Monday, June 30, 2008

Can I Join the Club?

Back in my college days, I became obsessed with Judaism. It was kind of like my Australia obsession with one big difference. I actually WAS Jewish. I'll say this: Being obsessed with a culture/community you're actually part of is much less frustrating than being obsessed with one you're not a part of.

In my senior year at college, I went to Synagogue one Friday evening and met this young man. We hit it off right away and eventually ended up becoming best friends. Matthew was NOT Jewish, but was thinking of becoming Jewish. Seriously thinking about it.

There's a belief in Judaism that if someone wants to become Jewish it means they have a Jewish soul. All they're really doing is returning to where they should be.

Returning aint easy though and I felt for Matthew. I counted my lucky stars that I was BORN Jewish and did not have to go through what he went through. I don't remember exactly what it involved. Probably studying? Tests? I do remember there was some kind of awful symbolic circumcision. It involved his penis, a needle, and the rabbi observing.


And now I find myself in kind of the same boat as Matthew. I want to join something I wasn't born into. I want to be Australian. And seems becoming Jewish is easier than becoming a citizen of another country. Well, maybe not easier. I think it's that one takes more effort and the other is more about opportunity. Anyone can decide to become Jewish and then work hard at it and reach the goal. They don't need get their family to agree to it or find an employee sponsor. They don't need to make sure they're in the right career.

I mean some people like me suffer with desire while other people get Australia handed to them on their lap--whether they want it or not!

I can't just sit there and say I want to be Australian! I'm going to work hard and go for it! I have to convince my husband and my son that we should do this. I have to find one of us a job that is needed in Australia. We have to sell a house. We have to find a new home for our cats.

We'd have to dodge guilt trips and tears from the extended family. Although a person converting to Judaism probably has to face the same.

Becoming Australian seems way out of my grasp most of the time. Still, I have fantasies about it. I took the Australian Citizenship test multiple times online and passed with damn good scores. I get all teary-eyed when I read the Australian Citizenship pledge.

From this time forward,

I pledge my loyalty to Australia and its people,

Whose democratic beliefs I share,

Whose rights and liberties I respect,

And whose laws I will uphold and obey.

My fantasy of reciting this usually includes Kevin Rudd (Australian Prime Minister) standing before me as I say it.

Then the fantasy turns into a bit of a nightmare because I expect Rudd to say Welcome to the family, Dina. I'm ready for the big hug....or handshake. But then he says "You have one more test to pass."

And they bring out the Vegemite.

Rudd says. Let's make sure you're a TRUE Australian.

I start to tremble. I'm sweating.

Rudd says. No worries, mate. The trick is to spread it on thinly. But I know his definition of thin will be much different than my definition.

I say. I passed the written exam. I know so much about Australia. Isn't that enough?

Rudd says. Nope.

Can't I eat a Tim Tam instead?

Well, I guess eating Vegemite is much better than anything involving a needle and penis.

Who knows what will happen in the future?

I might hopefully one day have to change the name of this blog The Girl Who Became Australian.

Or seeing how the whole Jewish-thing turned out-- I couldn't care less about Judaism now. Maybe that's what will happen with Australia. Maybe I'll move on to something new.

Maybe Islam! This blog could one day become The Girl Who Loved Allah.

Oh! Then my parents would REALLY kill me!!!!


  1. Ok cuz-- seriously the Kevin Rudd Vegemite dream is the funniest thing ever. I love the "can't I just eat a Tim Tam instead?"-- guess what, I have yet to eat a Tim Tam-- I getting some this week!

    Anyway-- I would also just love to know what specifically you love about Australia/ns. From the perspective of an American living here it's hard for me to sympathize with your yearnings for everything Australia, but I'm hoping it would give me some things to think about.
    A new blog posting?e

  2. Hey...Tim Tams are pretty cool. And they come in all these cool flavors.

    I'm not sure they're good enough to turn you into an Australian fan though.

    You know what my favorite Australian food is....or at least something we can't get here. Chocolate covered licorice. I love that!!

    Anyway, I think the whole Australian thing is personal taste. You know? There are certain countries (I won't mention the names because I don't want to offend anyone) that I am so not interested in visiting. Other people love these countries and I just can't understand why. I would be very unhappy if we had to move there.

    I can tell you specific things I like about Australia, but I'm not sure it would make you like it. But I'll do it anyway.

    1. The wildlife. I love all the aussie animals. Even your dreaded bats!

    2. How it is so uncrowded there. So much wilderness.

    3. The beaches

    4. The people and I feel weird saying that because anytime you say you like or dislike a group of people, you're stereotyping.

    5. I do like the accents though

    6. I like the history.

    7. I like that the seasons are the opposite of us.

    I don't want to write too much because I should be saving these for future blog entries ; )

  3. They had vegemite in London too. It was terrible! But they thought peanut butter and jelly sounded gross. I guess to each his own...except in the case of vegemite which is objectively awful.

  4. Andrea,

    I was somewhat okay with vegemite. I mean I didn't love it, but I didn't think it was too gross.

