Welcome to Ocker-ville, beloved sister-in-law dearest
THIS week we welcomed my sister-in-law into the family.
Not the immediate family.
She was welcomed into that years ago.
First when she started dating my brother, and again when she married him.
No, this week we welcomed her into the Australian family, when she officially became a citizen.
Brazilian born, my sister-in-law has had a long and thorough education in all things Australian, thanks to my family.
First of all, my dad is as ocker as they come.
He'll ask you to pass the dead horse, he'll have a lend of you, and London to a brick he will end a conversation with hooroo.
More than once I have seen her look at my brother with confusion on her face, waiting for an interpretation. Hoo who?
When it comes to my sister-in-law, Dad thinks she is a little ripper.
Visits to the family farm, and a short term of living there soon introduced her to a few Aussies she wasn't keen to meet.
Cane toads, frogs, snakes and spiders and the occasional possum in the roof …. Fair dinkum it's a wonder she hung around.
I'm glad a few close critter encounters never put her off the Aussie way of life.
The opposite is true.
She loves this country so much I half expected her to turn up to the ceremony wearing her green and gold onesie, or at least her good going-out thongs.
She saved her patriotism until after the ceremony… when she was given a variety of traditional Aussie gifts; a jar of vegemite, an Aussie pride badge as big as a Frisbee, a shoulder bag with the flag, and an Australian native plant to put in the back yard.
The actual ceremony was short and sweet, ending with a rendition of the national anthem, which included the verse we all know and the second one we don't.
Lucky us dinky di Aussies had a sheet with the words.
There she was with her fellow new citizens, a beaming smile, surrounded by her family, friends and co-workers showing their support.
Now she is as true blue as the rest of us.
As one proud supporter yelled out when she got her certificate;
"On ya, cobber."