An Aussie at Heart

Australia, the land of sun and fun! You may wonder why, as an Australian, I have not yet written about traveling in Australia and all it has to offer? Well, this is simply because it has so much to offer that I do not know where to start! I’m sure I will eventually begin hacking away at blog posts describing all of my favourite places to visit, but for now I am going to focus on Australia and Australians in general.

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The name Australia, is derived from the Latin Terra Australis (“southern land”). This great southern land truly is one of a kind, offering everything from white sandy beaches, green lush rain forests, to the red deserted outback. It is also filled with the friendliest people you will encounter. I guess the fact that it is so isolated from the rest of the world has therefore ensured that it remains as it is, unspoiled by war and overpopulation.

Australia’s population density is 2.8 inhabitants per square kilometer, which means that Australians have more living space per person than inhabitants of any other nation. Granted a huge chunk of the country is pretty much inhabitable due to the harsh outback (20% of the country is classified as dessert with additional areas considered to have a dessert climate). Therefore, the majority of Australians live along the beautiful and rugged coastlines. Did you know Australia has approximately 36,000 kilometers of coastline?! Australia is so large that it takes almost five hours to fly from Sydney on the East coast to Perth on the West coast, or about 4 days to drive it (if you drive about 1000 kms per day)! In my home state of Victoria alone, you could actually fit six of the Netherlands!

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Australians in general are pretty down to earth and relaxed in nature. Maybe due to the sensational weather? It’s almost always sunny and this has been proven to increase those happy hormones. Or maybe it’s due to their active lifestyles, with the majority of Aussies playing some sort of sport all year round, whether it be AFL football, rugby, tennis, cricket or netball. This sportive lifestyle is both healthy and extremely social.

Aussies are in fact so relaxed and easy going that, over time, we have even created our own version of the English language! We went and abbreviated everything so that we didn’t need to use full words. Here is a great little video which gives a quick tutorial on how to speak like an Aussie…

I grew up in northern country Victoria, by the mighty Murray River, which is actually the border between the two states of Victoria and New South Wales. Our back yard was the bush, which was filled with kangaroos, koalas and other wild life. We loved (and still love) to go out camping in the bush along the river. I do miss the smell of the eucalyptus trees, looking up into the sky at night and seeing the billions of bright stars, and waking up in the morning to the sounds of the birds, even the loud skawky cockatoos. Every time we go back for a vacation, we always make sure that we fit in at least a few days camping out by the river.

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Australia is the land of extremes. We experience regular bush fires, floods and droughts, which devastate the lands and wildlife. However, we have no active volcanos and experience little if any earthquakes. Yes, we do have the world’s most dangerous snakes and spiders sharing our land with us, but rarely do we bump into them and look, I survived didn’t I? 🙂

My husband and I were married in the country town of Echuca in Victoria, Australia. Located on the Murray River, this was the perfect setting for our special day. Ten of our closest Dutch family and friends flew in for the occasion. They joined 70 of my Australian family and friends to help us celebrate. Although it was a scorching 43 degrees, it really was our perfect day and we will actually be celebrating our 9th wedding anniversary this week! How time flies.

Once married, we relocated to Sydney, New South Wales. This was where our two beautiful children were born. They now therefore have both Dutch and Australian passports and also have family members living in both countries. So when they become adults, they will be able to travel back and forth with ease, or even choose to live in either country, whether temporarily or permanently if their hearts desire. I am already preparing myself for this possibility and I am happy that they will have the choice. They are growing up to be true global citizens, and the world is their oyster!

So after being born in Australia, being married in Australia and giving birth to my two children in Australia, you may wonder, why did I choose to leave? Rest assure, my love for Australia has not diminished at all, it’s just that my love for my husband is even greater.

Even though I am currently living elsewhere, I am still proud to be an Aussie and without a doubt, still an Aussie at heart. I always will be. I still feel great pride if someone yells out “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!” and will always respond with an “Oi, Oi, Oi!!!” Yet, at the same time, I also love the colour orange and wear it with pride on King’s Day each year here in Holland or when the Dutch football team is playing. I have discovered that it is entirely possible to be both a proud Australian and a proud Dutch resident simultaneously. I’m just like a thriving tree that is branching out here in the Netherlands, yet my roots will always be firmly planted in Australian soil.

Kristen

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