Monday, August 31, 2009

quicko: removalists

AKA movers.

Incidentally, if you were moving into a new flat in Australia, one feature you might be interested in would be an "internal laundry" -- meaning that there's a washer and dryer (though, of course, far be it from you to ever use the dryer) inside your pad with you!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

quicko: length of service

American churches tend to stick to sixty-minute services; any more and people start to get antsy about getting to soccer practice on time. The church I go to in Australia, though, supports a full ninety minutes of service. (There are very few soccer moms there.) And, oddly enough, it feels like sixty to me. Time flies when you're praising God!

Incidentally, Sunday mornings are often referred to as the most segregated time of the American week -- not so in Sydney. My church is incredibly diverse, and I suspect there are many others like it.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

quicko: fork over the fries

Australians just might -- use a fork to eat their fries, that is.

Friday, August 28, 2009

quicko: full of baloney

As they haven't got baloney here, you can't be full of it. And furthermore, no one understands if you are. But then again: perhaps that's the point in America, too -- who does understand you if you're full of baloney? I rest my case.

quicko: butter on sandwiches

This is a really odd, not to mention unhealthy, idiosyncrasy of Australian (and British?) culinary routine: they butter the bread before making any sort of sandwich. It's automatic. They assume everyone wants it. It's a bit of a shock, really.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

quicko: could care less

An Australian friend recently confessed that this Americanism had always gotten her (of course, she'd have said "got," as it's the standard British/Australian past participle of "get"; only Americans and possibly Canadians use "gotten"). She'd heard it in movies but was still convinced it ought to be "couldn't care less" -- which, I assured her, was true. If you're attempting to follow any semblance of logic, you should say, "couldn't care less" (which, for the record, is what I say). However, American English has somehow evolved to the point where either of these clearly contradictory statements means precisely the same thing -- frankly, we don't give a ... darn.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

quicko: diaries

Instead of being relegated to little girls and heart-shaped locks, Australian diaries are simply planners -- schedule notebooks that everyone, particularly suit-coated businessmen, have. Still makes me giggle when said businessmen beg a moment to consult their diaries, though!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

quicko: sorry, charlie

An Americanism! It's not said here. My co-worker Pamela tells me it derives from a tuna commercial wherein Charlie who wanted to be a tuna but was told he didn't make the cut: "Sorry, Charlie."

Monday, August 24, 2009

quicko: manly beach, an introduction

Us on Manly Beach!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

quicko: lunch with the lorikeet

Andrew came to visit and look who we had lunch with today: the lorikeet!

Friday, August 21, 2009

quicko: towel

I've recently been told an interesting fact: towel is the best word for determining English accents. Ask a native speaker to say towel and you should be able to tell if they're English, American, Canadian, Australian, Kiwi, South African, Scottish, Irish or Welsh. Try it!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

quicko: bucking the trend

I know I've touched on this before, but I've got updated information here: Australians don't actually understand the terms "bachelor/bachelorette party" -- they would obviously apply them to the correct gender, and probably have a good idea of what they involve, but wouldn't necessarily know to place them immediately prior to someone's wedding. (They'd use buck's night, or, in England, stag's night.)

And, as another interesting point of note, when referring to the actual male deer, Australians should know both terms, but would be more likely to use "stag."

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

techno bit: look back! (unless, of course, you're married to a guy called lot)

Hey there! Just wanted to let you know I've been playing around with things a bit and you might just want to check out July again ... there's been some updates! And I know I fell delinquent back in April, too, I'll get to it just as soon as I get access to my pictures again and can put up some fun stuff ... hang tight till then, and I'll tell you when to open your eyes again! For now, enjoy July and hopefully (hopefully!) I'll be better at being honestly daily here instead of that trick daily I've gotten so good at of late ... ciao!

quicko: what christians do, part 3

They wear whatever they like! I was surprised to find that no one batted an eyelash if I wore short skirts or tight tops to church, or bikinis on the beach. It's hot here and everyone does, minus the lecture on modesty, huzzah!

