Monday, November 9, 2009

Aussie Adventures

Yesterday Sandy and I went to my Aunt Maureen's for dinner. Her half-sister Carol was visiting from Australia. My Aunt and Uncle, and 2 of her daughters just got back from like a 3 week visit there themselves. They invited my parents, but neither can get THAT kind of time off, and they just can't afford that kind of thing right now. They are lucky they could afford the 6 days in Florida. I am so sad they didn't go though. My father has never gotten to see his mother's homeland, or meet all the relatives we have over there. Naturally, I would love to go myself, but besides not being invited, part of me does think, my Dad should experience it first. He is, after all, half Australian.

Anyway, we brought Auntie flowers and some chocolates. Sandy's idea, she can be a big softie. Dinner was served almost immediately. Lasagna, salad, rolls....mmm. We went and sat at the dining room table. My Uncle John, cousin Rebecca, her boyfriend Dean and his 5 year old Justin went and watched football in the den. I know, a family get together, and they hole away watching sports!! So for most of the evening it was the two of us, Auntie, cousin Sherri and Carol. My Cousin Mark showed up a bit late and joined us. Later, when the game was over, Uncle John joined us too. A lot of spouses and 2nd cousins were no-shows. Anyway, we had a really great time talking. We talked about Uncle Gerald (the uncle who hates us all) stuff, Uncle Garry (my Uncle who died of Cancer) stuff, etc. Some stuff about who is my Aunt going to leave Grandma's china to when she passes on, since her children all have everything they need. And it was like, ummm, you have nieces Auntie. That is MY Grandma too. I want her china. My sisters want her china. I won't go deep into that at this point, let's just say, we don't have much of our grandparents stuff, the really important memorable stuff, and we'd like to see that somewhat rectified. They were OUR grandparents too, and we spent the most time, especially before they passed, with them.

We got to see pictures of Sherri and my cousin Dawn holding KOALAS!! They are so lucky!! My Uncle ate crocodile tale and kangaroo. I could care less that he ate crocodile, it is the kangaroo that grosses me out! It's a kangaroo! Adorable, gorgeous Australian creatures!! BAD Uncle John!! My Uncle was giving Auntie much grief because she got an $85 ticket while speeding there. It has to be hard, you are driving on the wrong side of the road, in the wrong side of the car, going kilometers per hour, instead of miles per hour. So he has been making fun of her. Well last week he got a letter from Australia. He was sent a $5o ticket. They have security cameras at like all stoplights apparently, and Uncle John went through the line for people with Sun passes or fast passes, whatever they are called in Australia. Then, a few days ago, he received ANOTHER one in the mail, this one for $350!! And Carol (BTW, no relation to me. She is the daughter of my grandmother's first husband, who I have no respect for. He was bad to her, but it is not a kids fault who their parent is) says they are 3 weeks behind in Australia with parking tickets, so there could be MORE on the way!! I found that hilarious!! Auntie says he has to pay them off. My Uncle is like 76, so she says he can go be a greeter at Walmart! LOL! I would drive the hour just to SEE that!!

We had oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, some long name cake that has raisins and orange pulp, etc in it, and pumpkin spice bread for dessert. I loved hearing my Aunt and Carol talking. I LOVE the Australian accent. My Grandma had the thickest one, and I adored it. So hearing Auntie and her half-sibling talk, it was just lovely. I haven't heard that much accent since I was a little girl, and we had the family reunions in Lake George, NY. That was when my Grandma and Uncle Garry were still alive. So it would be Grandma, Uncle Garry and Aunt Maureen, all talking with their beautiful accents. You got used to having those voices around. So when Grandma died, and the reunions ended and we rarely saw Uncle Garry, it was only my Aunt's that we heard. So it was music to my ears. I made sure I told them so. Auntie then told me about Liam...wait...Ian? Anyway, he is a close family friend in Australia and his accent is half Aussie, half English, and he also uses Aussie slang, so it can be extremely hard to understand a word he says! I would love to meet him!!

I then remembered something. I am always telling my Aunt Maureen, that I want to try Vegemite. Ans she keeps telling me, when you come over, remind me!! I mean, this is an Australian staple, everyone loves it!! So she went and got fresh Vegemite for me. The jar in her fridge is quite old, apparently it never like expires...ever. But she wanted me to experience it fresh. And she brought a small jar of Vegemite AND Marmite out. Plus a bag a Australian Nestle candy. But the "mites" were first. Sandy took pictures as I tried them. I asked her to, I wanted to see my own reaction after. Now I know one of them is called VEG-emite. But for some reason I still expected them to be somewhat sweet. I mean they eat it on toast, crackers, alone, on everything!! So, listening to my Aunt's advice, I took just a tiny bit of the Marmite first.

