I have a small confession to make. Well, actually, quite a big one, and one that I fear may result in our Australian visas being cancelled and see us ushered onto the first flight out of the country by clench-teethed officials.
You see, despite living here for more than a year. Despite our professed love of the Aussie way of life. Despite our attempts to assimilate into the Canberra community, there’s one thing that marks us out as not quite belonging.
We don’t actually own a barbecue.
I know, I know. I realise it’s the equivalent of moving to Texas and telling your neighbours that you’re a committed socialist. Or emigrating to Japan and turning your nose up at a plate full of freshly cooked whale-meat (harvested purely for scientific research purposes, you understand). Or telling the French that, basically, on balance, you prefer English cooking. But there it is. We don’t own a barbecue, which, as far as I can tell, is about as un-Australian as you can get.
We have a good excuse. The lovely big Weber barbecue we owned back in Denmark stood no chance of ever being clean enough to pass the import inspection of our removals container, so we sold it to the buyers of our old house and, as far as I know, it’s still sitting in its old spot, drumming up tasty fare for a new family.
And we really did intend to get round to buying a new one when we arrived. It was just that things like a car, school uniforms and air fares to visit home all took precedent. Then, before we knew it, winter was upon us and the impetus just fell away.
But now, in the middle of our second Aussie summer, as we sniff wafts of honey-marinated, sizzling somethings from over the fence. As every other TV ad features a smiling Aussie family clinking beer bottles over an array of smoking steaks, prawns and other such things, we feel fraudulent – plastic Aussies pretending to blend in while secretly cooking all of our food indoors.
So now, the secret is out. You can turn me in if you like. Just tip me off first so I can nip out and save our residency by picking up a cheap barby in the Boxing Day sales. Otherwise 2016 could be a series of blog posts from a detention centre, followed by a tale of our reintegration into life in northern Europe.
Deported for un-Australian activities. They didn’t even have a wheely bin with cricket stumps painted onto it. The neighbourhood was shocked that such a thing could happen unnoticed in their midst. Thankfully they’re gone now. They were always a bit odd anyway.