Monday, August 17, 2009

quicko: what christians do, part 2

Another thing that surprised me was that some words I've grown up Not Saying are Said here -- and not in their theological senses, either! I was shocked to hear such Language! coming from Christians in everyday speech, again with no inkling that this might not be how Christians talked in other parts of the world. It's not that we're talking out and out Shocking and Appalling Language, but just those gray borders are a bit bigger here, it seems.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

quicko: what christians do, part 1

One thing that really blew me away when I first came here was that Christians openly admitted -- in church! at the front! -- to watching TV as one of their main hobbies. Sure, lots of American Christians watch TV, but I was floored to hear people declare this shamelessly (brazenly, audaciously) in front of the congregation -- and not only that they watched, but that they watched soap operas! Religiously!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

quicko: blurring borders

Okay, so this isn't technically a cultural observation, but humor me. Thanks.

I don't know if it's because I'm an inherently unobservant person or because I don't quite run in the right circles for all these points or because living overseas for a bit clouds the memory, but it keeps happening that I go to write something up for this blog and I honestly can't remember if it's a difference or not.

For example: awhile ago I went to a party and they had all the beer in the bathtub. I thought this was strange and was all set to blog about it when something stopped me and I asked my best friend and she said, yes, silly Kim, we do that, too. Just because my parties happen to be the ones with (this is, unfortunately, a true story) four kinds of milk on hand ...!

Friday, August 14, 2009

quicko: license plates

Whizzing on by to the next automotive note, it's not terribly profound, but the license plates here are more like the European ones -- longer and thinner, more of a traditional rectangular shape than ours. They also do little slogans with their states, though they've ripped a few off ours -- "The First State" (well, okay) and "The Sunshine State" spring to mind.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

quicko: lay by

AKA that bit on the side of the road where you can pull over so people can pass you. Have we got a better name for it? And, for the record, you don't actually pass people here: you overtake them.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

quicko: take away

AKA "to go." Thus, you don't order your food "to go," but instead you get "take away."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

quicko: 40 hour famine

It seems that Australians have stronger (longer lasting?) stomachs than Americans -- they take part in 40, not 30, hour famines for charity.

Hmm, charity. I feel like that's a word us Americans know, but somehow it's not as politically correct as it could be to use. Like it carries a connotation of pity and looking down on people, instead of merely being benevolent, as I think it usually sounds here. Not sure what word we actually would use more -- I think we'd just name a specific charity. Or maybe there is another word?

Monday, August 10, 2009

quicko: cruisy

I've been hearing this one a lot lately -- the adjective "cruisy," which means things are cruising along just fine and is used just how it sounds -- "things are just cruisy."

As a side note, I recently (as in two seconds too late) came up with a wonderful retort to unwanted attention: "how ya going?" isn't usually answered by an adverb, but "quickly" accompanied by a fast retreat works wonders.

quicko: sitting down and standing up

I find this an unusual post to follow the one just prior, but perhaps that's merely a mark of my American-ness; this one is all about church. In American churches, we sing about the first three songs standing up and then sit down for the rest until the final song of the service (after which time we stay standing up and then exit the sanctuary). In Australian churches, you almost always stand up throughout any song that is sung. Furthermore, there's substantially less (at least at my church) "special" music (i.e., solos, choir singing, violin concertos, etc.) than in American churches. And after the final song, everyone sits down again and waits a beat or two until it's time to stand back up.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

quicko: beer

So I went to a party tonight and the Australians insisted that, though it was cliche, I must sometimes use this blog to state the obvious: Australians like beer. Although there are exceptions, by and large this stereotype does seem to have a pretty good grounding in reality.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

quicko: the great jelly jam

Here "jam" means "jelly" and "jelly" means "Jell-O." Gives a whole new meaning to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which, incidentally, Australians seem to find intrinsically revolting, regardless of whether they think you mean jam or jelly.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

quicko: pet peeves of pronunciation


quicko: place names

There's so many cool place names here, I just wanted to share a smattering with you: (these are all in the greater-ish Sydney area)

Woy Woy
Curl Curl
Dee Why
and, of course, Kirribilli

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

quicko: people with disabilities

It's probably just that I bump into a lot more people with disabilities at home since I have a brother in practically every Special Olympic sport except swimming (clinging to the wall, nearest body, etc. doesn't go over particulaly well, even in Special Olympic circles), but I've hardly encountered any people with physical or intellectual disabilities in Australia. I'm sure there must be a community thereof, but my encounters thus far have been quite limited.

