Sunday, March 30, 2014

Australianisms: Episode 3


"Gone walkabout"

Honestly, I hear people say "walkabout" and I know it's an historical Aboriginal reference but I can't help but think of the kid in the movie "Australia" with Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman.  The kid goes "walkabout" as part of his heritage.  When something disappears in the lab, it goes "walkabout".  I don't hear it much, but I've hear it enough to have it stick in my mind.  "Walkabout" refers to things that seem to disappear forever, not temporarily (like the constant problem of pens going "walkabout" and disappearing into the abyss).

"A rubber"

Rubber ducky, you're the one!   *quack quack*

I think this is another Englishism that has become an Australianism.  A rubber in Australia is an apparatus used to remove pencil marks.  Yet in the States, a rubber is an item used to avoid pregnancy and STDs.  Which becomes quite awkward in the lab when someone asks you for a rubber.

"You want a rubber?"
"Yes, toss it here quick"
"A rubber?  What?
"It's sitting right there, pass it over"
"Oh, an ERASER, made of rubber"
"Yes, a rubber, pass it here" 

I think it may have been more awkward if the individual had been male, but regardless, it caught me off guard and gave us a good laugh.

Then my "host Mom", the lady who lives in the house that I'm staying, asked me for a rubber yesterday.  Yet again, I was caught off guard and confused.  Ah, the little things you encounter while living in another country...

"Rock up"

To rock up is to show up, be present.  I'm really curious as to where this one originated.  Is it a bastardization of "walk up", to rock up?  I can't find any reason why the word "rock" is involved in this saying.  It always makes me think of rock climbing when I hear it.  Definitely haven't heard this one come out of my own mouth...


Not that kind of flash

Another random Australinaisms is "flash", which means high-end/fancy/fantastic.  I often hear "flash" referred to when talking about nice cars, but I've heard it applied to a few non-automotive items as well.  A new stereo, a motorbike, jewelry...  I'm quite sure it's another term that has just been shortened, as in the Australian way.  "Flashy" is now "flash".

Random other things I've discovered/heard/read about (mostly from Buzzfeed Oz):

- In 1975, Australia had a government shutdown, which ended with the Queen firing everyone and the government starting again.

- Despite sharing the same verbal language, Australian, British and American sign language are all completely different languages.  Thank goodness I don't have hearing problems...

- Kangaroos and emus cannot walk backward, one of the reasons that they're on the Australian coat of arms.  In addition, Australia is one of the only countries where they eat the animals on the coat of arms.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Australianisms: Episode 2

Hello imaginary readers!  I've been quite busy with lots at work, so enjoy a second installment of "Australianisms" rather than stories of adventures...


Lots of people here sign off their emails with “Cheers” as well as leave the room saying “Cheers!”  I tried to explain to a coworker how strange it is to hear people say this on a regular basis in a not-trying-to-sound-like-a-douche way and honest hey-everyone-take-care-and-cheers-to-all, but it didn’t translate.  Imagine, as an American, I walk into a room and say “Howdy” in a strong Texas accent.  It’s meant as a true hello, but if the accent is exaggerated (and plus I’m not from Texas) then you just sound like a complete douche and everyone immediately rolls their eyes.  Same goes for how “Cheers” hits my ears.  “Cheers” is something that I expect from Englishmen/women, but I don’t expect it from Australians.  Evidently it has jumped the ocean though, and people say it on occasion and no one smirks or giggles at all.  It’s quite weird.  I expect Bond to pop up at any moment when a “Cheers!” hits my ears…

Cheers!  Allow me to kill you with my martini glass...

Now, I’ve adapted a few Australianisms, but I don’t say cheers.  However, I do write it in my emails.  “Thanks for everyone’s hard work, cheers. – M”  It’s an easy sign off that seems to be accepted as professional here (as well as friendly).  Yet every time I sign off an email as cheers, I feel like a complete tool.  But because I know it’s “accepted” here, I’ll do it as long as I can get away with it.  Until some calls me out on sounding like a tool, haha.

There's also the whole American version of "cheers" which is only said when drinks are involved.  Someone leaving the lab saying "cheers!" just makes me thirsty for a beer.

"Ok guys, this time, let's do a proper cheers, not an Australian cheers
that may or may not have beer involved" 


Google images - is this a band?  Why is this
logo available?  Who created this?  What?

Full-on seems to be the equivalent of, but not more than, busy.  If you’re up to your neck in work, then things are “full  on” when people ask how you are.  I often wonder – is this a boat reference?  In that there are different speeds and I assume the highest speed is “full-on”?  Or maybe this is a motorcycle throttle reference?  I have no idea, but full-on has made its way into my vocabulary.  Yet I still think “tons” is a larger quantity than “full-on”, but "full on" is creeping into my vocab.  Plus, "full on" is shorter than "tons of work" - and the shortest possible way to say something is the Australian way.
Google images has so much random shit available...


