Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Americans in Australia and Australians in America
I decided to do research on Americans living in Australia and Australians living in America.
When we were in Australia, I didn't encounter many Americans (outside the ones we already knew and visited). I was with one American on the Bridge Climb. When we were in Manly eating lunch, I heard American accents coming from the table next to ours. In Port Stephens, one of the men working near the pool area talked to us with a Texas accent. I didn't realize it until he walked away. Then it hit me. And it bothered me. One of the reasons is we were leaving soon to go back to America. I didn't want to be reminded of that. Second, I was pretty anti-American at the time.
It's kind of funny being against a group you actually belong to.
Okay, let's say someone is homophobic. They might say. I hate gay people. They're disgusting. Well, except for my aunt's friend that comes over for Thanksgiving sometimes. She's okay. I don't mind her.
When your have prejudices against your own group, it goes more like this:
I don't like Americans. Well, except for my husband and my son. Oh and my parents. My sisters. Yeah. And my in-laws. Okay, gotta add most of my relatives to that. My best friend in college! He was cool. Oh and most of my teachers. My friends. My parent's friends. My sister's friends. Most of the actors on my favorite TV shows....
I didn't become anti-American overnight. It was a gradual thing--came mostly from reading books over a period of time. I read stuff about politics and family policy....September 11 stuff. I became very angry at my country. I did what a lot of a non-Americans do. I didn't direct my anger at American Government and corrupt corporations. I directed my anger at Americans in general.
I'm better now. The interesting thing is what helped me was reading comments in a blog which had Australians defending Americans. I think seeing Americans from the Australian point of view helped me put things in perspective.
I'm over being anti-American. I love us now. I think most of us are awesome--especially Stephen Colbert.
I have a new prejudice though. Sims 2 Townies. I no longer like them. They take my time away from playing with the Sims that I actually created myself. I no longer let my Sims marry and/or breed with Townies. Not only that, my Sims are not even allowed to talk to Townies. If one of them invites a Townie home from work or school, I send them home immediately.
Yes, I'm awful. A true bigot.
Okay, back to what this post is supposed to be about.
I really ramble way too much. I'd apologize, but an apology usually includes the assumption that I'm going to try and stop. I doubt that's going to ever happen so I'll just skip the apology.
According to Lord Wiki, there were 71, 718 Australians counted on the census who said they were American born or descendants of Americans. Sydney alone has sixteen thousand.
There were 11,798 African-Americans counted in the Census. I guess that would make them African-American-Australian.
Lord Wiki says this and it confuses me a bit: African Americans had a noted presence in the earliest British outposts in Australia, usually after a period of service in the British Navy.
Why were African-Americans in the British army? I'm so lost.
A lot of Americans came over in the 1850's because of the gold rush. They left the American Gold Rush to find more gold in Australia. Lord Wiki says some Americans participated in the Eureka Stockade.
Americans also had a part in the formation of the Labor Party. Lord Wiki says this is why Labor is spelled the American way and not the Australian way of Labour.
Over a million American soldiers were stationed in Australia during World War II. A lot of intermarriage occurred. Twelve thousand Australian women went off to the United States to get married.
Now for the other side of the story. There are close to sixty-one thousand people in America who are Australian born, descendants of Australians, or hold Australian citizenship.
Here, Lord Wiki says it was fifteen thousand war brides from Australia instead of twelve thousand.
Lord Wiki, get your facts straight! Make up your mind!
Out of the sixty-one thousand, only fifteen thousand are actually American Citizens. I wonder how many of the Americans living in Australia are Australian citizens.
This gets mighty confusing.
Lord Wiki is annoying me. I'm going to go and look at other websites.
There is an American Society of Sydney. The website itself isn't too exciting, but they have a cute newsletter you can download. And I did! At first I thought, if I lived in Australia, I'd want to use that time to do Australian stuff. But I probably would enjoy participating in their Thanksgiving thing, and stuff like that.
I am a little confused why Americans need an American school in Sydney. I would think part of the benefits of living in a foreign country is having your children experience the different culture. Wouldn't sending them to the schools, the locals go to, help with that? Although we would probably homeschool if we moved to Australia so I should probably shut up. BUT if we did that, we would join Australian homeschooling groups and not limit ourselves to joining American homeschooling groups.
I'm not trying to be judgmental. I totally see the benefits of joining a club or organization where you could meet people from your own country. I see how that could be a huge comfort--even for someone like me who really WANTS to live in Australia and live an Australian life. But the school thing goes a bit too far for me. The school does advertise itself as being international. I guess that's cool.
Although I'm sure there are also Australian schools that are international.
If an American in Australia is missing the food from their homeland, they can come to this website.
Their Pop-Tarts are all out of stock though. Damn them!
Tors, the lovely woman who comments on my blog sometimes, has her own website for Americans living in Australia. I visit it sometimes, but not too often because it makes me incredibly jealous.
Here we go.... from an Australian Government website: It says the estimated rate for Australian citizenship for American-born in Australia is 69.3%. The estimated rate for all overseas born is 75.6%. So, Americans are less likely to get citizenship than average.
Now let's go to Australians in America.
America has the American Australian Association. I don't think this is a social support group for homesick Australians. Rather, I think its purpose is to foster good feelings about Australia in Americans. They sponsor Australian-Week in January. It looks pretty fun, but unfortunately takes place in only San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles. Maybe we'll go one year; not 2009 though since we'll be going to the REAL Australia in February.
I had a bit of a time trying to find an actual support service for Australians living in America. I finally found Advance. They actually have services and programs for Australians living everywhere, but they also have specific American groups. Actually now that I look closer, it doesn't look like much of a support site either. Well, maybe it does. But perhaps on a more professional basis. It seems less family oriented than the American group in Sydney.
Homesick.com also provides some information about events and Aussie resources for the Australian Diaspora--in America and other places.
Nolita in NYC is becoming known as Little Australia--I guess a lot of Australians live there. I remember it being in the news last January because Heath Ledger lived there.
There's an upscale (read:expensive) restaurant called Eight Mile Creek.
For something more casual and less expensive, there's The Tuck Shop in the Lower East Side. You can get meat pies here (including Vegetarian versions!), Australian groceries, Australian beer, and other yummy food. I'm definitely going here if we ever go back to New York.
Here's something funny. I remember from back in my Foodie days that there was an Australian ice-cream place in NYC. I looked it up, and it turns out Australia Homemade is a company from the Netherlands. Okay, but it has Australian origins and also some Australian ingredients in it.
One last thing. Since Lord Wiki was wicked with his statistics, I wanted to get a more accurate count of how many war brides there were. I can't find that, but I did find The Southern Cross Group which has information for the war brides. Apparently, there was some new Australian Citizenship law in 2007. I think what it does is allow those who have lost their Australian citizenship to get it back again.
ANYWAY, today is a HUGE day for Americans. We already voted so now we're just going to sit around and see what happens. I'm very hopeful, but trying not to count my chickens before they hatch.