Monday, August 3, 2009

quicko: kim's blacklist

What's the point having a blog if I can't use it to blacklist genuinely bad institutions, hey? Well, today I'd like to perform my civic duty by warning you against the Customs House Library. Being that it is, from what I can tell, the major public lending library in downtown Sydney, you'd think it'd be decent. It's not.

First off, it's not free. You've got to pay $15 to join.

Second, you have to pay $1 every time you want to request a book they don't have. Which wouldn't be so bad, except for (see below).

Third, they never have any books you want. Quite possibly they don't stock them at all, though if they do they generally only have one copy, unless the book is popular, in which case they might have two. Three if it's Harry Potter.

Fourth, they do not have Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy or The Wednesday Wars. These, I feel, are important for them to have, not merely because they were written by one of my professors (who, might I add, was one of two who dared to give me a B+, but who I am still championing for as it appears no one else in Sydney can be bothered), but also because they happen to be Newbury award winning books. Surely the biggest library in the biggest city in Australia would get a copy of any Newbury award winning book? Or then again perhaps I should have checked to see if it has Pulitzer winners first. I'm not holding my breath.

Fifth, if they decide to take my recommendation and purchase The Wednesday Wars and inform me of that decision, I will still have pay $1 to check out the book because, as you will recall from point two, you have to pay $1 every time you request a book they don't have.

Sixth, and this is highly annoying, their fiction collection is divided into A-L and M-Z. This division in and of itself is not worthy of Nuremburg trials (even my fight against alphabetical prejudice doesn't span this far), but the fact that they are placed not only in two completely different rooms but on two different floors practically is. A-L are on (the illogically named, yet open and normal) level one, while M-Z are not even directly above them, but closed off in a silent room for studying on a 90 degree angle to them on level two. Far be it from you to be scanning, say, the Wodehouse section when suddenly you realize what you really want is a Fforde. At least you'll get your exercise, but forgive me if that's not what I thought libraries were supposed to provide. Different countries, different customs, hey?

And finally, and most importantly (the rest of this nonsense, nonsense though it is, I could live with), they are mean! Not just not nice, but rude on a good day and belligerent on a bad. A librarian made me cry -- a librarian!! Though it was only so extreme on one occasion, I have yet to have any librarian there regard me civilly. They purse their little lips and scan you over as if you're causing them severe delay by merely asking them to, say, check if a book is in shelving, which is, presumbaly, the job of a librarian. Or at least something that every other librarian I've enountered has done quite happily. These, though, don't seem to see their jobs as relating to anything with a bigger spine than a 12 inch cover. Consider yourself forewarned; read at your own risk.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

quicko: one john

One John, Two John, Red John, Blue John.

You think I'm going Dr. Suess with this, but I'm not. Far from it, I'm going biblical. It's confusing here, you see: they call the books "One John" and "Two John" instead of "First John" and "Second John."

One John, what's that? I've gone to church all my life and suddenly a new book pops in? And goodness knows there were already plenty of Johns in the Bible. One John, is that John John, as in the Gospel of John, between Luke and Acts? It is number one in order of the Johns. Or have Australians suddenly started using "one" as an article, making it not the standard three "a, an and the" but now "a, an, the and one"? They do do odd linguistic things here, maybe this is another.

And it is, but in a different way. In a very non-ordinal sort of way. Why they do it, or don't do it, rather, is academically intriguing, but practically annoying. It's First Peter for Pete's sake!

quicko: 6 pm curfew

I really can't believe how ridiculous it is, but everything closes at 6 pm on Saturdays in Sydney. Like everything. You could maybe find a pizza or a McDonald's if you're about to die of starvation, but all the other shops are closed up and vacant by right about 6:03. It's eerie, walking through major shopping areas and realizing that there is absolutely nothing you can buy. It's so bizarre -- the biggest city in Australia (a first world country, isn't it?!) and it's dead at 6 pm!! You're literally not able to spend any money. Hope your pockets are hole resistant.