Again, google images, what the heck?  I think this might be a clothing line of some sort?

I have heaps and heaps of data to sort through!!  I don’t remember using the word “heaps” back home.  And with the Australian accent, “heaps” takes on a hard long A.  Every time I hear heaps I imagine Merlin from the Sword in the Stone with the sugar bowel pouring heap upon heap of sugar into his tea.  It just sounds like a quantity for granules.  Evidently in Australia, it stands for large volumes of pretty much anything.  Heaps of data.  Heaps of work.  Heaps of laundry.  Heaps of good luck.  All sorts of heaps.  Hasn’t quite made its way into my verbal vocab but I found myself writing it a few times in emails…
The true definition of "heaps" in my mind circa 1963


                   This is tea.                                          This is not tea, it's dinner.

In the states, tea is tea.  It comes in loose leaves or more commonly in a teabag and you drink it.  Here, tea has multiple meanings and it drives me quite a bit batty.  I went to a week-long course and we had “tea” in the mornings at 1030am and 3pm.  “Tea” included teabags in hot water, coffee and a biscuit/cookie/donut/pastry/etc.  Here at AAHL, “tea” is a religion.  Everyone marches down to the canteen at 10:30am and 3:00pm for tea.  Most often, people don’t actually drink tea, they drink coffee.  And tea often includes a small snack, either fruit or a single cookie/pastry of some sort that you brought in addition to your lunch.    After 5pm, “tea” takes on a whole new meaning.  If someone “goes out for tea” in the evening, it means they go out for dinner.  “Tea is ready” after 5:00pm is the exact equivalent of saying “Dinner is ready”.  “I went out for tea this weekend with my family” means you had dinner with your family.  “You sat there and just drank tea?  Oh, I see, you had food which was ‘tea’, that totally makes sense” (not).

I find this extremely confusing because I get emails for events that are $5, which includes tea.  Does that mean I need to bring my own lunch, or is “tea” including lunch?  Is there food or is it honestly just “tea” in a teabag?  I’ll awkwardly show up with a packed meal (because I don’t want to be hungry) and then there’s food.  “Didn’t you read the flyer?  It says that the admission fee included tea.”  “Yeah, but why didn’t they say food rather than just ‘tea’?”  So confusing….  Then again, it’s nice to assume that no snacks/food will be provided and then surprise!  You get a cookie with your ‘tea’!  Hooray surprise cookies!

So tasty!

I'll try to find a few more Australianisms to discuss before I head back.  Enjoy!  Cheers! haha

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Exploring Melbourne for the Day

Since I now have an end-date for my time in Australia, I've been trying to take advantage of seeing as much as I can before I leave.  I've been to Melbourne a few times with other people, but I wanted to go go on my own for a day to explore the area.  There is a certain freedom afforded when you're sightseeing on your own.  I'm free to stop into any shop I like, change plans immediately, and linger longer anywhere.  I picked a few areas in Melbourne that I'd like to visit and then headed off with my city maps on the train early Saturday morning for a big day out.

Southern Cross

After arriving at Southern Cross, I easily found the tram to take me to Queen Victoria Market.  The market is a combination of open-air stalls and buildings that is a Melbourne landmark.  There are certain areas dedicated to fancy foods - including fancy cheeses, deli meats, gourmet breads and pastries, exotic olives and all sorts of fun (and expensive) foods.  There is also an area completely dedicated to fresh fruits, veggies, jams, nuts, wines, jams and honey.

All the fruit and veggies looked really fresh

Of course, there was also a tourist section as well.  There were plenty of stalls with stuffed koalas/kangaroos/echidnas, crocodile dundee hats, didgeridoos, boomerangs, and tons of other things with "Australia" written on them.  I enjoyed looking through all the stuff they had, most of it silly but still fun for me.  Plus I wanted to get a few souvenir-type things for when I go home.

Kangaroos and Koalas galore!

Because everyone needs a boomerang and a didgeridoo from their travels...

A mozzie hat - corks hanging from the hat serve to "whack" mosquitoes out of the way

The market was quite entertaining both in merchandise sold and people to watch.  Always plenty of entertainment to be seen in public places.