Yeah, I did NOT enjoy the Marmite as you can see. It was so gross. The smell was almost as bad. Ugghhh. Then it was time to try the Famous Aussie staple, the Vegemite.

Here is a pic of what is inside. It has such a unique coloring to it doesn't it? The Marmite looks the same. Almost looks like chocolate doesn't it?

It is SO NOT chocolate!!

Hard to believe, but it was WORSE than the Marmite!! It was like 10 times more powerful/toxic than the Marmite! It was so salty and yeasty! Auntie was like, it is like eating a bouillon cube...uhm NO! I would glady have eaten a chicken bouillon compared to this stuff. Oh my, it was so disgusting!! How can my fellow Aussies LOVE this stuff? I just can't think of happily smearing this thickly on my toast and eating it, like Carol says her children do. *shudders* BUT, I am so proud of myself!! I ate Marmite and Vegemite! I have now experienced these two Australian "delicacies" and lived to tell about it!! I feel the Aussie blood in me pounding! I know it may seem silly to you, but I felt this was a huge embrace of my heritage. Which I love to do. Embracing my heritage. So it was quite an experience I will cherish forever.

To get the taste out we tried the Nestle Violet Crumbles.

I found them cool!! Sandy hated it, she gave me what was left of her piece. It is chocolate covered special candy. The candy has this crazy crunch. Sandy describes the candy as Astronaut ice cream-ish, and it is similar to that, but much crunchier! I found it fascinating!! I ate like 7. You can have 38, yeah 38, and it is only 8 grams of sugar! You can only get them there though! Aunt Barbara, Uncle Garry's widow, sent them to Auntie the last time SHE was in Australia. I need to find an Australian food catalog now, I want to try other candies you can only find in Australia. It could be in England too, because apparently Vegemite is popular in England too, but I want to find a catalog badly!! It was so fun, experiencing a candy that is unlike anything I have EVER experienced! It was such an Australian night!!

We had to leave soon after. I procrastinated for a half hour, because I was so not ready to leave, but Sam wasn't feeling so good anymore. So we drove home to poor, lonely Katie. I had no idea how lonely she had gotten until I talked on the phone with my Mom and SHE told me! LOL! So Sandy and I sat down on the floor, to be participants in a trial run for Katie's project that is due tomorrow. It is on time management for her Occupational Therapy Assistant school. So she had us do different activities, like pull a piece of twine apart, paint our nails, draw a picture of our biggest nightmare, write the same sentences as many times as we could, jog in place, and she was using a stopwatch and would tell us when to stop. After each activity, and there was like 10, we had to write how long we thought we had spent on each of the activities. It was fun, actually, I think she will do great, I think this really shows what she is trying to teach. Then we each had to read how long we thought we had spent on each of the activities at the end. My numbers ranged from 45 seconds to 57 seconds to 2 and 1/2 minutes. Sandy's ranged from 2 minutes to 4 to 7 minutes. Then we found out the twist. Every single activity had been the same exact time. Two minutes! It was like NO WAY!! Because jogging in place had felt like it took forever, and drawing our worst nightmare had felt like we had been given 45 seconds! But every single one was exactly 2 minutes!! It was so weird! She asked us a bunch of questions...Sandy did better than me, because when Kat would ask, what will you do to manage your time better, I was like, uhhh nothing, I am fine with having a skewed sense of time. What? I was seriously being honest. She appreciated that. Sandy told her I could represent the worst case scenario. Thanks Sam! LOL! Look I took a pic of my drawing of my worst nightmare! I thought it was totally clever! A spider...with a clown's face!!! *screams* Oh and I wasn't trying to be my artistical self, we were using crayons and markers! And I had no idea, at the TIME (LOL, I know...lame!), how much time we'd have! Good job Katie!!

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5 meaningful meanderings:

Amander said...

I hope you get to go there someday! And is it weird your review made me want to try Vegemite and Marmite?

TeeTee said...

awesome picture!

Sheri said...

Our neighbors have relatives that live in Australia and we were talking about that Vegemite stuff a few weekends ago, yeah it is not good! LOL

Tori_z said...

It's Marmite that's popular over here. Both Marmite and Vegemite are available in most shops though, and plenty of people eat both. Just as many people don't like even the smell let alone the taste though. It's definately an aquired taste!

Glad you enjoyed the time spent with your family.

Zak and Weezie said...

I LOVE Vegemite, I like it with peanut butter on toast.

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