Wednesday, April 26, 2006

ANZAC day, hug an Aussie, etc.

There is little knowledge of ANZAC Day, Gallipoli, etc. over here (no surprises there)... except for one of Paul’s colleagues, Kerem, who is out from Turkey at the moment and gave Paul an appreciation of what the commemoration means for the Turkish people. Of course, there were many, many more Turkish than allied casualties. The thing we found interesting was that the first World War was a defining moment for Turkey as a nation. Prior to this event, the Ottoman Empire were like a muslim-based ‘collective’ of different groups. In a nutshell, the War provided the impetus for the Turks to unite as a single national group.

My friend Deborah, who had visited ANZAC Cove some time ago, had told me about the beautiful inscription there that provides a tribute to those that died at Gallipoli:

" Those heroes that shed their blood and

lost their lives...! You are now lying in

the soul of a friendly country, therefore

rest in peace. There is no differences between

the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they

lie side by side here in this country of ours...

You, the mothers who sent their sons from far away

countries wipe away your tears. Your sons are now

lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having

lost their lives on this land they have become

our sons as well."

ATATURK, (1934).

We ‘celebrated’ ANZAC day on Sunday at a local pub, The Globe, with a number of other Aussies and watched Peter Weir’s Gallipoli. This apparently is an annual tradition, instigated by Warwick, a tall Melbournian who, (I am sure was his class clown) has been in Chicago for about 5 years and moonlights at The Globe as a bar tender on Tuesday nights. We ate Australian roast lamb and listened to a medley of Australian songs (Still Call Australia Home, Road to Gundagai, Bound for South Australia, Waltzing Matilda) played by another Aussie on the bag pipes. The music was really stirring (bagpipes are so powerful - particularly in a confined space), and brought a tear to the eye. We felt a little homesick again... Paul was due to go to an official ANZAC Day event at the Australian Consulate on ANZAC Day (25th April), but a tummy and tiredness bug that has affected us all, had Paul working from home, and not inclined to go out at all.

Today it is ‘officially’ Hug-an-Australian Day. Well, so Paul’s brother Rowan tells us. Rowan and his wife Shirley live in Houston, Texas. Rowan wrote to me earlier to tell me he had received quite a few hugs from people at his work and he found this “nice, if a little odd”.

The weather has been all over the place. T-shirt days have been followed by days that require the winter woolies once again. On Monday we met Margaret and her children Liam and Fiona at the zoo - it was a gloriously sunny day and we were in short sleeves. Yesterday I ventured out in the morning to witness rain and 3°C! Today is somewhere in between. Paul is working from home, Nic is asleep, and as it is currently 13°C, I am going to take a little boy out for a walk....

....We are now back from our walk. Warm in the sunshine, a little cool in the shade. Luc and I went to the Austrian Bakery & Deli for a piece of cake. A lady there was making marzipan characters (that looked like little Mozarts). As Luc was eating his lemon mousse cake (his choice), she brought over an exquisite little marzipan lady bug she had made especially for Luc. Upon species identification, Luc immediately ate it! Next stop was the Edo Sushi restaurant where we asked for a ‘carry out’ (take-away) menu, and ended up having lunch. Luc is a big fan of sushi. He loves the pickled ginger, miso soup and sushi rice (including the more tender sashimi) but is a little wary of wasabi. I think it might be related to a former incident involving wasabi peas... and lots of water to follow. It was time to go home after Luc locked the door of the restaurant (unbeknownst to me) and another diner had to get up to let some customers in.

The photo above was taken at the zoo on Monday. The polar bear took quite an interest in Buzz Lightyear.

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