I thought it was a cute sign

Please buy my knockoffs from Asia?
On the way to my lunchdate, I stopped at an aquarium shop recommended by a friend.  They had a beautiful display of aquariums throughout the store.  Plenty of exotic Australian fish to check out!  Next door to the aquarium shop was a pet store - they had adorable little puppies for sale.  Sadly, they're all likely from puppy mills and riddled with medical issues (both inherited and acquired), but they were fun to look at.  I feel bad for the people paying for these dogs - $1800 for a small designer dog with issues?  No thanks!

Bring me and parvo home with you!

Happy fishies

For the afternoon, I planned to meet Jacqui and her boyfriend for a sushi lunch and then keep looking at all the Melbourne sights.    We had an awesome sushi lunch, but the day definitely turned out different than I imagined.  The weather was beautiful, so we decided to go to a rooftop bar for a pot of beer.  Lovely sun and beer was enjoyed by all!

You like sun?

I like sun!
Sun for everyone!

Onwards we ventured to Ponyfish Island, a quaint bar at the base of a bridge, literally in the middle of the Yarra.

You like Ponyfish?

I like Ponyfish!

Ponyfish for everyone!

Across the river was The Belgian Beer cafe.  I was told by Jacqui and Ryan that they served "only the finest fancy beers"  And lo and behold - Blue Moon was on tap!  Glorious liquid gold!!!  I was excessively delighted and happy to pay an Australian price for an American beer.  I was all smiles by this point - homebrew!  A round for everyone!

You like American brews?

I like American brews!

American brews for everyone!

After the few beers, we decided it was time for a coffee stop, so we landed at a cute cafe for Affogato.  I was under the impression that Affogato was a scoop of vanilla ice cream with a shot of espression... but we got a scoop of vanilla with a shot of espresso and a shot of Frangelico.  Quite unexpected but very delightful!

You like Affogato?  OMG, I like Affogato too!

Affogato for everyone!!  (Esp when it comes with a shot)

By this point we were all having a good time - onwards to the next bar.  On the way I got a bit snap-happy.

Some colorful street art - I really liked the tree

Pigeons are a nuisance you say?  Let's build a house to attract them to the city!

They thought that building a "pigeon house" would attract birds OUT of the CBD...
This is real, people - not making it up

Define hand-picked:  ...perhaps, hand?

I love the "old meets new" architecture seen all over the CBD

After a stroll we soon arrived at the next bar: Chuckle Park.  It was a bar in an alleyway, and drinks were served in the back out of an old RV with fairy lights overhead.  The bar also used "Smokey the Bear" as a face for "Chuckle"

                             Fairy lights and Dr. Tim's - just what the doctor ordered.

You like Chuckes? I like Chuckles!  Chuckles for everyone!
And kids, don't start forest fires...
Next bar was The Cabinet - a trendy bar that I would kill to have in Manhattan.  It was very comfortable and made you feel at home, yet everyone present was so stylish.  We had to leave early because they were putting on a "function".  La de dah.

The Cabinet?  The Cabinet!  Beers for everyone at The Cabinet!
Last bar of the day was Madame Brussels.  This bar was pretty hilarious, but let's be honest, pretty much everything was hilarious at this point.  The bar was on the fourth floor of a shop, and everything was French-themed.  The tables and chairs were made of that horrible white lace-looking wrought-iron like a French cafe.  The waiters were all male, wearing polos and short white shorts - dressed like tennis guys.  Definitely very oo-la-la, and these guys weren't showing off for the ladies...  They had lovely parasols that you could borrow if the sun was on your back.  We weren't sitting in a sun spot, but I couldn't help but enjoy one of the parasols.

We are fancy people... la la la

You love being ridiculous?
Well all ordered drinks and ice cream.  Jackie and Ryan shared a pitcher of the "Love Juice.  The description read:

Recumbent upon the sweet grassy bank, you reach across and kiss your lover, then
sigh as never before...  What comes next?  Strawberries!  Green apples!  French
fraises!  Martini Rosato!  this must be the very quintessence of a romantic
endless autumn. Ok, so your skirt is rumpled and your knickers have gone
who-knows-where, but at least you can take on the world with a certain
brazen confidence.  Splendid!

Such hilarity!  We loved it.  I splurged and ordered a glass of Absinthe.  It wasn't as bad as I remember from tasting it during the second year of undergrad.  And we all got a "Gay Time" which is evidently an ice cream bar.  I had a blast.  And it was delicious.

I love being ridiculous!!
(I'm not sure if we ordered this because it was tasty or if it was just because
we wanted to shout "what a gay time!"  Which we did.  Repeatedly.)

E'rrybody be ridiculous!

Ridiculousness was delicious!

The afternoon was a blast, and quite unexpected!  That was probably half of what made it so much fun, that and great tour guides, wonderful sights (and tastes) plus gorgeous weather.  Fun day in Melbourne, for sure!