Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Monday, December 2, 2013

quicko: slang regarding kids

There's a fair few lexical differences when it comes to things to do with kids -- this list isn't comprehensive, but it's a good start. The site in general is full of general fun facts about Australia, too!

Here's a quote to get you started:

"Want to see a Yank blush? Ask them to "nurse" your baby. It's another of those words that have a completely different meaning in different countries.
To an Aussie, you're asking them to hold your baby, but to an American, they think you want them to breast feed the baby. And yes, this did happen to an American visiting a new mum in the hospital. She was quite flustered and we didn't know why until she finally told us. Could have been worse. We could have asked her husband first."

Sunday, December 1, 2013

photos: it's beginning to look a lot like advent!

Thanks, Mom, for my special Advent decorations!

photos: happy thanksgiving

We had a belated Thanksgiving this year on the Sunday after.  It was a ... partially traditional menu.  I did win the battle for turkey (over lamb), and we got pork thrown in for good measure.  I made stuffing and (burnt) applesauce and brought cranberry sauce, and we also had a green bean salad with radishes, roast potatoes (in duck fat, though I think most of that stayed in the pan), corn on the cob, a bean salad and tabouli.  For dessert, I made (burnt) gingerbread and apple crisp with (melted -- we seem to have forgotten to close the freezer) ice cream.  All in all, we were all full at the end.  Thankful for good friends to help me celebrate the holidays I miss most!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

quicko: not on

Something that is just not done/not right/not cool/frowned upon.  Not updating your blog ... it's just not on.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

quicko: head boy/girl

I thought Head Boys and Girls were found, well, pretty much in Harry Potter.  I had no idea they were real-world figures until I recently was chatting to a headmaster (headmasters too!) and he was telling me about the selection process for these roles.  I asked what their duties were and evidently one of the major ones is having lunch with the headmaster once a week.  I think I'd have been perfect for the role aroundabout eleven years ago!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

quicko: santa claus is coming to town

As of November 1.  Seems to be the unofficial day for Australia to begin Christmas decorating.  Not that it remotely feels like Christmas, but there's ... wildly out-of-place greenery and gaudy ornaments in most shopping centers these days.

Monday, November 11, 2013

happy remembrance/veterans day

Australia (and the Commonwealth at large) celebrated Remembrance Day today at 11 am.  It's observed mainly by standing for 2 minutes of silence and the purchasing of/wearing of poppies.  Oddly enough, previously I'd never known about the 2 minutes of silence ... guess my workplaces for the first 5 years were a bit slack ...

America celebrates Veterans Day (wikipedia and Garry say this is the correct way to go -- no apostrophe.  I'm not convinced, but, well, I'll be edgy this year ...) today, which differs from Remembrance Day in that it commemorates those still alive, whereas our Memorial Day is to remember those who have died.

Remembrance Day differs from the Australian ANZAC Day in that ANZACs are just soldiers from Australia/New Zealand, but Remembrance Day is for those from England and the rest of the Commonwealth, too, thus potentially explaining why ANZAC Day is, from what I gather, really the bigger deal here.  (There's a public holiday for ANZAC Day, always exactly on the day, though just two minutes of silence at work for Remembrance Day.)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

quicko: pajamas

Evidently the American pronunciation is "also" the Australian one.  (I was congratulated on saying "pajamas" with an Australian accent ... only to discover what the Australian considered to be an American accent for it was ... a non-existent word.)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

quicko: cake walks

Now possibly Australians do these all the time, but I've been here nearly six years and I've yet to be invited to a cake walk, so I'm going to go with the descriptor "not all that common" or else possibly "things we never invite Americans to."

Friday, November 8, 2013

quicko: what all

I was recently called out for using "what all" at the beginning of a question -- "What all comes on the burger?" -- or some such syntactical nightmare, according to my friends.  I saw nothing wrong with my construction (I am an English teacher!  Of course it was correct!), but the Australians around me let loose with an array of unpleasantries regarding my use of the English language.  I suppose, upon reflection, it is not of the highest possible register, but, really, is the highest possible register strictly necessary when, say, ordering a burger?  All in all, I stand by what all.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

quicko: specialized interests

One my Australian friends recently observed to me that Americans tend to have random, quirky, specialized interests.  I'm not sure how scientific this theory is, but I see what he's getting at.  There's the collections for one thing.  My mom has lots of pictures of chickens.  Another American friend collects everything moose related.  Most American households have at least one fish-themed bathroom, too, but potentially that's another blog post altogether.

Then there's hobbies.  My (Australian) boyfriend's sepak takraw obsession notwithstanding, Americans tend to have kind of quirky pastimes.  (Okay, now I go to think of them my mind's gone blank.  All I can come up with genuine anecdotal evidence of is racquetball, quilting and dumpster diving -- none of which are that unusual and all of which are also done here.)  I'll get back to you on precisely what.

