I’ve had an amazing 7 days in Australia so far, and I still have another week here. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this vacation. Obviously I expected that I would be spending a lot of quality time with my parents and I would see my cousin Michael, but I didn’t have any expectations about what my experience and observations would be. I’m glad that I lacked expectations, because I don’t think that I could have anticipated my experience.
Here are a few observations — keep in mind, these are broad generalizations, and I’ve only spent time in Sydney and Brisbane:
– People here are broad and tall. I am 5’3″ and very curvy, and I feel very short and squat when I’m in an Australian crowd. Most of the women here are fairly fit, but even the very fittest ladies wear at least a size 6 because they have hips, butts, shoulders, and are not waif-like. The men tend to have huge, muscular legs and broad chests and shoulders. Australians remind me of the Dutch.
– People here look outdoorsy without looking like they’re trying to look outdoorsy. I see scores of people going on runs or cycling during lunch breaks, after work, and throughout the day on weekends. They look healthy and a little muscular. People have butts. They have thighs. They’re at least a little tan. They look like healthy, athletic people, even if they have a bit of a beer belly or are heavy. Seriously, everyone here looks like they workout – and they probably do.
– “Sport” and working out are considered fun activities, and it seems like most people partake because it’s fun to them.
– Australians seem to have 2 modes of attire: dressed-up and casual.
– I have more difficulty understanding the Australian accent then I do the Japanese-English accent. I have to really concentrate and focus when someone is speaking to me. Totally unexpected!!!
– I feel attractive here and I get hit on often. I’m totally sporting my engagement ring and wedding band, but I don’t think that anyone is paying it any mind. Sure, it could be my accent that is attracting the men, but I get hit on before I even speak. Also, I haven’t noticed many big engagement rings or wedding bands on Australian women, so it may be that the men here aren’t trained to look or care. Btw, it’s super awkward to have someone hitting on me and to not understand a damn thing they’re saying. I give them weird responses because I don’t know what they’re saying, and they get confused. It’s weird. Not that I want to be hit on (I AM happily married), but it’s just a bizarre and weird situation.
– Random: Brand Power advertises on television here too, and the same background is used. Also, I swear it’s the same lady, but with her voice dubbed with an Australian accent. Bizarre^2.
– The clothing, food, store, health, and beauty brands and products are SO different here, even more different then the brands and products in the UK. I’m coming from Japan, where nothing is in English and they make most of their products in Japan, so it’s really saying something that I think that things are so different here. I admit that I had some expectations about being able to buy a few beauty supplies here, but I couldn’t find what I wanted — at all.
– I WENT CLOTHES SHOPPING AND FOUND THINGS IN MY SIZE!!! I limited myself to shopping at the Gap as to preserve our checking account. You’re welcome, husband.
– I don’t want to go back to Japan. I shouldn’t have gone to an English-speaking country while we were living in Japan; I should have kept myself in the I-don’t-understand-anything-that’s-happening-around-me bubble. Plus, I won’t have my husband with me when I go back to Japan. Having him near me makes everything better. Hurumph.
– Women here wear a lot of leggings and long, flowy shirts with flats and a scarf. It’s really flattering on most women, and it looks very comfortable.
– Not about Australia, but important nonetheless: my ankle has been healing quickly. I had another ankle-twist incident 2 days ago that set me back a little (I had to wear the boot all day yesterday and today), but I’m surprised and impressed with how fast it’s improving. Other then the incident 2 days ago, my ankle hasn’t been an issue at all on vacation.
– Australia is a very expensive country, even though the American dollar is strong vs the Australian dollar.
– Australians don’t tip. I have tipped a few times, and the recipients were super thankful. My cousin told me that people are paid extremely well here, even for blue collar type jobs. It’s entirely possible to enter the middle class straight out of high school.
– I’ve only received a few “you talk funny” comments, but most people can’t place if I’m from the UK, the US, or Canada. Most people I meet assume that I live here, regardless of my “funny” accent. I heard on the news here today that Australia allows 200,000 workers in every year, which is a lot for their comparatively small population. It’s kind of nice to not be treated as a traveler — if people assume that I live here, they treat me as they do anyone else.
– The Australians I’ve spent more then 2 minutes with have all been very nice, even the cab drivers. Case-and-point: one of the cab drivers gave me his umbrella when he dropped me off at the rugby game today because it looked like it was going to rain. Granted, he had 2 in the car with him, but he didn’t have to do that.
I think that this is enough for tonight 🙂 I may not be able to post this week, but I hope that everyone has a great week, where ever you are!!