‘Here’s the thing,’ my best friend Diana exclaims loudly to an audience of 125. ‘She’s half bogan, half posh – a total 50/50’.
The ‘she’ in this instance, is myself. A fusion of two conflicting spectrums, a hybrid of Mick Dundee meets Lady Diana Spencer. An amalgamation of Rule Britannia and Waltzing Matilda. Very British mother. Very Australian father.
It was my 21st when Diana first made this extrovert observation, but anyone who knew me could have easily come to the same conclusion.
I really am a cultural hybrid. Suburban Australia inter-fused with South Kensington London – I always felt resonantly British when living in Australia. Likewise, now, I feel evocatively more Australian while residing in the UK.
It’s a difficult, conflicting but albeit amusing fusion of two worlds. My father brought me up with the following sentiment: ‘Smoke, and I’ll bloody belt ya.’
My mother’s tone was far more along the lines of: ‘Tea. Cake. Long walks.’
It would come to no surprise to anyone that they are divorced.
I must admit, most of the time, the British sentimentality and quintessential politeness shines through. I have a thirst for the arts, culture, travel and adventure – prototypically British traits.
Contrarily, when I am angered or frustrated, or libated – my brazen, suburban and blasé Australian characteristics begin to form.
‘Mate’, ‘You bloody…’ and even the contentious ‘C’ word rears its ugly head.
Here’s the thing: I don’t drink beer. I don’t particularly like tea. I speak with an interesting tongue of British dialect with a subtle Australian twang. I love the sea. I don’t particularly like cities.
I’m a walking, talking, human cultural contradiction. Two ends of the cultural and national pendulum battle and skirm internally.
I’m the girl who had an unquenchable thirst for British history and culture; Australia’s seemed so one dimensional. I longed to visit stately homes on the weekend, to have a genealogy tree and a family signet ring.
The vast azure blue of the sea, the Bottle-O with Wednesday night bingo and the endless hot days seemed a tad mundane.
Now, I long for a blissful sunny day. I want the freedom of the sea and the openness of the Aussie temperament. Sometimes, being an Australian girl in London can seem socially claustrophobic and suffocating; even utter the word ‘sex’ and they retreat in fear and embarrassment.
I love London, but I’m nostalgically and romantically attached to Australia. Wherever I go and whomever I meet, I will always be an Aussie lass. Just with a slightly different accent and a noticeably British façade.