For those of you who don’t know, my mum’s family is Italian and my Dad’s Spanish. I was born and raised in Sydney and whenever I’m asked my background my answer is always Australian, but there’s no doubt my European families have influenced my upbringing.
I like to think I’m super modern and “true blue Aussie” but I still won’t go to a friends house for dinner without bringing something along and whenever I see someone spill salt, I wonder if they’ll toss it over their shoulder.
I’ve made a list of seven things you’d only know if you grew up in an Australian-Italian/Spanish/Greek/Maltese etc family. I would love for you to share if you have any more things in the comments below.
THE FORBIDDEN LOUNGE ROOM
Every grandparents’ house has the no-go lounge room that no one ever uses nor would you be allowed to if you asked. It’s always immaculately clean with every frame of a saint straight and dusted, each lace doily the crispest white and features a vase filled with fake flowers resting on the coffee table.
For years I’ve wondered, do they actually host people in there? do they sit in there when we’re not there? This is one mystery I’ll never solve.
THE SPECIALS CUPBOARD
I remember once needing a band-aid at my grandparent’s house and my Abuela (grandma in Spanish) told me where I could find one. I was met with an overwhelming sense of confusion when I opened the cupboard in the bathroom.
Me: “Abuela, why do you have 20 bars of Palmolive Gold soap and 12 bottles of Alpha Kerri moisturiser?!”
Abuela: “It was half price so I bought it at the cheap price”
….She’ll be stocked til 2025 at this rate!
Whenever my cousins and I would play soccer in the backyard, our Abuelo (grandpa in Spanish) would be heard yelling something incoherent whenever the ball came too close to his lettuces. It was as if he could hear his plants from inside the house.
I remember once my sister and I convinced our Abuelo to host our friends for an authentic Paella lunch to which he happily obliged. After we devoured the mountainous plates he dished up for us, he began showcasing all the veggies he’d grown in his garden with a personalised tour of the backyard.
After we were shown the lettuces, the chillis, the fruit trees, his orchids and all his herbs, he disappeared into his shed and returned with a hanky resting in his hand. As he slowly unfolded it, he revealed seeds he’d be holding on to for the perfect moment to plant his top-secret Spanish tomatoes.
The relationship a grandfather has with his garden is sacred and I don’t think we’ll ever understand.
THE “I WAS WATCHING THAT” DAD
I love my dad, I really, really do, BUT, his TV show choices comprise of the most boring, mundane, bogan shows on TV.
From storage wars, a show that auctions off old storage units full of
junk prized possessions, to Pawn stars, a family drama that sees customers attempting to sell their goods to a pawn shop for 12 x more than it’s worth, and agreeing to accept 0.02% of the original offer.
I get he works super hard and I understand when he sits down on the couch each evening, it’s easy to doze off but why can’t I change the channel!?
It’s as if his circadian rhythm is in tune with Jim attempting to sell his replica Olympic medal glued to a Samurai sword for $5,000 or the commentary in the Manly v Bulldogs 1995 NRL grand final and whenever we reach for the remote and change the channel, magically he awakens.
“Why’d you change the channel, I was watching that! Put it back!!”
And repeat this for the rest of the evening.
WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO GET MARRIED AND GIVE ME GRANDCHILDREN?
Don’t worry about the 5 years spent at uni and the goal of making a name for yourself in your career, the only question your family wants to know is when you’re making them babies.
My mum often tells me to just to have one and she’ll take care of it and I can go back to work- I’m not sure if it works that way.
My Abuela started guilt-tripping my sister and I recently and told us she’d love nothing more to be a great-grandmother before she dies. Wow, thanks for making me feel like your life will be unfulfilled if one of us don’t get married and make babies.
WHY IS YOUR MUM YELLING?
It seems the conversational volume of my family is a lot louder than those non-wog families and for outsiders, it takes a bit of time to get used to.
I often ask my mum why she’s yelling, to which she usually responds, “I’m not yelling I’m just talking” …to who? The neighbour?
WHEN YOUR PARENTS BUMP INTO FRIENDS WHEN OUT
Whether it be next to the sugo in aisle 5 at Coles or on the street between the deli and bread shop, time slows time whenever your parents bump into their friends or other family members when out.
Their conversation never seems like it has an ending as it continued to go round and round.
“Zia Concetta told my dad that your mum had coffee with Zio Pino last week and he said, Compare Giuseppe is going back to Italy and my dad now wants to go to, is your mum going?”
“No my mum was talking to Zia Rosa about Zio Francesco going to Sicily because the prickly pear is in season and he wants to get some seeds to bring back but Zio Pippo is coming to Sydney next month so they don’t know if they should go before or after.”
There was nothing worse having to wait until they got to the bottom of why Zio Pippo can’t just smuggle in the seeds past border control and why on earth anyone was having coffee with Zio Pino.
But with all the craziness that comes from living in a woggy family, I wouldn’t swap it for the world. Plus, Dolce & Gabbana thinks it’s cool, check out the hero image above!