Finally, I am able to do a post – it has been a very busy week settling back into life in Newcastle, going back to work and catching up with family and friends.
Being back in Australia has required some adjustments, surprisingly! I thought it would be so easy to slip back into Aussie life. There are some obvious differences that I have had to adjust to like driving on the left side of the road, seeing kph on the speedo and not mph, and not going quite so fast on the roads (60kph [~38mph] seems so slow when you are used to 55mph (90kph) most of the time). I also need to remember to TURN ON the power outlet and not just plug in my electrical device (in the US, there are no switches to turn power on/off – the outlets are live and you just need to plug something in). The light switches are upside down too! Up is off and down is on in Australia – and vice versa in the US.
Aside from the day-to-day activities, returning to life in Australia I have also noticed a few things about Aussies and Australia that I previously was unaware of (and some of them I didn’t like).There are a number of things I have certainly missed, but equally, there are some that I haven’t and even a few things that I miss about Texas and the US! All-in-all, however, I am still gratefully for many of my home country’s blessings. I thought I would share a few of my thoughts and realisations:
My first realisations were about the people of Australia:
- Hearing that Aussie accent – after being away so long and listening to nothing but an American accent, it sounds odd, rough almost.
- Australia is much more a multi-cultural and multi-lingual society than anything I have experienced in the US. Sitting at a café I heard 3-4 different languages (not just accents).
- Aussies swear far more – I hardly hear any swearing at all in the US, but my first day back and I heard the “F” word dropped in general conversation more times than I could count – it’s really not a good impression.
- I didn’t realize how often we Aussies say “no worries” and “mate”, often strung together (“No worries mate!”)!
Some of what I’ve missed:
- Paying the just ticketed price (I don’t miss having to pay additional tax at the register)
- Not having to tip
- The scenery – the gums and eucalypts, the beaches and the harbour of my hometown, Newcastle. On my drive from Sydney to Newcastle, crossing the beautiful Hawkesbury river and seeing the wonderful scenery of the Aussie bush (nothing says welcome home than all the gums trees!) and the glistening river, whilst listening to some great Aussie tunes on the radio – I have to admit, that felt good and some of the tension just melted away! (And as I type this I am sitting harbour-side on a glorious sunny autumn day enjoying the views and sipping a cider – oh, yeah! 🙂 )
- The food – not quite so sugary (a fresh loaf of bread was one of the first things I devoured). My list of goodies to take back to the US grows everyday.
- The café’s – being able to sit in (or out of) a café, enjoying a drink and watching life pass by
- Cadbury chocolate (YUM!)
What I haven’t missed:
- Paying more for just about everything! In Australia, we pay 25-100% more at times. For example in the US – I can buy 20 cans of coke for $7, yet in Australia 2 x 10 pack coke is $16 on sale! That’s double – when on sale – I can get 3 x 12 pack (so, 36 cans) for $9 in Texas! Levis jeans – regular price in US is $40 but $80 here and that was on SALE!
- The lack of service (generally) in retail outlets – American employees seem far more attentive and willing to help
- The swearing – as I mentioned earlier – there is far too much swearing here (even in general conversation)
- The general lack of respect for others – so different from in Texas where people are always polite, courteous and refer to you as “ma’am” and “sir”
I love Australia, my home, but I’ve also come to love Texas too!