People ask me all the time “Where ya from?” and to be honest, I have a hard time answering that.
I normally don’t really want to get into it.. but, it’s kinda hard when you’ve got a strange Aussie/American accent (my Aussie friends say I sound American, and my American friends say I’m a dead ringer for Steve Irwin younger sister minus the nasty khaki outfit – go figure)
I normally say where I’ve recently spent the most time – Sydney.
Then, I get the whole.. “yeah, but your accent.. are you Canadian?”
I have to laugh for every time I’m asked that – Canadians HATE it when you ask them if they’re American – Americans don’t care if you ask them if they’re Canadian – they actually think it’s funny – I think it’s funny!
Then, I go into the whole awkward story about how I got to Australia right from the start.
I was born in New Jersey – this normally sparks either confusion: “Where’s New Jersey? Is that in California?” or.. if they’re of the younger generation “DO YOU KNOW SNOOKI, OR MIKE THE SITUATION? WHAT ABOUT JWOWW?! DO YOU KNOW JWOWW?” (and they deliver it with the excitement that warrants typing in caps! Yes folks, this is the age in which we live.)
So, then I politely lead them on for a bit.. “YEAH!! We were in High School! Yeah, they were major dorks…”
…and then after about ten minutes I start to feel bad and give them the the whole… “No… New Jersey is kinda a big place, I don’t know these people” (I kinda don’t want to – though, a lot of people I went to high school with did resemble them – just sayin’)
I’m from South Jersey to be exact – there’s a HUGE difference between North and South and if you’re from Jersey you know what I’m talking about – we’re taking Cheese Steak big difference , if you call a hoagie a hoagie or a sub big difference , and if you’re an Eagles or a Jets fan… HUGE DIFFERENCE…
But, I don’t really identify with New Jersey.. oops, sorry, SOUTH Jersey either because I spent a lot of my grown up years in Washington DC. That’s where I went to school. And nine times out of ten when people ask me where I went to University, this is the conversation that I get:
Person – Where did you go to School?
Tara – American
Person – Yeah, which school.
Tara – American University
Person – Yeah, I get that. Which school.
Tara – The American University in Washington DC.
Person – OOOHHHHH…….
And, that’s when it clicks.
Yep. I’ve got this pattern down pat! I did four years in Uni (that’s the American standard for you foreign peeps who do only three years of uni – and bravo to your educational system for not draining the monetary funds of students! I say, get in, get an education and get the heck out into the workforce!)
Okay – so six years in DC – two years after uni working for a few TV stations around there and then, I hopped on a plane to visit some friends I had met when I was a student in London (yet another place I’ve lived but really not long enough to consider a home) and jetted to Australia for my two week annual leave adventure (Thanks USA for a crap annual leave – by the time you get to Australia, it’s time to fly back! – Australia, you’ve got it going on with four weeks annual leave and any other country that has more… AWESOME – I’ll be coming to live in your country next!)
Then, they say… “Ooooohhhh, Okay.”
Person – So, do you go see your parents in New Jersey often?
Tara – no, my dad lives down in Delaware now…
Person – Where’s delaware? Is that in California?
Tara – No, Delaware is below New Jersey.
Person – Okay, so your parents moved from New Jersey to Delaware?
Tara – No… actually, Mom and Dad moved to Pennsylvania to a farm, then a few years later, Mom died and Dad moved to Delaware for lower taxes.
Person – oh, sorry to hear that..
See what I did there? I threw in the whole lower taxes thing to defuse the whole awkward death thing and to trump their question about why.. ha! (I’m so smart!)
But then, I normally get trumped right here…
Person – so does your dad visit much?
I could lie. I could say, “HELL YEAH! ALL THE TIME – It’s like he practically lives here” Or, I could tell the truth and hope that the uncomfortable conversation just crawls into a hole and DIES.
Tara – Nope. He doesn’t fly.
Normally the conversation goes one of two ways – It happily ends and we all go about our merry ways… or it continues…
Person – Why doesn’t he fly? (come on people, really do you need to go there? I certainly don’t want to go there! You’re smarter than this – you really are!)
Tara – Because he doesn’t like to fly.
Person – Doesn’t he miss you?
Tara – Probably. (Are you enjoying making me feel like total and utter crap that your parents are probably really cool and jet setting around the world?)
Person – so why won’t he get over it?
Tara – why don’t you shut up? (no i wouldn’t say that… but I’m almost always thinking it)
So yeah… there ya go – I guess to sum it up… Here’s my story:
My name is Tara and I’m from South Jersey. I went to American University in Washington DC and while visiting Australia – on the flight, the person sitting next to me offered me a job. I took it and moved to Sydney and I’ve been living in Australia ever since! Currently, I’m traveling around some pretty weird, wild and wonderful places whilst writing Taraustralis.com
An Aussie girl gone walkabout in the great big world!