Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Likes and Dislikes

Lynn said she would like to hear more about what I like and don’t like about living in Australia, which is fair enough. In other news, this is probably not the best time to be writing this post, because we found out this week that our landlord is selling our place and we need to move out, so I am a hater right now (sort of). I decided to write this anyway, because I’ve actually been thinking about it for a while. I’ll start with the bad, so I can end on a good note.

What I don’t like about living in Australia: let me pre-empt this with the caveat that some of these things are a function of living in Sydney, or being outside of the States and not necessarily a statement on Australia itself.

  • Real estate is out of control. It’s way overpriced and the rental market is very tight. This means that the rental agents can treat you like shit, because they know you’re desperate.
  • There’s a lot of red-tapey kind of bullshit here that I find annoying. It’s hard to explain, but it just seems like there are a lot of hoops to jump through whenever you try to do something.
  • Everything costs more here. Everything. Books are $25 for a small paperback. My mascara costs $20. It costs $14 to eat lunch at a fast food restaurant. Don’t even get me started on the beer. And because of the high taxes, importing things costs a bloody fortune as well.
  • In spite of the high taxes, you have to pay for a lot of stuff. Like I found out you have to buy a child’s pass to take your bike on the train. Can I get a whaaaa?
  • I don’t like being an American in a foreign country. The “American” that seems to be prevalent in people’s minds is a cross between Homer Simpson and Michael Douglas' character from Falling Down. Plus, every time I say something, I wonder if people judge my country by what I’m saying. And, I feel like if I’m too positive about my country, people will view it as having a superiority complex. I like America! That doesn’t mean I always like it, or that Australia sucks, but I feel fortunate to have grown up there.
  • The t.v. here kind of sucks. There are some good shows, but there are fewer of them. I guess it’s the law of proportions – proportionally, there are the same amount of good shows, but because there’s fewer shows overall, that means fewer good shows.
  • Customer service also sucks. And that’s saying something, because American customer service hasn’t improved in the past 20 years, in my opinion.
  • I never really appreciated our government system until I found out how Parliament works. I don’t like how one party runs everything. And while Aussies point out (justifiably) how much it costs to run for President, or that our government can reach a stalemate on a lot of issues, I really like how I get to vote for the person who represents my country to the world. Thank you, founding fathers, for the system of checks and balances!

Okay, enough complaining. What I like about living in Australia:

  • The food here is pretty good. Specifically, the lollies and desserts. I like TimTams, Pavlova, Mint slice (or even better, the generic version) and Crunchie bars. The gummies are pretty good too – better than gummy bears or gummy worms, there’s milk bottles and bananas and teeth and strawberries and cream, all of which are very tasty.
  • Bacon and egg rolls deserve a bullet of their own. Get on board America! Or perhaps don’t, because my cholesterol will thank you when we move back.
  • Most of the time, the weather here is very pleasant. Okay, summer sucked and I wanted to die, but the other nine months of the year are pretty nice.
  • I love the flowers. And looking at (not listening to) the birds. And the kookaburra. Seriously, I’ll miss that guy. He’s pretty cool.
  • The scenery is really beautiful, in particular living in Sydney. Circular Quay, Sydney Harbour, the beaches, well, you just don’t find those things anywhere else.
  • For the most part, Aussies are pretty friendly. And I enjoy all the colloquialisms in the language. It’s very colorful.
  • The sports here are fun. I like cricket and AFL. And the prices are reasonable, unlike the U.S. We paid $30 each to sit in the members section at the AFL game in Melbourne, for a really good game. Does anyone even remember when it cost $30 to go to an NFL game?
Of course, I really like my friends here, which is no different from living in the states. You can find cool people wherever you go.  And I really like my job, which is good.  I liked my job in the states too, but I work fewer night shifts here.  Sorry America, but Australia wins on that one.

Overall I'm happy here, but I think in the long run we will move back to the U.S., where our families are, and where we can afford to buy a house and a paperback novel.  Don't worry, we will let you know when we return!


breana said...

Totally agree with being an American living abroad and constantly being seen as an ambassador of all things American. And being unable to critique America or praise it without it meaning a lot more than you meant it to, if that makes sense.

puppie said...

If there's ever anything that would be cheaper to buy here and ship there (as a "gift") than it would be for you to import it, just let us know, lots of us have access to great American stores and the post office and also PayPal! ;-)

L said...

Breana, you have no idea how good it feels to have someone commiserate. I sometimes wonder if it's just me, and I have a chip on my shoulder. Glad to hear others felt the same way.

Puppie, you're a sweetie. I've thought about doing that -- and may still. Right now we have Ethan's mom bringing us (well, me) a bunch of loot in July. I can't wait!

Lisa said...

Great post Louise!

Lynn said...

Awesome post. Wow, I didn't realized things were that expensive there. And yes, the whole American thing is slippery slope. People we didn't know or want to know, we told them we were Canadian (hey). Ha, it worked for the most part and I feel like we were treated more fairly then.

Carlw4514 said...

that claiming-Canadian seems to work for a lot of folks, from what I hear!

Good report!

Uncle Carl

L said...

Thanks, Uncle Carl! I have thought about claiming Canadian, but I don't want to act ashamed of my country. Also, it seems a bit disingenuous.

If I have to have the Sarah Palin conversation one more time though...