16 things only the Aussie children of migrants understand.

First generation Aussie? You’ll be nodding along with every single one of these…

I was the first person in my entire family to be born in Australia. My dad is Canadian, and the short version of mum’s background is that she’s part Greek, part Austrian, and was born in Egypt (just to make things EXTRA complicated).

So yeah, when it comes the struggles of first generation Aussies, I know ALL of the things. But I’m not alone – because almost half of all Australians have at least one parent who wasn’t born in this country. And along with the glorious multicultural fabric of our nation that this contributes to? There’s some pretty weird stuff too.

Here’s 16 things all children of immigrants will know to be true.

1. Your school mates probably laughed at your “weird” lunches.

But now olives, salami and sourdough are in and honey and marg on Tip Top white bread just won’t cut it.

So who’s laughing now, bitches?

2. Being asked where you’re from, erryday.

Taxi drivers, waiters and complete randos will ask you this constantly and apparently, Sydney is not an acceptable answer – it will be met with a knowing, “no, but where are you FROM?” If you’re a shade darker than Lara Bingle, you’ll be asked this question for life.

3. Having people make *hilarious* jokes based on cultural stereotypes.

Apparently Greeks are tight-arse and Canadians are dumb and fond of double denim.

Oh, and Hitler was Austrian.

4. Think you’re going to score some Maccas during a family car trip? LOL, no.

Fast food? The horror! No – you must have a thermos of hot soup, boiled chicken legs, sandwiches, chopped up fruit and carrot sticks, spinach and ricotta pie, and biscuits. Any less and you will most likely starve.

5. Having to explain your “strange” family traditions year in, year out.

Sigh. Yes, we dye hard boiled eggs and crack them after dinner at Easter. Yes, we open our Christmas presents on Christmas Eve and not Christmas Day. Yes, my mother can’t pay me a compliment without doing this crazy pretend-spitting thing to ward off the evil eye. That’s normal, right? Right?


6. Feeling like a deadest legend because you know how to swear in another language.

Opa, malakas.


7. Having a backup team during the Olympics/World Cup.

Oh, Australia is out? No wukkas, there’s still Greece. Oh, wait…

8. Feeling genuinely devastated when a friend comes over and you don’t have anything to feed them.

I’m so sorry, mum. I’ve brought shame upon our family.

9. Turning up to a party armed with just a packet of chips.

See above.

10. Not understanding why cricket is a thing.

I was actually 15 years old before I discovered what a “Baggy Green” was. And why do we still care about what Shane Warne does/thinks/says, anyway?

11. If you refuse seconds at dinner, your grandmother might actually weep.

“What, you don’t like my cooking? You don’t like my cooking! YOU DON’T LIKE MY COOKING.”

12. Having dual citizenship.

Oh, you need to apply for a visa? It must suck to be you.

13. No one will ever be able to spell your name.

Ok, so I got off pretty easy with “Alexis Carey”. But still, the name Alexis seriously stumps a LOT of people – I spend half my life spelling it out. And I imagine the struggle is much worse for those with more unusual/longer names.

14. Not understanding some slang.

Dry as a dead dingo’s donga, anyone?

15. Your mum will happily do your washing/cook for you. Forever.

I’m 28 and my mum still won’t let me go home after a visit without literally loading up the car with food. Winning.

16. Your family makes it’s own EVERYTHING.

Salami. Pasta sauce. Pasta, for that matter. Olives. Illegal DIY alcohol. Buying it from Woolies or Dan Murphy’s just won’t cut it, obvs.

Want more? Try these:

How do I infuse cultural identity into my Aussie-born kids?’

My adopted sister came to live with us. And now I understand racism in Australia.

“You’re not Muslim…. are you?”

Are you a first generation Australian? What else have we missed?

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