Sunday, October 3, 2010

Things I've Learned Living in Australia

1. I have an accent. This was news to me. I never knew that before. I always thought I was me, and I thought I sounded fairly similar to everyone else.
2. Words are spelled differently here. It is perfectly normal to throw a few y’s, h’s, and even, if you’re daring, a few ie’s on the end of words. This is a great advantage for poor spellers like myself, we can simply say “I was spelling it the .... way.” 
3. No matter where I go, or how long I live here, there will be those who will always ask me if I’m on holiday. Especially when I visit the tourist shops to pick up things for visitors, family, and friends. I enjoy shocking these people by simply saying, “Oh no Mate, I live across the river!” 
4. There is no right or wrong side of the street to drive on. There’s just a street. The driver should always be closest to the yellow lines. It’s that simple.
5. When tourists come to Australia and drive on the streets and can’t decide which side of the road to be on, what the road signs mean, or where on earth they are going. I join the crowds in deep sighs and rolling my eyes while saying, “Dreaded Tourists.” 
6. You can take advantage of two countries holidays, but you must never expect the rest of the country to understand this. Do not expect turkeys to be in stock in November at a reasonable price. Do not expect orange pumpkins in stock in October at a decent price. Do not expect to find oodles of Valentine supplies for children. Always buy your Father’s Day cards in September and save them up for June. Above all, enjoy each and every holiday and celebrate them all in style!
7. I will always sing Christmas carols when it’s cold out. Ice, Snow, and bitter chills will only intensify this need. However, warm weather sightings will also start to make this happen, which pretty much means you’ll be singing them year round. Sorry, Mr S. 

8. When you’re in Australia people will think you are close enough to see New Zealand and enjoy what it has to offer. You can’t. You do, however, poke, tease, and playfully insult them with comments about sheep and kiwis.
9. When you’re in America people will think you are close enough to see Canada and enjoy what it has to offer. You can’t always. You do, however, poke tease, and playfully insult them with comments about their circular bacon, and hockey. 
10. People will ask you all the time if you’re homesick, and telling them no confuses and concerns them. It’s best to walk around saying, “Home is where your heart is.” in an attempt to head the entire situation off. Best of luck though, I’m sure it won’t work.
11. Movies take much longer to hit video here. It will take great patience to feign ignorance when your friends go on about how great the latest flick was. Disney films take twice as long, which is probably good because you’ll need to save up extra money to purchase it once it’s out on DVD. 

12. You will find yourself using new and unusual words. They will grow on you, and you will slip up when talking to your American family. They will not understand what you say. You can only make this situation worse by saying funny things like, Boomers, Billabong, & Gobsmacked. 
13. Your children will, eventually, ask you what certain things were called in America. When you tell them that tables were tables in America they will give you funny looks and presume that you have completely forgotten how to speak ‘merican. 
14. Rainbows are bigger, brighter, and much more distinct here; but no matter how hard you try, you will not be able to capture that on film. 
15. Flies are definitely much more pesky here. And bigger. And buzzier. And they bite. And they go up your nose. In your ears. No matter how good your carmel slice is, or how flaky your sausage rolls are, people will tell you that you aren’t a real Aussie until you can sit and not be bothered by the flies. I will always fail this test.
16. The ocean is not a scary place even if your friends panic and freak out when they find out you swim in it. After all, “Swim between the yellow lines for your own safety!” Which does not, of course, cover the occasional stingray, shark, or jelly that slips in, but that just makes the trip so much more interesting!
17. You will not blink, budge, snore, or squirm when deep guttural growling happen nightly outside your window. It’s most likely the nightly wildlife coming round to scrounge up a few tasty morals.
18. Spiders are inevitable. You can not escape them, hide from them, or avoid them. You will, however, run screaming when you see ones the size of a grapefruit. When they run screaming up your bedroom wall it may cause you to jump on your bed and elicit giggles from your children as they attempt to stop long enough to fetch Daddy. I don’t do spiders, big or small.
19. In the summer, the sun will not set or rise before one can rationally go to bed if you live on the coast. This might take some adjusting to get use to, but once you do you’ll find the dark kinda weird and depressing.
20. You will eventually say “oye” more often then you say, “eh” and it will seem completely normal. You will not say to your dog, “Come.”  You will simply say, “Oye!” He will completely understand you, and so will your kids.


Deborah said...

How fun that you wrote this. I sent it to a friend as she is headed to do some student teaching there next week!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. I can relate to all of them, and especially get tired of the accent one. (I'm from Canada eh..or is that oiy..oh never mind...or is that no worries ;-)) Elsa (with an Aussie dh too)

Butterfly said...

I'm a 3rd generation Aussie, and will also always fail No. 15, the fly test! I'm more bothered by mozzies and flies than snakes and spiders.

Bonza article!

Kendra said...

Elsa, a lady at Coles once said, "If I had your accent I'd talk all day just to hear it!" LOL

Oh Butterfly, I run screaming from mozzies too, but in my defence on that one I'm terribly allergic to them and will swell and itch for WEEKS from ONE bite!

Lisa said...

Kendra said “I'm terribly allergic to mozzies and will swell and itch for WEEKS from ONE bite” I also am allergic to mozzies, that is almost everywhere. We moved to North QLD last year and I don’t have a reaction to the ones up here (strange I know). As for the flies just to let you know they annoy the heck out of many born and bred Aussies too, me being one of them.