... when you're constantly on the move, few things remain unchanged.

t is for tradition

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Anzac Square Brisbane.  The Shrine of Remembrance and Eternal Flame
In many ways Australia and America, both being christian countries, celebrate the same things and have similar holidays.  But there are a few Australian traditions I miss dreadfully.  Anzac day, celebrated on 25th April, (which incidentally is today over there), being the major one because of so many sentimental reasons: it's the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps day and a time when the entire nation stands still in commemoration and gratitude.  The parades, the speeches, the haunting sound of the bugle, the silence and the memories of one beloved Anzac soldier together with love for my close friends still serving to this day, will always and forever keep this day sacred to me.

At a Remembrance Parade and Ceremony, Anzac Square in 2012
Will, paying his respects
Melbourne Cup is another tradition I miss.  Of course the actual event is larger than life and the city gets a holiday, but no matter where you are in Australia on that day, you are expected to participate.  Ladies get dolled up in elaborate dresses, hats and jewels; men wear suits and off they go to work where they are undoubtedly greeted by a table of food and drink, underneath the biggest TV the organizers could find.  This is where, for the duration of the race, you will find most Aussies on Melbourne cup day.  Placing bets, screaming, laughing, crying, eating and drinking: then it's back to work as usual.

clowning around at the local races (not the actual Mel.Cup)
The Aussie tradition of Easter is different too.  For a nation that thinks bigger is better, America has definitely missed the Aussie-Easter-egg memo.  Our Easter eggs (and chocolate rabbits) are HUGE and I'd never quite given up searching for one of those traditional head-sized ones I always got in Aus, until this year.  I disparagingly gave up hope when one of the bloggers I follow (another Aussie ex-pat living in the States as well) wrote this post about how American Easter eggs are plastic and full of candy VS Aussie ones that are almost always chocolate: sometimes with candy inside; sometimes simply (deliciously) as large as a football.  It used to take me a week to eat my traditional present-from-the-parents egg, but that's how I liked it!

One American tradition that I have embraced with all my heart is Thanksgiving.  Never mind how it started, or what caused it in the first place, I think giving thanks is a wonderful concept!  Traditions are undoubtedly things that vary between families, but in America everyone celebrates Thanksgiving in some capacity and it's my favourite of Will's family's celebrations too.  Nobody goes around saying what they're thankful for but I like to sit back and make metal notes while Uncle Sean stirs butter into the mashed potatoes, Aunt Amy pours martinis, grandpa mutes the TV so that he can hear what we're all gossiping about in a 'subtle' way, grandma fusses over who's not eating... and bookmark all those moments forever in my memories that live in the thankful side of my brain.

One of the things I love most about Will's family (and something I hope remains a tradition), is how they can take a public holiday like Thanksgiving and turn it into a week-long celebration.  The women call each other to find out what we're all drinking, who's bringing what to the table and what we're wearing a week in advance.  Then we all 'conveniently' decide we're missing an ingredient or the right outfit and that we must go shopping - as if we need an extra excuse to get together!  Despite all of our preparation and fuss, our get-togethers are never structured or on schedule.  It's always chaos, but it's real.  Will's family isn't formal, they each are completely comfortable setting vague time frames and then going with the flow.  We're always allowed to take our pups with us and they run free, scrounging for food dropped on the floor while everyone helps themselves to the fridge or pantry and argue about petty opinions or reminisce about times gone by.

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Sharing my stories of migrating from Australia to the US | travel adventures | married life | furry kids | new experiences | lessons | and loving life despite always missing home. xo.


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spring in Austin TX

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