Monday, December 13, 2010

Half a Year in the Other Hemisphere

It’s hard to believe, but it has been six months since my arrival in Australia! That's longer than most celebrity marriages! I thought this would be a good opportunity to update you all and answer some FAQs.

Q: How do you like Oz?

A: I like it, but surprisingly, now that I’ve settled in, I don’t feel like life is all that different than life in the U.S. At fist everything seemed really different, but I’m not sure that’s not just a function of moving to a new location. We still do a lot of the same things we did in the U.S. and the culture is very similar. It’s not like we have kangaroos in our backyard or anything.

Q: What do you like best about living in Australia?

A: Frankly, what I like best is more of a function of living in a larger city: I like all the cultural opportunities that Sydney has to offer. There are loads of concerts and shows and exhibits and classes and things to get involved with. And in spite of the fact that Australians complain about Sydney’s public transportation like there’s no tomorrow, it’s a lot better than many American cities I’ve been to.

Q: What do you like least?

A: It’s hard to find things here, especially when we’re grocery shopping. I am amazed at how many things are called something different (i.e. peppers = capsicums, pumpkin = all types of squash, ketchup = tomato sauce, etc.) And some stuff, they just don’t have. Like Cheezits or frozen bread dough, or more than one brand of dill pickle (Aussies apparently don’t eat/like dill pickles. Who knew?)

Oh yeah, and it's effing expensive!

Q: What do you miss most?

A:  Well, again, this is mostly a function of living in a larger city. I miss the relative quiet of my house in Anchorage. I miss being half an hour away from true wilderness. I miss really great bike trails. I miss the mountains. I miss having cheap things – not just cheap food or clothes, but cheap anything. Did I mention that life here is expensive?

Q: Do you think you’ll stay in Australia?

A: Hard to say. Never say never, but I imagine that we’ll move back to the U.S. We’d like to be closer to our families, and we’d like to have things be a bit easier. Plus, unless the housing market here crashes soon, we’ll never be able to afford a house. And after this, I’d really like to buy a home of our own.

So, this has been interesting so far. The first three months were really difficult, when I had no friends, no stuff, no place to live, and no husband or dog. Now that I have all of those things, I’m starting to enjoy it a bit more. It’s cool to see kangaroos when we go places, and they have some great candies and cookies here (America: Tim-Tams. Look into them).

I do miss home though. One thing I find kind of funny is that I hear a lot of comments about the U.S., and a lot of them are negative – regarding our politics, or how our culture has kind of taken over the world. But I think that Australians haven’t had the chance to experience some of the best things about the U.S. – like really good dill pickles, or readily available Mexican food, or how diverse we are from one region to the next. And, good or bad, we have it all out for anyone to see: Bill Clinton’s scandal, Tina Fey’s impression of Sarah Palin, everyone coming together after 9-11, or falling apart after Katrina, it’s well known world-wide. So good on ya, America, even when you’re all f-ed up, for the most part, I’m still proud to call you home.


Anonymous said...

Wow! That long already? At least with the Internet you can keep up with FFB and we can use Skype.

-F (Dad)

puppie said...

Yeah, I think people in normal-sized countries can't understand the sheer *size* of the United States. Or that saying "America is xyz" is akin to saying "Europe is xyz". Greece is similar to Finland is the same way that Oregon is similar to Arkansas. The fact that one country can be the size of a continent and contain a continent's worth of variation in people, culture, language, topography, and weather -- it's not something they've ever seen or experienced in any way, so it is quite literally unimaginable.

From my home in Texas, I can drive for 8 hours at well over 100 km/hour AND STILL BE IN THE STATE OF TEXAS.

Anonymous said...


we need more beer news though [g]

Uncle Carl

L said...

Well, Australia is almost the size of the U.S. but a lot of it is unpopulated. I think it's just hard to categorized a whole country as one thing, whether it's the U.S. or Luxembourg. Ok, maybe you can categorize Luxembourg. :)

Uncle Carl, thanks for reminding me. I do need to do another beer post.