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

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