Qs often asked (and a tree of answers)

Questions often asked of me

Theme: Where are you from? (name, background, where I grew up).

There’s more than one answer to the same questions. I’m sure you’ve found that. Or have at times. Especially as I’ve been kicked around by life. You learn to be… discerning.

And at times, I think, why bother holding back? What have I got to lose?

This is one of those times.

One question can be like a tree to me. Many topics to explore. All branching out. Depending on, well, pick a reason, any reason.

For example, (visual thinker) imagine the question is a white eucalyptus tree or ghost gum – how many things do you want to talk about? From that one question?

Enough with the theory. Dive in.

*beckons you closer*

Your first name’s pretty…? (and where does it come from?)

A: Thanks.

A: Thanks, I think so too.

A: Thanks, I think so too. Now. When I went back from Karl, I was like “Dude, that’s a pretty/nice/lovely name”.

A: Yeah, my mum made it up!

A: I know right. Mum gave it to me. She said if I was a boy she was going to call me Karl!

Are you Italian?

A: No. It’s probably Croatian you’re seeing. My dad is. Or Yugoslavian. He told me a bit about some family history. Forgotten place names. Met some relatives on Facebook. We look very similar, in cases. Us kids and them.

A: No. At least not that I know of. Yugoslav. Or Gypsy. Romany Gypsy.

A: No. Croatian and Lebanese. I think. My mum saw her birth certificate once. She’s pretty sure it said she was Lebanese.

A: Nope.

A: Italian? No. A few people have said that. What makes you think that?

And your last name?

A: Yugoslav. From Dad.

A: Abby-anne-ack, yeah, just how it’s spelt.

A: Oh, it’s Slavic. It’s pretty cool isn’t it. We used to be the only ones in Australia with that name. Me and my sister. It was pretty cool. And my first name. Only about two or three of us were called Karletta a few years ago. On the internet. That I saw. Like an American Indian lady. An engineer and activist. She’s fricken cool.

Oh, right… so which culture…?

A: Well… I’m Australian. I didn’t grow up with any of those cultures.

A: Australian. Blood ethnicity is Yugoslav and Lebanese. Didn’t grow up in those cultures.

A: Neither.

A: Um, Australian… World citizen… Human Being…

A: Oh jeez, it’s kind of complicated. I kinda relate to… well Australia, obviously. Mum came here cos her dad is from here. His family were from like Dutton Park or Yeronga. I think. Were maybe even bakers (as in loaf of bread) in England, way back. I found, haha, on the internet, haha… Anyway…
Um, and South Africa… Africa really, cos that’s where mum was born. And us kids read Wilbur Smith growing up.
Um, her mum was from England. Kent. I think. Um, and Slavic. Jewish, sometimes. Apparently, some of his family escaped and most of them were killed in the holocaust. Indian sometimes. Cos that’s what I thought I was for a while. Partly anyway.  Heaps of people from there look like me. Or whatever. Um…Persian – I saw a documentary the other year and was like – I think I’m from Persia. Um, so yeah. Heaps of cultures.
Overall, Australian though. I didn’t grow up with any of those cultures.

A: I thought of myself as a white Australian until after 9/11. Then I wondered if people thought I was a Muslim or something. Got a bit scared. At times. About that. Their thoughts of me.

A: I’m an Australian with gorgeous olive skin *smiles*. Ha, it’s pretty handy, because I look tanned all the time. Or, you know… do people still go for tans?

A: Australian.

Where did you grow up?

A: Australia.

A: Australia. Lived all around in bits of QLD (Queensland) and W.A. (Western Australia).

A: QLD and WA.

A: Suburbs and the out bush/ the country.

A: QLD, then WA, then QLD again. We moved a lot.

Oh, so your dad was in the Army?

A: *Sighs*  No, we just moved a lot.

A with a Q: How do you mean? Like, what makes you say that? (was the key “moved a lot” or we’re back on “Dad” and/or my “name”?)

Ok, so why did you move a lot?

A: {Finally, you’re being interested. Not making assumptions.}

Because we had to. We were escaping my dad. (It didn’t help that I gave him our address a few times. So he could send me presents. Send us presents. {But I mean, I was a kid. Just a tiny, kiddo who wanted someone to love her. Even in like Grade 6 or whatever. I was soo vulnerable. And he’s a manipulative prick. Or was.)

A: To escape my dad.

A: Because I was bullied a lot and mum thought the best thing was to take me to new schools.

A: Well, I was told once that mum went where she had support.

A: I don’t fucking know. Mum keeps on changing her story.

Oh, so you didn’t grow up with your dad. That must have been hard…?

A: Yeah, kind of. Maybe. Sometimes.

A: Sure.

A: Yes.

A: Bloody good thing too.

And so… mum left him, he left you…?

A: They got divorced when I was a kid. Mum left.

Does he still live where were you born?

A: No.

A: Aah, no… we all moved away. The whole family. Separately.

A: No. He lived out Marlborough way though. For years. Along the old Rockhampton Highway. You know – the one to Rockhampton?

A: No. And he’s dead now. It’s ok. Thank you though.

I’m sorry to hear.

A: Thanks.

A: It’s ok, I mourned him long before he was gone.

A: It’s ok. He was an asshole.

A: Oh, I’m sure the police are too. If they can be fucked looking into him.

A: Yeah, it’s a pity. I wrote all this stuff down he told me. Lost most of it. Would love to know more about him. Before us.

And where were you born?

A: Emerald. A little railway / mining town out Queensland. Willows, actually. We lived. A tiny town.

A: We lived in The Gemfields. Emerald was the nearest hospital.

A: Queensland.

A: Australia.

A: You know the Gemfields in QLD? (Yeah, out there.)

A: Out Emerald way.

Where did you go to school?

A: Oh Jeez.

A: Maybe another time.

A: I went to four primary schools and three high-schools. In QLD and WA.

A: A few places, yeah.

So there we go. Some of your possibly common questions answered. What do you reckon?

Pulling teeth, some might say.

But hey, that, my dear, depends on the tone and body language and instincts I have about you. The situation we’re in. Public or private? Or whether my memory or even social skills are a bit wonky.

Anyway, would you like to answer these questions and reply to me? I might want to read them.

I probably will, actually. Then want to publish a book just of these questions and answers. Something like Where are you from?  Subtitle: Um, it’s a bit more complicated than that

So, before I get ahead of myself, I’m nipping that idea in the bud and saying – What do you reckon? Would you like to read more?

Please send me your questions to answer. Cos god knows, I’ve got too many stories to choose from.

Stay safe.