It feels as if we have hit a hump, as if we are perpetually stuck at the ‘Wednesday’ of our trip. A combination of upset tummies, homesickness and delayed culture shock seems to be the culprit.
All of these emotions and feelings can be easily remedied by a weekend getaway to the beautiful, surfer town on Zambales. After two days spent in the salty water under the hot sun (with a few beverages included) wea arrived back ‘home’ (The Enchanted Farm) to start our second and last week of placement.
Australia day abroad seems almost blasphemous, a new experience for most of us. We are thousands of kilometres away from family, friends, snags, and beer and not able to undertake our usual customs and rituals.
To help ease the craving to book a direct flight Down Under and celebrate in home soil, two of the girls (Wynta and Leani) decided to throw an Australia Day BBQ, to give the locals, volunteers, interns and business people alike some taste of the fun-loving Aussie spirit.
The excitement and build up brought the group closer, as we shared stories from Australia Day’s past, and we got to glimpse into each others lives back home. We rolled our eyes in unison as Brit’s and German’s asked us questions (NO, for the hundredth time – we DO NOT ‘throw a shrimp on the barbie’. In fact, we don’t even call it shrimp. It’s a PRAWN!).
Some valuable lessons were learnt about throwing an event in another country along the way, such as – even though our flag is red, white and blue, doesn’t mean that all decorations can be red, white and blue, especially when the French interns at the farm largely outnumber us Aussies.
Despite some setbacks, the weather is sunnier and more beautiful than we ever could of hoped for in temperamental Australia. Of guests of honour for the festivities included people from the community, interns and influential business people alike – all mingling and celebrating together as equals.
As I looked around I realised that the Australia Day BBQ epitomised exactly what the Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm was all about – inclusion and solidarity. We had unknowingly recreated these values.
In the end, isn’t that what Australia Day is all about? INCLUSION. No matter what race, religion, gender, belief, ethnicity – we are all capable of embracing the Australian spirit.