At some point in our lives, I am sure we have imagined what it would be like to be traveling abroad, when we meet the love of our life. For Maddie, an avid traveler, this scenario became reality. Several years, after meeting her Aussie fiancé in Europe, Maddie packed her bags and headed, as some may say, down under. Here is her take on living in Australia.
GXC: What is the hardest part about living in Australia?
Maddie: Aside from not having the confidence to drive on the other side of the road, I would say at first I had a hard time understanding people’s phrases. A lot of communication here is in short hand with phrases specific to Aussie’s. For example, ‘Going down for a surf S’arvo” or “Get a dog up ya” or “Hit the frog and toad”…I’ll let you all look those one’s up but you get the point 😉 My Fiance and I have been together nearly 3 years and we still come across language barriers, even speaking the same language!
P.S. no one calls them shrimp here…they are known as prawns, and throw another prawn on the barbie doesn’t sound as good.
I did some research, and this is what I found:
Going down for a surf s’arvo- Going down for a surf this afternoon.
Get a dog up ya- a term often used when you are displeased with someone.
Hit the frog and toad- I better leave, say my goodbyes, or depart.
GXC: What do you miss most about the US?
Maddie: I miss being able to pick up the phone and call my mom or my friends any time of day, or day of the week for that matter. The massive 18 hour time difference to home makes for it to literally and figuratively feel like days apart from my family. When conversations home have to be scheduled rather than just picking up the phone and actually having to figure out what day to call on ‘my sunday your saturday’ has proven to be difficult-causing a few missed call blunders. I also really miss Flaming Hot Cheetos. But then again, it’s probably for the best they don’t sell them here…
GXC: What is the biggest misconception about Australia?
Maddie: Australia has the stamp of being a big group of happy laid back surf loving people…which is mostly 100% true. I’ve never met such happy people. BUT, Australia is full of so much more. There are so many movers and shakers here. Brilliant people designing, innovating, and researching. This place is much more than smiles and shakas (known as the hang loose sign). It has a tenacity for getting more out of life. That is infectious.
GXC: What is one thing you wish people knew about Australia?
Maddie: One thing I love most about Australia is the commonality that traveling is just what you do. Traveling is a part of life here and it seems everyone promotes it. After high school, it’s encouraged to take a gap year. Get a year or two visa somewhere else and just go see the world. When I traveled to Europe, I met more Aussies than any other nationality, and that’s because it’s just engrained in their culture- to get out and see the world. I absolutely love that and feel it’s such a special trait of this country. This country is also ABSOLUTELY beautiful. That might be common knowledge but it stills takes my breath away. And kangaroos are my best friends. Forever.
GXC: What stereotypes have you encountered about the US?
Maddie: The biggest stereotype I’ve encountered living here in the last year is that America is a scary place. That guns are everywhere and there are nut jobs out looking to hurt people. In 1996, Australia suffered it’s deadliest mass shooting in history. Following that shooting, strict gun laws were imposed and automatic weapons were banned. Not just anyone could get a gun, extensive vetting and fees applied. Of course that doesn’t go to say Australia is all rainbows. There is crime here, but Australia does not have a gun violence problem. School shootings are not commonplace here, like the states. I’ve actually been asked if I’ve ever experienced a shooting before. Like it is some kind of rite of passage of being American. It’s unfortunate, but a very real opinion about what life is like in the states. With stereotypes, there are always two sides to the coin. People I’ve encountered who have traveled to the states have nothing but wonderful things to say about the culture, the sites, and the people.
GXC: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned living in Australia?
Maddie: The biggest lesson I’ve learned is we are all in this together. We’ve just all come from different patches of dirt-that’s all. Everyone I’ve met here who is either Australian, someone who has immigrated from another country, or someone who’s come as a refugee, are all just trying to get by. They have families to look after, the same as ours. We all have goals and aspirations we are working towards. I say this especially in a time where skeptics are high and people just don’t trust one another anymore- talk to each other, get to know each other. You’ll never know how much we all truly have in common!
GXC: How has this experience change your perspective on the world?
Maddie: I’ve always been a traveler. I love to jump into a new place, taking in the new scenery and culture. But, I’ve never lived in another country for more than a month. I think it’s really important to travel and visit as much of this beautiful world as possible. But, I think it’s equally as important to plant yourself in one place for at least a year’s time. Immersing yourself completely into one country’s lifestyle gives you a much deeper experience. You go beyond your comfort zone to make new habits, new routines, and find new employment in a different environment. The people you meet in all those new places may become some of the closest mates you’ll ever have! Planting roots in a new place for an extended period of time truly shapes who you are as a person and helps to open your view of the world.