What you should know before living Australian

Another fun challenge. Yay!

I have only been writing this blog a couple of months. Looking back at the various entries, made me realize that I have yet to tell you all the differences I have learned while living here in Australia. Keep in mind that I always prided myself with being a strong-minded, independent, New Yorker (aka low bullshit tolerance), single mother who found a way to do whatever I needed… done. Also keep in mind this is my first experience with living with a guy, whom I am not related to. Then throw in 4 boys and a couple teenage girls! So here goes.. pull up a chair, grab that cup of coffee and sit a spell.

1. They drive on the wrong side of the road…. on the wrong side of the car…. and these crazy people allow us americans to drive here on an american licence. *smacks head* (trust me it will not be the first time I hit myself!) What’s worse you ask?? The fact that in the states, I drove a 1992 Toyota Corolla, standard (that’s manual for all you Aussie’s), which is a tiny car. Then  I get here and have to drive a huge-ass mini-van. How else are we going to tow around 6 kids? All I have to say is thank god it was not a standard as well. Then the shift would have then been in my left hand, instead of my coffee.

Driving in Melbourne in crazy traffic in the far left lane (the slow lane…. which should be the fast lane!)

2. Now I know Australia is not the only one that says this but when I hear the word “Jumper”, I either think of the movie where the guy was sitting in the sun in egypt taking in the sights, or one of those little girls dresses my mother used to dress me in. Occasionally I think of a one-piece maintenance or mechanic’s uniform. I however, do not think of a coat, bommer-jacket, pull-over, zip-up hoodie, sweater or any thing else you would wear over your clothing before going outside.

Movie Poster for Jumper



3. “Good-day mate” really is used a lot. So is “No Worries”. The problem is that from where I come from when someone says not to worry about something, it usually means your paying $1000 to fix your car, your hot water tank it going to explode, or your office is “down-sizing”. Naturally “No Worries” is something to worry about. The first time I heard it was from a very nice woman taking a meal order at a restaurant. I asked for whatever sauce it was to go on the side instead of on the food. “No Worries” she said which made me think that not only was it not going on the side but she is going to spit in my food and add more spice so my mouth explodes. Turned out it was just the response used here and I really have “No Worries”. Who knew?

4. “The bench” is something to sit on… either at a picnic table or in the park. A bench is not the space in your kitchen were you prepare your food. That is called a counter. And to my Aussie kiddos…. seriously stop teasing me every time I tell you to put your lunch box on the counter next to the “ketchup” someone left out of the fridge. And yes… it is  “ketchup”, not “tomato sauce” because tomato sauce is what you add meat to, and serve over spaghetti hot. *smacks head*

5. To my new neighbors when you move into the vicinity of my house: please do not run for cover when I, the American, knock on your door. I’m only welcoming you to the neighborhood and handing you a baked good of which is usually made with pumpkin. Yes I said pumpkin seeing you have tons of it here and it tastes good in breads. And I’m sorry if I am confusing you because you eat pumpkin like it is a side of squash or corn here… it’s still good in breads and pies…and no I am not from Canada… but I get that a lot.

Kent Pumpkins remind me of Acorn Squash

6. Now American’s should know that Australian’s do not….. ever….. ride Kangaroo’s to work or school. So seriously stop asking them if they do. Your making us all look rather stupid. And also, they don’t drink Foster’s beer. That’s just some crazy gimmick that silly American’s think is accurate, but you should already know our news, advertisements and reporters are not the most accurate. (Ummm…. speaking of reporters.. did Romney really say that most american’s are idiots?? Relax, I’m paraphrasing! God, I need to sit with my politically charged friends for a coffee break when I come home for a visit!) Here, when you ask for a Foster’s, you will get the following: 1. a dirty look from the wait staff servicing your order. 2. Someone overhearing the conversation that over heard your accent (and yes, I guess when your here you are the one with the accent) will inevitably start laughing 3. The wait staff will probably ask you if your serious and follow it up with “We don’t carry Foster’s”.