Another realm is that of obscure knowledge.  I'll consider myself a prime example here.  I'm no expert, but I can still tell you everything I learned in elementary school (and I was a pretty darn good student) about Marie Curie, Marie Antoinette, Abigail Adams, Cleopatra, many American presidents and, for the clincher, Idaho.  (It's the Gem State.)

I'm sure you could argue all of this could apply in Australia, too, but, well, I'm not arguing that point at the moment.  It was a genuine comment from a genuine Australian that Americans are oddly intrigued ... and, well, I think I'm really kind of proud of it.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

quicko: bub and mum

If I were to pick the Australian word annoying me most at the moment, I think I’d go with “bub.”  “Bub,” for the Americans reading, is baby talk for “baby” – not the nickname of your psycho neighborhood redneck.

I guess it’s getting my goat these days because it pops up so often in my facebook newsfeed – by adults, who theoretically had long since graduated from baby talk themselves.  One would think.
Correspondingly, I’m also quite un-fond (yes, of course that’s a word) of “mum” and even more un-fond of “mummy.”  “Mummy” is just plainly the wrong word – it’s November, we’re fully past Halloween territory and only an exceedingly limited number of you can claim any real legitimacy to Egyptian archaeology – and “Mum” is too reminiscent thereof.  Besides, it’s weird.

Perhaps you’ve now gathered that the “mum and bub both home and doing well” number is rather topping my hit-list of phrases (along with the perpetually irksome “look like” – “but what does that look like in our lives?”).  It’s not that I mind hearing about new babies (I’d much prefer baby news than preschooler news, if I had to pick), I just don’t like the words.  Looking for an alternative?  Rubber baby bugger bumpers are way better.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Monday, November 4, 2013

Friday, November 1, 2013

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thursday, October 17, 2013

quicko: 000

My students got an official police presentation the other day, and while I knew most of what he said (except that jaywalking is a $66 fine ... not leaving a pub when asked is $550 ... and selling alcohol to minors is $5500), I came to the realization that the Australian 000 is a little more ... relaxed ... than the American 911.  It's not that 000 doesn't get you help fast (I've never called, but from what I hear, it does), but that you can call it a bit more liberally.  The way the officer phrased it was that if anything bad's currently happening, you can go ahead and call.  So, if someone snatches your bag and runs down the street with it, you should definitely call.  If you're an employee in a bakery and someone is stealing a donut, you can call.  And so on.  Maybe these weren't the best examples, but I felt like it was definitely okay to call 000 for much more trivial matters than I had been taught to in America -- where it's strictly for emergencies, and there are penalties for calling in cases of non-emergency.  Here, the officer said as long as you're calling in good faith (he did say people calling up to complain about leaves in their driveway was a call they'd received that was not considered an emergency and that was wrong), there aren't any repercussions.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

public service announcement: carols under the bridge

Get ready, guys, this year's Carols Under the Bridge service is coming up on Saturday, December 14.  There's jazz around 5 pm followed by awesome carols around 7 pm.  Come on out, bring your friends, put it on your calendar now -- it's always a fantastic time!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

comic: from the doghouse diaries

This hits eerily close to home in more ways than one ...

(Obviously this isn't my work ... it comes from The Doghouse Diaries.)

quicko: ausmerica

Okay, normal people might think this is a bit tacky and/or disrespectful to both countries involved ... but I'm feeling a bit sentimental and it kind of feels like a pictorial representation of my life ... and if this isn't the right blog for it, I don't know what is ... it's pretty much the theme in 9 pithy letters.

Monday, October 14, 2013

quicko: pumpkins!

I was thrilled to see pumpkins on sale today -- real good-sized, appropriately oranged pumpkins!  Australians aren't big into Halloween, but it was fun to find a taste of home in my friendly neighborhood Coles.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

photo: all dressed up for a real date :)

We don't get to have real dates very often, so I get quite excited when we do!  I got spoiled and taken to Ten Litchfield, which is a lovely local Darwin restaurant run by a man named Tim.  Garry got crocodile so I could try some but not have to eat too much of it -- so now I can officially say I've eaten crocodile!  There was also a baby freshwater crocodile in an aquarium at the entrance, which I looked at, but still found disconcerting despite Garry's assurances that a freshie would "only" grow to 3 meters (roughly 3 yards) and never be big enough to kill me.  I'm still not convinced I'd ever want to encounter a 3 yard-long reptile with a jaw and a vast array of incisors, no matter how harmless it was ... the one in the tank was closer to a foot and I was still quite happy to say hello from a glass-encrusted distance.

Besides its pet, Ten Litchfield also regularly has a magician/sleight of hand artist coming table to table to perform various tricks.  We saw two card tricks ... one more impressive than the other, though we'd both worked out how both of them worked by the time he left our table.  It was still fun though and definitely a great date!

Saturday, October 12, 2013