Out On The Patio We Sit

“Out on the patio we sit,

And the humidity we breathe,

We watch the lightning crack over canefields,

Laugh and think, this is Australia”

This old song by Gangajang came to mind yesterday as we sat out on Barnadi and Adam’s new deck in a suburban backyard in Melbourne. The weather was hot and humid, but sadly there was no lightning. This was Barnadi’s combined Birthday/Christmas celebration, an annual event that he has held since arriving from Jakarta, Indonesia 30 years ago. I have been to 24 of these festive Indonesian banquets.

Above. Udang Tepung and Pekedil Jagung – Fried Prawns in Batter and Fried Potato and Corn Cake. Krupuk in the background as well as the ear of Googoo, the dog.

The 12 guests, all good friends of Barnadi, ranged in age, ethnicity and sexual orientation. Three straight couples, two gay couples, two singles: one Indonesian, one Chinese, one Thai, one Israeli, two Dutch, one British and the rest Australian, simply meaning that they appeared to have been born here, with Anglo-Celtic background. And having said this, I realise that these labels and descriptions are limiting and misleading. We were all Australian, enjoying a Pimms or a white wine on a sunny day in the backyard. We all came from diverse backgrounds but had a lot in common- a love of food, travel, and good conversation.

This is Australia. We celebrate diversity here. This is what we do.

Above. An Indonesian Banquet. Sapi Rendang, Ayam Kari, Ayam Goreng, Ayam Bakar, Sayur Lodeh, Tempeh kentang Tahu, Pepes Ikan, Ikan Bakar.

Above. Basok Ayam- Fried Chicken meatballs

Thanks B and A  for another lovely day.

28 thoughts on “Out On The Patio We Sit”

  1. Wonderful. This is Australia for me too, marvelously multi-cultural, casual, mateship, sharing time, a table and good food.
    Our belongings are being stacked into the truck… if I don’t catch you beforehand – festive season best wishes from me and the G.O. 🙂

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  2. Looks amazing, Francesca, and I can see why you have made it to so many of these celebrations. One of the things I love most about life in Australia is the diversity and how everyone accepts everyone else. Being the recipient of that acceptance myself has been a wonderful thing. I did not grow up in this environment, quite the opposite, so it is very special. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t either Ardys. The ugly face of racism, intolerance and sexism was alive and well in the suburban Australia of the 60s.
      I decided to do a subtle post on diversity as I think some of the ugly aspects of Australian racism of recent times get far too much media focus for the minority group that it is.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I saw the title and instantly started singing in my head. Then when I started reading and found out I was doing the right thing, I was quite proud. When I first moved here I got a lot of stupid American jokes but after 20 years, people just accept me as an Aussie who talks funny.

    What a great party.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. For an encore you needed a bit of Men At Work….I come from the land down under…..wonderful isn’t it. The banquet looks fabulous. It wasn’t that long ago that I was at school and other girls would say to me “eeew, what’s that in your lunch box” with my melanzane ripieni and polpetti di riso. Now I think they’d say “I’ll give you twenty bucks for that”.

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  5. This gave me goosebumps. Yes, proud to be Australian , with English bones. It is encouraging that we are getting more tolerant and accepting of everyone as the years go by. People talk about the good old days, but I think we have all travelled a long way on the road to diversity and tolerance. Still a way to go . Thanks for sharing with us.

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  6. You’re so right – the diversity of our friends and families in Australia is what it’s all about. When I first moved here I loved the fact that I wasn’t judged by my Northern accent as I was back in the UK. Everyone gets a chance to make Australia home (well mostly – hmmmm….!!!)

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  7. I’ve loved reading this post, and feeling so nostalgic! My husband and I lived in Richmond in the mid -kate 90s and dJakarta was one of our favourite restaurants. Banardi always such a wonderful host, the restaurant so welcoming but so cool (purple walls, retro hats displayed as works of art), and he was the first person we told of our pregnancy (now 14 year old daughter!) as he was about to head to Bath. He also very generously gave me the recipe for our favourite dish – Ayam manado – which I still cook often, always with Barnadi in my thoughts. Reading this post has brought back so many great memories- I was still in contact with Barnadi whilst he and his partner were in the UK, but sadly lost contact. If there’s any way of this post reconnecting us I’d be so appreciative.

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        1. He remembers well. It was an OMG moment for him. If you do FB, become a friend of Barnadi Filipus Barkah Cunningham. He now is married to Adam.
          And thanks for the lovely comment on my blog too. There are more posts about Banardi, as I travel with him to Java sometimes.

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