In getting ready for our 5 month sojourn in Melbourne, Australia, we were pleasantly surprised by a clever going away party last weekend. When we were invited, we thought it was just going to be a dinner party in which we could say our good byes to some of our friends, but it was much more than that!
We got there and were greeted with appetizers with Australian flag napkins served by a friend who had found a local Australian store and bought vegemite. She had done research on how to prepare it and then made some delicious hors d’oeuvres.
During the dinner we were regaled with our host’s clever limericks written in honor of our leaving. My favorite two were:
There once was a couple named Sloss
For a sabbatical destination were at a loss.
Not wanting to blunder,
They Decided upon down-under,
Now they’re brewing up barbeque sauce.
Heidi will counsel the Aussies,
About being their own bosses.
She will dazzle them with knowledge,
Perhaps teach in their college.
And tell them how to avoid commercial losses.
Also during dinner another friend had us all play a game using Australian expressions. I learned a lot, for instance did you know if someone in Australia says to you to “belt up,” they are asking you in an angry way to stop talking. Or that “Bob’s yer uncle” means that everything will be all right as in, “ Just add extra water and Bob’s yer uncle.” Or if someone calls you “fair dinkum” it means you are really genuine or authentic.
Dessert was a Pavlova Dessert. This is a visually beautiful meringue in the shape of a tutu, named to commemorate the visit of the Russian Ballet dancer, Anna Pavlova’s visit to Australia and New Zealand in the 1920’s. Both countries claim credit for the dessert and I can see why, it was yummy!
After dinner two friends acted out a skit that they wrote for us called “Lost in Translation.” It was a fictionalized encounter between an Aussie and my husband about our move to Melbourne. It was clever and fun and pulled in all sorts of Australian expressions! Then we were each handed shiny kazoos and given the words to Waltzing Matilda as we sang or hummed out way through the song.
For a finale, another couple organized a game of Australian Charades. We broke into teams of men versus the women and all of the answers/phrases had to be something Australian. In coming up with ideas we thought we were being so smart, but it turns out to be a little easier if you know the answer has to be Australian. It also turns out that my husband is excellent at charades—who knew!
During the evening our friends who had been to Australia shared their travel stories and tips on where to go and what to do. I have to say that in 24 year marriage we have moved 7 or 8 times and had good-by parties before, but never one so well organized or clever with a theme! Not only was it fun, but more importantly it helped me to finally get in the mood to be excited about being there.
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