    But then I mixed it with something...maybe cheese? And that did not work for me. After that, I got a bit nauseated everytime I opened the jar.

    I want to try it day.

    Or maybe not.

  5. As a proud Australian, let me say that I am deeply honoured that you want to become one of us Dina :)

    Now the whole vegemite thing...this is something that starts from when we are less than a few months old, our mothers mix it into out mashed vegetables and dip our teething rusks into this might take some time Dinah :)

  6. Mad Goat Lady,

    Thank you for your kind words. They mean a lot to me.

    I'll work on the Vegemite. My son liked it. Maybe it works better when you start young?

  7. I do know of one Australian who doesn't like Vegemite.. I find that stuff absolutely horrible.

    Tim tams I don't care for either, One thing I would miss if I ever moved back to the states would be Pizza Shapes

  8. "I took the Australian Citizenship test multiple times online and passed with damn good scores"

    Cool, didn't realise you could take it online. Do you have the website?

  9. Supermindy, I love Shapes. Honestly though, I think I like Australian food simply because it's Australian. I get excited just seeing "Australia" on the package.

    Gimmie, the website I used was I actually found it via Facebook.

  10. The vegemite thing does work better from a young age.
    But scrape just an itty bit on your toast each time and keep reminding yourself it comes from beer brewing...*hic* lol.

  11. I need to buy some new vegemite. The stuff we had is past the date on the jar.

    It didn't last long....It must have been on the shelves for awhile.

    Or does Vegemite go bad fast?

    I kind of imagined it being the type of thing that lasts years.

  12. It used to last a long time but lately ours has been going off like a 3 week old fish :(

  13. Jayne, I wonder if they changed an ingredient?

    It IS made by Kraft which is owned by Philip Morris--an evil greedy tobacco company.

    They could have changed something to make it go bad fast and then people have to go out and buy more jars of it.

  14. Wait. Never mind.

    Just did some googling.

    Kraft is no longer owned by Philip Morris.

    That's good news!

  15. Hi Dina,

    I found a link to your website in my Facebook notifications and was intrigued by the title. Wow! I must say you are passionate about Australia. It is such a compliment to hear an overseas person say such lovely things on the topic of Austrlaia. I also enjoyed browsing through the other topics in your blog which I thought were written very well.

    About the vegemite thing, here's how I do it:

    1. Toast white bread to a golden brown;
    2. Spread loads of butter (or margarine) on the hot toast so that it melts;
    3. Spread Vegemite sparingly.

    It's 3:00 in the afternoon here and I'm getting a little peckish. With all this talk of vegemite I think I might grab some on toast myself.

    Incidentally, I'm an Australian registered migration consultant so if you have any questions please thrown them my way (Email: I'm sure in your enthusiasm you have already consulted with a migration agent).

    Anyway, I hope that things go well for you and you get all that you dream of. If you end up here I'm sure that Australia will treat you well.


    Leesa Swan.

  16. Leesa,

    I think one of the great things about Vegemite is it gives you an excuse to eat lots of butter. I'm still not sure how I feel about Vegemite. But I do know I love butter--and all of it's evil unhealthy alternatives.

    We actually just ordered a new jar of Vegemite. We're going to try liking it again. Actually, I'm going to try. My son already likes it.

    Thank you for the compliments on my blog
    : ) I'm glad you found it.

    That's so exciting that you're a migration consultant!

    We actually did NOT consult one yet. We did sign up for some migration program online. We filled out a survey and it told us how many points we had. I've never talked to anyone personally.

    Right now my son is very resistant to the whole idea of moving to a new country and my husband no longer seems to be really on board. It's kind of a dream that has been put on hold for me. I'm hoping that after we visit Australia again, they'll be more interested.

    I was VERY obsessed before we went to Australia. I spent hours a day looking at migration websites. Then after we came home from Australia, I went from obsessed to pretty much desperate. I had a really hard time adjusting to being back in the States. My husband was open to the idea at the time and talked to a few people about getting a job there.

    Now I'm at peace with things. I still dream of moving there, but I'm feeling more like I can emotionally survive if I don't.

    I think this blog has really helped. I feel my life is so much about Australia now. I sort of feel like I live there without living there. I'm not sure if that makes sense.

    Of course it's easy to say that now. Once I get back to Australia, I'll probably not want to leave again. Although it might depend on who becomes president here. If a certain person is elected, I won't mind so much being American. If the OTHER person is elected....Well, I hope Australia can make some room for us!!!!

    I will definitely keep your email address for future use. Thank you SO much for giving it to me.

  17. I'm a bit late to the party here, but as a 26 year old Australian with a feverish dislike for Vegespew (fine, vegemite!), let me say that NOT liking vegemite makes you very Australian. Can't stand the stuff. And no one, no one, will ever get me to eat it. Welcome aboard!

  18. miss diarist,

    Hi! I love your cupcake icon.

    There's someone else who reads my blog and doesn't like Vegemite. I can tolerate it in VERY tiny doses. I don't think I'll ever love the stuff ; )