitude lens on.

January…

I am thankful for:
•  Travel, exploring Europe and having my mind opened to more of the world with the best travel buddy I could have ever asked for, Dave.
•  Meeting new friends.
•  Polka bands and spoons in Austria.
•  Exploring London, Paris and Disneyland with my best friend.

February…

I am thankful for:
•  Warm weather and food with friends old and new.
•  Parkrun and it’s ability to engage my fomo so I actually exercise.

March…

I am thankful for:
•  More food and sharing it with more people – this seems to be a theme of my life.
•  Inverloch and the opportunity that it gives me to step back and slow down.
•  Beautiful cards from Happy Mail that I have been able to share.
• Learning about snapchat filters and the fun they have brought… even though I still haven’t quite conquered snapchat.

April…

I am thankful for:
•  The outback and red dirt and the feeling that I get when I am standing surrounded by it.  By the incredible landscapes and history our home holds.
•  Camping, hiking and exploring new and beautiful places with Dave’s family and how much closer I feel to them after having these experiences.
•  Getting over my fear of bugs, I don’t know how, but I do know it happened in April and now they don’t bother me… at all, it’s really nice.
•  Birthdays and the wonderful excuse they are to catch up with people and eat delicious treats… see I told you it was a theme.

May…

I am thankful for:
•  School and the community that it is, for the wonderful and talented kids, for our trip to Mt Gambier and watching them perform in the Lion King.
•  5 years with Davo as married couple.  Marriage just keeps getting better and better and it is still the best decision that I have ever made, to say yes to him and to get married.

June…

I am thankful for:
•  Finding out we were pregnant, even if I wasn’t quite ready.
•  For work and the fun things I get to do, talks, presentations, adventures and be creative.
•  Bram and Jean and the impact they had on Box Hill Salvos, but also on Dave and I.  Their wisdom, humility and enthusiasm is something that I greatly value.  For Bram and I’s competitive parkrun spirit and his encouragement of my running.

July…

I am thankful for:
•  Anti-nausea medication and the difference it makes.
•  The generosity of friends and the wonderful and relaxing weekend in the city it provided for Dave and I.
•  Catch ups with new, but great friends.
•  The joy of sharing good news with family.  For how excited they were and how much they loved Josh, even before we new he was Josh.

August…

I am thankful for:
•  Sharing my pregnancy with one of my best mates and having an endless supply of food at our shared desk.
•  Scans and how incredibly detailed they are, for seeing Josh move around and starting to get to know who he was.
•  The joy of sharing our news of Joshua with our wider group of friends and family and the amount of love that was poured out.
•  More sunny days as winter started to disappear.

September…

I am thankful for:
•  Cleaning things out and making way, decluttering and letting go.
•  Our Babymoon to Lakes Entrance and time spent with just Dave.
•  The incredible example my grandparents are in their marriage, 60years strong and still so in love.
•  Tiny baby clothes and toys.
•  Another scan and the detail in which we were able to see our perfect baby growing.
•  Turkish Delight milksakes and pink donuts.

October…

I am thankful for:
•  Dust and Jess and the exciting news that our Baby was getting a cousin.
•  Spending time with friends for the grand final, birthdays and mario party.
•  Holding Josh and being about to spend 3 heartbreaking days with him, for how perfectly he was made and how beautiful he was.
•  Watching Dave with Josh and falling even more in love with him as he became a father to our tiny boy.
•  Being able to sing, kiss and cuddle my precious little one.
•  Friends and family that stood in the gap for us as we grieved, for food and gifts that filled our house and for love that was poured out so abundantly.

November…

I am thankful for:
•  Learning to breathe again.
•  Sunny days to spend out on the deck and catching up with family.
•  Gingerbread, Christmas Trees and the Christmas Movie Marathon voting system.
•  Our photo wall and being able to put our whole family up there.
•  Singing to celebrate on of my old teachers at school and the impact he had on our musical lives and just singing in a choir again.
•  Heartfelt and their gift of beautiful photos of Joshua

December…

I am thankful for:
•  Polaroid photos.
•  Having Kirsten home for a couple of weeks and getting to hang out with here.
•  Crafting and blogging and having time to due some fun projects.
•  Perfectly wrapped Christmas gifts.
•  Christmastime – meals, celebrations and time spent with those most important to us.
•  Joshua’s tiny hand prints on our tree.
•  More time on the deck.
•  Summer, heat and our new air conditioners.
•  Time to reflect.

There has been so much to be thankful for and really this is just a snap shot.   Despite the pain and turmoil of moments, 2016 has been pretty good, really good actually, but I am still looking forward to 2017 with the hope of even more joy.  I will be strong and courageous, and I will trust that there is good because I love God and he loves me and will be with me whatever 2017 holds.