As a very ‘British’ person living in Australia, there are a great many things that I will never be able to get used to, find a little bizarre, and confuse me a tad. For me, these are the things I love the most about our life here in the Southern Hemisphere.
Being in Australia, means we’ve had a great many things to get used to. The bugs, the heat, the spiders, the sausages; the enormity of a road trip. Christmas in the summer, ten-week school terms, and my favourite one of all; the drive through bottle shop.
- The Drive Thru Bottle shop– Every time we drive into a bottle shop I feel a wave of naughty excitement. We zoom in and pull up to the cashier, and it always feels like we have ram raided the joint. I half hide in the foot well, and half cover my face in case there’s cctv. I truly expect the guy behind the till to press the alarm, or at least look a little terrified. No, he just stands there, beeps through our slabs of beers and waves us on our merry way! Did he not see us DRIVE IN….? In the CAR!!! Weird!!
- Laundry – Hanging out the laundry is like dicing with death in Australia. If the sun bleached, stiff as a board washing doesn’t break you the spiders will. All of my pegs are stuck together with one big, giant, sticky spider web, so I have to pick very carefully and shake every peg. If anything even remotely tickles me, it’s blatantly going to be a deadly spider, so I jump, shriek, holler for assistance, and every time it’s my own hair blowing against my back.
- Singlet Sun tans – I will never be able to look at men with “singlet sun tans’ without guffawing like a crazy woman. It’s the pasty white skin, the brown neck, and the dark brown arms. It’s as if they’re wearing a beige coloured vest with nipples printed on it. Wouldn’t you work on that tan a little more appropriately?
- Sausages – I know this is probably a sore subject, a Pom criticising Aussie snags. I’m sorry, but this Pom likes pork sausages, not beef, not chicken, not lamb… Just pork! I don’t even mind if they’re jazzed up with a bit of apple, or hell, let’s go crazy and do a pork and fennel, beef is just wrong. Having said that, on a Sunday at Bunnings, I have been known to gobble down a sausage sizzle, drenched in bbq sauce.
- Fairy bread– Now my dedicated followers, who’ve been here since the start, know how shocked I was to discover ‘Fairy Bread!’ It terrifies, and delights me at the same time. I cringe when I see it, yet I wish I was 5 again so I could gorge on it.
- “Hey how you going?’ – I am proud to inform you that I have tried to use this greeting on a few occasions, but it turns out I still just confuse myself, and anyone else hearing this in an English accent. Going? Going where? What?
- The distance between places – Oh lord, the distances we travel, for a little weekend away are phenomenal. Australia is even more mammoth than I had ever imagined. Thank goodness we bought a car that had been ‘pimped’. We have three dvd screens, wireless headphones, snack holders, and cables to plug in just about any device from an iPhone to the tumble drier. This has made the distances a little easier to cope with, but I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to being told “it’s only 600km till the first stop!”
- Smiggle – Now I know these stores are in UK, but until we came to Australia I had no idea they existed, how much money we would end up spending in them, or how much I would want to buy for myself. I adore everything about Smiggle; apart from the prices.
- Frozen Coke- Shoot me now!
- Slang- Oh the slang is another favourite of mine, and I use it at home as much as I can. Ah that’s a ripper, chuck a u’ey, macca’s, garbo, metho, servo, rego, righto. There’s even a Facebook group dedicated to ‘Aussie slang that only Aussies understand’. I’ve ‘liked’ their page!
- My children’s accents – Almost as soon as we landed at Sydney International Airport, the children’s accents started a wonky route, to a bizarre town called “craziness”. I will never ever get used to Monty saying “warder”, “scooder” and “Hainds”.
- Christmas in the summer – No, no no! No matter how lovely the carol services are, or how wonderful Santa looks in his giant throne in Westfield; no matter how awesome I am at creating an Aussie pavlova masterpiece, or how my Christmas ham is a delight. Christmas in 40 degrees of heat is unacceptable! Blinds closed, air con to max, a pile of M&S mince pies your aunty had shipped for you, and bed socks on; it’s the only way to do an Aussie Christmas. (After a little jaunt to the beach to get burnt obvs!)
- Sharks – Sharks really do deserve to be able to swim around freely in the ocean, and yes we’re invading their space, but jeez they give me the willies, and I just can’t bear it. I’m desperate to learn to surf, but I know I’ll get eaten. I’d love to dive, but I know I’d have my arm bitten off… If only we could politely ask them to allow us to have a little paddle before they need their lunch! I spend every Sunday morning, standing on the beach, watching my two taking part in Nippers, hoping that there are no hungry Great Whites out there about to pounce on my babies! Why oh why did I agree to get updates from ‘Dorsal Shark Reports’?
It’s become blatantly obvious to me, I was wrong, we are not the same. In no way at all are Brits the same or even similar to Australians. We do everything differently, from pouring beers, to the language we speak. That is in no way a criticism, it’s a fact!! We’re very, very different.
I adore Australia, I love the beaches, I love the weather, I love the lifestyle, I love the road trips. I love the trees, I love the birds, I love the wombats (and their cube shaped poos! I know right!), I love the bbq’s. I love the opportunities here, I love their pride, I love the children singing the national anthem at school. I truly love the blatant honesty of the Aussies. I love the way they don’t take any s**t from anyone. I love the way they fight to the bitter end. I even secretly love the way they have a tendency to bollock other people’s kids.(Could you imagine that happening in Tesco’s?) I love the dreadful TV shows, I love the endless sport on TV, I love the passion they have for their teams. They are honest, fair, incredibly, no… insanely, competitive, and much bigger drinkers than us (even though they wouldn’t admit it). All the things that make us so different are the reasons why I love it here, why the whole family love it here, and why I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else right now.Olivia xx