Australia – one big mixed insalata!


It’s Australia Day, and I thought I’d share a conversation from Saturday night while out at dinner in Darling Quarter with some of the mums from the school my boys go to.

We had booked for eight but a last minute change turned us into a party of six, causing our table to be separated into one set for six and a very close table for two.

It wasn’t long before that table was filled.

Although I am of Italian background, I don’t speak the language but I do recognise it when I hear it and it didn’t take me long to realise that the two guys seated right beside us were speaking very fluent Italian.

An unwanted visit on the wall behind us by a huge spider prompted a very lively commotion between us and the wait staff. It was also a conversation starter between us and our two close neighbours and I acknowledged the Italian connection.

These guys were lovely, explaining that they had just arrived hours earlier and were passing through Sydney en route back home to Italy after a three month expedition in Antarctica, sparking lots of conversation and photo sharing.   

Wanting to know where the best places to visit were, one asked curiously, “You are all Australian, yes?” We laughed, nodding our heads, knowing what he was eluding to. All except one of our group were born in Australia but we don’t technically look ‘Australian’, at least to foreigners. We went around the table to share our backgrounds. It went like this - Italian, Greek, German, Australian, Italian, Greek…. but all Australian. They found this interesting.

We told them it got better and mentioned the backgrounds of our husbands – Filipino, Greek, Egyptian, Maltese, English and Polish. And that we all had children – in fact, we have 17 between us.

Again, he said, waving his hand, “and all Australian.” A big yep!

Watching them process this, one of the mums laughed and simply said “Yeah, this is Australia, mate – one big mixed insalata (salad)!!!”

Haha! So perfect and couldn’t agree more.  What a moment to feel proud.

So today, on Australia Day, I’d like to say to Enrico and Salvatore, who are still somewhere in Oz, that I hope you are enjoying our beautiful country and our amazing mixed salad of people.

Happy Australia Day everyone!