Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday

This Easter Sunday has been different from most, mainly on account of our teenage son not being at home. He is sleeping over at a friend’s house. They are Buddhists and don’t observe the Christian interpretation of this time of renewal. With seven children in their household it has far more appeal for him to wake up there than here!

Wikipedia tells us that:

Christianity  national census. In the 2011 Census, 61.1% of Australians were listed as Christian.

Another thing happened outside the norm this morning – our neighbour came to the door (or should I say one of our neighbours; we are in a complex of 32 dwellings). I tried to ignore the knock as I was sitting up in bed reading the paper. I suspected perhaps religious zealots looking for recruits or salespeople. But the knocking persisted and it was timid, almost friendly.

Turns out Grant was seeking advice on how to cook a 4.5kg whole salmon for lunch with the in-laws (hasn’t he heard of Google?). He knew where to find 2 chefs under one roof – albeit ex chefs (‘non practicing’?). He is a New Zealander, like my husband, though from Maori not Pakeha origins. He has recently been made redundant from his work as an engineer and is now driving hearses for a funeral company and ‘loving it’.

We talked him through the stages of preparing the fish, making special note about an implement he could easily devise to scale it (though most fish is sold already scaled these days it is wise to give it another run through). This is a ‘kiwi’ invention and involves simply nailing 6 beer bottle tops upside down to a thin length of wood.

We also spoke at length about the different flavourings he could put inside the cavity of the fish before cooking it – fresh ginger, shallots, lemon, dill, butter – and then about the cooking time involved.

At the conclusion of our door step chat I said that the most important thing he had learnt from us was that he had to consume 6 beers before cooking the fish.

We have Easter eggs in the cupboard. They seem a bit superfluous today without the teenager. He is on a health kick which negates things like chocolate and involves regular visits to the gym. There is the prospect of sharing this colourful booty with extended family members when we meet for a picnic tomorrow, Easter Monday.

Wikipedia also states:

“Easter eggs  eggs  Easter  springtime Eastertide Christianity empty tomb  Jesus stone of a tomb Christians rose from the grave eternal life”.

My family in New York advised me that this Easter weekend is just a regular 2 day weekend to them, and that religious holidays are not observed on their national calendar. I realised then my own parochialism and ignorance!

The 2011 Consensus says that New York is currently made up of 68% Christians, of which 38% are Roman Catholic.

Happy Easter.

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International Womens Day

International Womens Day

International Womens Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8th across the world. IWD is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women in the past, present and future. It is a day when women are recognised for their achievements, regardless of divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political.

Quoted from the UN Women National Committee website:

https://unwomen.org.au/

The Governor-General of Australia, Ms Quentin Bryce AC CVO is patron of UN Women Australia.

At my day job a celebration took place to highlight IWD. The General Manager spoke about women being the integrators of society. He went on to say that he wouldn’t want to be a woman in today’s world – there is still much inequality. Then when he referred to females in our work place as girls my mind started to wander. The HR manager took to the stage and announced a few statistics. One stuck in my mind: our workplace in local government employs 65% women.

Two colleagues – both immigrants – shared their experiences as women in the workplace. N started as a photocopier in our Customer Service division with not much command of English. She is the eldest of 9 and most of her family is still back in Syria near or in the village where she grew up. She has a degree in Chemical Engineering which is not recognised in our country. N’s mother was 19 when she was born.

18 years later N is an Environmental Health Officer, having moved through the ranks at Customer Service and then studying at night while her sons (now 18 and 20) did their homework and her husband worked the graveyard shift.

T is an arborist – or in local government speak ‘Tree Management Officer’ – originally from New Zealand. Her hurdles in the work place are twofold: one – she is very much operating in a man’s world where the physical limitations of being a female can affect her performance; two – her job is very high risk. T divulged that she had to overcome any fear of heights or spiders early on.

We watched a video of T dismembering a gum tree in a very difficult position in the back yard of a suburban terrace house. The project took a week to complete. I was amazed at her lithe grace as she shimmied up and down the tree with only ropes to hold her. There was a shot of a very relaxed anchor person (male!) on the ground weighting down the other end of the rope.

T loves the adrenalin rush of her job, being mostly outdoors and the physical aspect. She doesn’t relish the state she comes home in on most work days – bruises, cuts, dirt and sawdust from head to toe. T likens her role humorously to a massive jigsaw puzzle where she always has to consider strategic moves to get the end result and keep her limbs intact.

On the subject of inspiring women, I have not long ago finished reading the Wisdom of Women by Candida Baker. Below is the link to her interview with Wendy Harmer on Radio National:

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/lifematters/candy-baker/3941754

It is an anthology of women speaking about women – sharing stories of those females in their lives with whom they have had a special resonance / relationship.

While reading I was compelled to think about the women in my life – my two sisters, sisters in law (who I have always felt are more like sisters), my late mother in law, female friends and how much they have impacted my life in a positive way.

And my mother Angela who sadly died of cancer at 51. How she inspired me and how the visceral hurt of her loss didn’t leave me for a very long time (and is never really far away).

I salute you all. And thank you.