In 2018 Australia Day fell on a Friday, so naturally it made sense to plan an Australia Day Party. But I didn’t end up celebrating on the Friday – not because of any political or cultural concerns – just because Friday isn’t a holiday in Austria, and Triple J’s Hottest 100 was moved to the Saturday. Which I’m totally on board for, by the way, but I don’t want to get into any raging debates about that!
So how would we celebrate on a cold January day in Austria, you ask? By having a BBQ, of course! We stocked up on snags, hubby prepared pistachio burgers and I made the coleslaw. And what was the weather like on this cold January day, you ask? Ridiculously warm and sunny for Austria in January – it hit 8 degrees and hubby was grilling in a t-shirt!
I bought a whole host of Aussie stuff back with me from Australia. So along with the onesie that I’ve had for a while, I added serviettes, balloons and the piece de resistance – a blow up kangaroo. And boy was he a hit with adults and kids alike!
Triple J’s Hottest 100 has always been a big part of my Australia Day. Technically I could have woken up at 2am and listened live. But let’s be honest… there’s nothing fun about being drunk and tired at 8am. So we recorded it, and at about 9am on the Saturday, it was time to begin.
And it all came back to me. The build-up, the unreasonable-to-most excitement that the time had finally arrived and the countdown would begin. Unfortunately these days I’m not quite up to date with the Triple J playlist, but damn it was still an awesome countdown. Ok, I question number one, but that’s just my personal opinion.
And no, none of my Austrian friends had any idea of what was going on or why they were really celebrating. They didn’t have a clue about the background to Australia Day and the controversy that surrounded the 2018 date. They didn’t know the number of times I had dutifully listened to the countdown; that I used to religiously write down every song while it played, even when the internet deemed it unnecessary – even in a boat floating down a river with a pencil and a plastic envelope to protect the list – even in the middle of band camp when I used to hide my Walkman and list under my seat to sneak in my ears in between practice.
No one had a clue. For them it was a celebration – and a good way to catch up with us after we’d been in Australia. And of course, it was a good excuse to get pissed! And in the Australian way, we sure did. There were copious bottles of wine consumed, and snacks through the night, all the way down to mandatory hangovers on Sunday.
We had Jumpys (Austrian chips shaped like kangaroos), we had BBQ, we had beer & cider, we had the Hottest 100 countdown, we even had pretty warm weather… oh… and I made a PAV – an epic PAV. I don’t care that I made it out of a damn Pavlova egg (also imported from Oz). It was my first pav, it was a success, it looked amazing and everyone seemed to enjoy it.
I was a bit worried I would feel sad when it got to that drunk part of the evening. And perhaps there was a touch of it, since I did send a couple of heavy texts back home, but it was just a touch. And I am very grateful to all my Austrian friends and family who joined me to make my Australia Day (almost) exactly what it should be!