Large Red Kangaroo

7. Don’t ask for a hotdog in Australia. Really, you will cry. They are obsessed here with the “Sausage roll” which I like to call in our house as the “Aussie Hot Dog”. It is a beef sausage. Yes, I said beef. And its mixed up with things like carrots and veggies and rolled into a puff pastry so it looking like an over-sided pig in a blanket. They are yum and if you visit you really need to try it. Save the hot dogs for America. They are not very big on cheeseburgers either. I would say the equivalent here would be a beef pie. It looks just like a “Banquet’s” frozen beef pot pie. Tastes a lot like them as well, but the texture of the filling is more like a sloppy joe and they usually eat them with either ketchup (yes I said ketchup! Kids! *smacks forehead*) or BBQ sauce.

Sausage Rolls and Beef Pies

8. Here they have an “American” pizza. Here we go again… *Eyes roll and a smack to the forehead* This pizza is not american and whomever made it and told everyone it was, lied. Now being from NY, I know my pizza. Hot salami is not a substitute for pepperoni. And whatever happened to the cheese?? If your going to coin a pizza as “American” it needs to be thin crust, smothered in mozzarella and topped with greasy pepperoni so that when it’s baked, the oils in the meat and cheese coat the top of the pizza. No, what I would consider an “American Pizza” would not have ham, shredded meat, onions, chili? (Seriously) or anything else. Just pepperoni and cheese. Yes I love other toppings but that makes it something else entirely. I do love the pizza they have here though, just not the one previously mentioned. There are a couple of pizza places near our house they make a mean pizza. (What’s this you say… an egg.. you want to crack an egg on top of my pizza and bake it so the egg is just sitting up there on top of my pizza… seriously? That’s just so wrong on so many levels!)

9. Matthew is not a big seafood eater. Personally, I love it. I have yet to find a fish or shellfish I don’t like. I will admit I have had a decent variety of fish over the years, but some things I have yet to discover… like what it would be like to eat a shrimp (or prawn as they are referred to here) with their little head on. I tried to eat a lobster once like that and made my dad remove the meat because frankly, it freaks me out when my food is looking at me. And when you have a plate of 30 little guys just staring at you, it makes it difficult to eat them. I’ll pass on the shrimp unless you get me the headless kind.

10. Uggs are very unpopular here. Go figure. The only people who wear Uggs here, are tourists. You will get a dirty look from those Aussies around you for being silly enough to buy them. Luckily majority of Australians like us crazy Americans and we can usually get away with little fou-faux like wearing Uggs while living in Australia. Once Aussie’s know your American they usually giggle and forgive you. Mental Note: Wonder what would happen if you walked into a bar and ordered a Foster’s wearing Uggs?? Hmmm. might need to try that one! Hehe

11. And finally, before you visit is over… Where I come from, if you must find the need to gossip about someone who is pregnant, you would normally start out by saying “Did you hear that so and so is pregnant?” Now the first time I heard this one, I almost wet myself from the laughter. I figured it couldn’t be real, and then heard it again, then from my neighbor and even a reporter on the news. Here when you are talking about someone who is pregnant the phrase goes a little like this… “Did you hear that so and so “Fell” pregnant?” Yes I said fell. Like you fall ill from an infectious disease. It is just the Aussie Way.

falling can be an art form..

Now see what happens when you go from working day care for 10 years to being stuck in a quiet house all day. I talk a lot. Yeah I always did but now it is even worse.

I truly enjoyed your visit. And even though I am, and always will be a New Yorker, heart and soul, I really love being in Australia. So if your finished with your coffee, I’m happy to walk you to the door. Just let me go grab a Panadol (Tylenol) for this headache. You can put your coffee cup on the bench, next to the tomato sauce and sausage rolls. Here… you forgot the pumpkin muffins I made you….. Don’t forget to put on your Jumper before you go. Good’ay mate.

You want to come back for another visit? Just add my blog to your followed tabs. No worries! Have an awesome day!


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