Never really had much.
Probably due to the fact that I find white Australian history shameful and I would likewise rate it's "culture" right up there with all the intense flavour of a boiled potato.
The first time I felt any sort of stirring in the national pride arena was last year in Hong Kong, a place I chose to stop only because our carrier didn't actually go to Singapore and because my back wasn't up to the two 12 hour flights in a row.
We were walking through God knows what sort of furious back alley in this incredible China town that never, never ends.
I swear the China Town there actually has a China town.
I remember looking back up this neon jungle of a street, crammed as it is with signs and thing hanging in windows that have no English definition, and I was struck by the fact that I felt so completely at home there.
Whilst jet lagged and in the middle of Kowloon?
"You gotta be kidding," I thought to myself.
I had never realised how very Asian (Sydney) Australian culture had become.
And I had never given a second thought as to how entirely comfortable I was in it.
And at the same moment, I first felt proud of the way Australia was developing.
More tolerant, more open, more likely to embrace differences.
Possibly also related to the then recent dismissal of John Howard and his nasty, racist little conservative government.
What a pleasant feeling it is not to be contemptuous of your own country.
Since then, I have remained hopeful that the extravagant mix of people and culture that is Australia will eventually cough up something truly remarkable and soon dilute the plain freckly convict stock beyond recognition.
On the same note, I must mention a similar experience of national pride that I had just this week, this time courtesy of dear little Slovenia.
I have been spending a lot of time and energy on arranging and now booking the next Euro trip.
As it happens, Jeff and I will be spending 8 nights in Slovenia, the country of my father's birth.
The Tischler's themselves were of Austrian/Viennese descent apparently (makes a great deal sense- I feel totally at home there), and Mum's family were German (Prussian in fact, so look out), but Oma's -my paternal grandmother's family were full Yugo.
Having had a reasonably unpleasant time in Czech Republic when we visited, because of the "communist hangover" as Jeff calls it, and even having been mildly uncomfortable in Hungary due to the social and economic climate being so dire, I have been feeling a little anxious that Slovenia may be disappointing.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that I've been feeling down right freaked out.
Seriously - committing to 8 days in a country that may not even hold a candle to it's rich cousins across the border just because Dad was born there, is sticking my neck way out.
OK, so those rich cousins moved the borders quite a few times in order to absorb Slovenia's richest cities whenever no-one was looking, but still, if it has anything like the feel of Prague, I'll be devastated.
Last Sunday I had emailed a few hotels to find out about availability and whether we could possibly get a non-smoking room so that at least for a few hours each day, we would be able to breathe freely.
Just this year, Austria, Czech Republic and Hungary were so hard core with the chain smoking that I all but sprinted into Germany- perhaps the first person ever to flee in that direction for sanctuary.
Germany of course, went smoke free January 1st, they just never told them in the north, that's all.
Naturally I assumed that Slovenia would be worse again, smoking being couple in my mind to poverty, and I had already started with the mental preparations necessary to resign myself to being descended from chain smoking hillbillies.
You may imagine my surprise then, when I received the following email from Lake Bled.
I would like to confirm your reservation, Slovenia is nonsmoking (country) all rooms restaurants bars...is nonsmoking,
Train station is 5 km from Bled so taxi or i will pick up you for free but send me 1 more e mail to me a few days before your arriving
best regards Di etmar
Another burst of national pride for Simone.
So there you have it.
Not only does my country of origin have the balls and common sense to thumb it's nose at the backwards social customs of it's rich relos across the borders, it has people friendly enough to arrange a play date with a total stranger almost 11 months in advance.
Friendly, organised, healthy, ballsy.
Hmmm hooray for Dietmar, I say.
I have a travel book about Slovenia that describes her people.
Allow me to illuminate, courtesy of Lonely Planet.
Slovenes are a sophisticated and well-educated people. They have a reputation for being sober- minded, hard working, dependable and honest - a Germanic bent that is the result of 600 years plus in the orbit of the Hapsburgs.
But they retain something of their Slavic character, even if their spontaneity is a little more planned and their expressions of passion a little more muted than that of their Slavic neighbours to the south.
Think quietly conservative, deeply self-confident, broadminded and tolerant.
If you really want to understand the Slovenes and Sloventsvo (Slovene-ness), then there are two Slovenian words that you should know.
The first is the adjective priden, variously defined as 'diligent', 'industrious', hard-working' and - tellingly - 'well-behaved'.
The second word is the noun hrepenenje, which expresses a more complicated concept. The dictionary says it means 'longing' or 'yearning' but that's only half the story.
In truth it's the desire for something seemingly unattainable and the sorrow that accompanies it.
'Hrepenenje is the exclusive property of the dispossessed, the country's agonising history of border changes, emigration, alienation and powerlessness within a larger unit.'
Somewhere else in the book, it goes on to explain how important language and literature are to Slovenes, poetry in particular.
Goodness gracious, that nailed my family fairly accurately.
And Dietmar too I should think.
And I like it.
Doesn't really cover the swearing though, does it?
Or does that fall under the category of poetry?
That's perhaps the first time I've enjoyed being pigeon-holed.
That's what she said. LOL
Pics = Kowloon & Dietmar's hotel in Bled.