We have been talking a lot. In Australia, this would normally be accompanied by much tea. In America, it is accompanied by food. My mother lost her voice for several days, so she would say “…” and I would have to interpret. This was an excellent system until she started expecting me to interpret while she was in the front seat of the car and I was behind her with a mouth full of chocolate chip cookie.

Things I have learned run in my family:

  1. winking
  2. carrying babies in unconventional receptacles
  3. navigating/cooking/planning by committee
  4. travelling in circles
  5. a need to talk

Things I have learned about my family:

  1. my grandmother once made a gooseberry pie and didn’t take the stems out
  2. while my great-grandmother was on the way to the hospital to give birth to my great-aunt, my great-grandfather overturned the sleigh
  3. a great-relative was probably murdered by her husband but no-one had proof
  4. my grandfather would arrange the containers that cream servings (for coffee) come in into daisies and give them to waitresses
  5. an uncle, returning from a visit to our property in Australia, told people it was like visiting the set of Little House on the Prairie

Things about Americans and tea (I try to do as the romans do but I do like some tea when I can get it – it aids the digestive process and as when we are not talking we are eating, I like this):

  1. you cannot find Twinings for love or money and they just don’t quite manage scones
  2. the tea Americans drink is either Liptons or endlessly fancy (just plain tea, please?)
  3. the smallest section in Wallmart is the tea section
  4. all the kettles we have seen are the sort you put on the stove (I am pleased to report we are ahead of America in the technology stakes in this respect) and one aunt puts a teapot in the microwave
  5. they don’t boil the kettle – they warm the water and say, ‘the water should be warm enough by now’ instead of letting the kettle boil and whistle and THEREBY FULFILL ITS FUNCTION but it would be rude to say so