I’ve never had so many people wish me “Happy Easter” as this year in Oz – it’s a really big deal here, far more than I’ve ever been aware of in the UK. All the pubs closed here at 10pm on Good Friday and shops that wanted to open on Easter Sunday had to put in special applications for licences to do so. And there were quite a few Easter decorations around – bunnies and lambs and the like – that I’ve not really noticed before, except in gift card shops! I think it’s a reflection of what seems to be a much more prevalent Christian culture than exists you get in the UK these days. Don’t know what % of people in Oz go to church regularly but it feels pretty high – even accounting for the fact that I work for an organisation with its roots in the missionary movement.
Maybe it’s also a reflection of the quite stark segregation between different faiths and cultures here – although Australia is a veritable ‘melting pot’ of nationalities, religions, cultures, backgrounds etc, interaction seems to be quite limited. But that may be a reflection of our lives and lifestyle here, which is much more firmly ‘affluent middle class’ than I’m used to. Kirribilli, our suburb, is the epitome of the Australian dream (if there is such a thing) – water views, tree-lined streets, the gentle murmur of teenage boys from the local private school chatting away in shorts and long socks, the local deli selling dozens of varieties of olive oil, imported cheeses and meats and so on…If we were living in the inner West, I think we’d have a very different perspective on Sydney & Australia – apparently it’s a common trend for newly arrived ex pats to live on the North Shore (where we are), ensnared by the harbour views (as we were) but then find themselves craving some form of night life / diversity / sense of energy (as we are) and moving to the inner West where the cosmopolitan heart of Sydney apparently beats with a vengeance (as we’re thinking about doing!).