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28 Things Only Americans Living in Australia Would Understand

28 Things Only Americans Living in Australia Would Understand

We may think Australian and American cultures are similar, but really, they aren’t. The more you hang out in ‘Straya the more you understand the subtle nuances and differences between how they live, love and eat. I’ve been living in Melbourne, Australia for three years and these are what I believe only Americans living in Australia would understand, mate.

1. You’ve eaten kangaroo and thought it tasted okay

Most Americans cringe at the idea of eating a furry fellow like kangaroo. But, living here long enough you’ll have tried it and thought it was okay, maybe even tasty. And if you’re really adventurous you would have tried wallaby and wombat, too.

kangaroo

    2. You struggle with saying tomato

    The moment you say tomato with an American accent an Australian will generally call you out. I worked in hospitality when I first arrived and customers would howl when I said tomato like an American. I quickly learned to say tomato like an Aussie, just to avoid a ten-minute conversation about where I was from.

    tomato

      3. You realise the letter ‘R’ is nonexistent

      Car sounds like ca, bar sounds like ba, water sounds like wata. If you want to sound more like an Australian just remove the ‘r’ from every word.

      4. You don’t spell realise with a ‘z’

      The letter ‘z’ is replaced with ‘s’ in words like realise.

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      5. You know you aren’t expected to overwork

      With a country motto of ‘No worries,’ you realise that Australians are a lot more laid back when it comes to work than Americans. They get four weeks vacation, instead of two, and that is awesome.

      6. You understand ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’ is a real thing

      There isn’t such a massive divide between the rich and poor in Australia as there is in the US. Australians happily live their lives comfortably, without climbing any ladders or stepping on someone to get ahead. Australians don’t care to be better than the person next to them. I found it interesting when I went to see the Lion King in the theatre and very few people stood up for a standing ovation when the cast came out. For me, that was an example of ‘Tall Poppy’.

      7. You like Vegemite, when applied to toast properly

      You often find Americans eating vegemite by the spoonful in silly YouTube videos. When a thin layer of Vegemite is applied to a buttery piece of toast, it’s actually delicious and loaded with Vitamin B.

      vegemite

        8. You say ‘howyagoin?’

        I find myself asking ‘howyagoin’ when chatting with friends. Americans say ‘How are you?’ and articulate their words, while Australians are happy to let it all out in one breath. The first time I asked my mom over the phone, ‘howyagoin?’, she had no idea what I said.

        9. You don’t own a dryer

        Australians don’t often own dryers, and I have to say I’ve learned to be okay with it. My electric bill is much lower.

        10. You always have cash when you eat out, because you know restaurants do not split bills or are cash-only.

        Almost everywhere you go in the US takes card but Australia has quite a few places that only take cash. Also, when you go out to eat with friends they are not into splitting bills, so you better bring cash or you owe your friend, or they owe you.

        11. You make sure you like what you’ve ordered, substitutions are frowned upon

        There is so much choice in the US, from salad dressings, vegetables or potato, coleslaw or salad. Australian menus are straight forward and often chefs are not into the idea of you changing anything on their menu. Take it as it is, or leave.

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        12. You know McDonald’s isn’t that cheap and it’s called Macca’s

        $1 cheeseburgers are not a thing in Australia. A meal costs about $10 depending on where you are.

        macca's

          13. Not tipping feels a bit wrong, until you find out hospitality workers are making around $17 an hour

          It took me a while to adjust to the fact that Australians don’t tip, but in the service industry, employees are making a pretty good hourly rate.

          14. You rarely find WiFi in a cafe in Australia

          You go to a cafe to eat or chat. It’s not often you find a cafe that has WiFi, while in the US you can’t find one that doesn’t.

          15. You know Starbucks is not a thing and you drink flat whites

          Fresh coffee made by a barista is what Australia is all about. Forget about two pumps of caramel sauce or a coffee the size of a gallon jug. Australians, especially Melbournians, take a lot of pride in their coffee expertise.

          16. You use your air-con sparingly, and call it air-con

          Most places in the US have the air-conditioning on full blast. In Australia, they seem to be more conscious of it. Also, most older houses don’t even have air-con.

          17. You know it’s life or death when looking left crossing the road

          You will only make the mistake once or twice after almost getting hit by a car because you looked the wrong way. You know your best bet is to look both ways, multiple times, just to be sure before crossing.

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          18. You now call your fanny pack a bumbag

          Fanny does not mean butt in Australia, it means something else. You quickly learn to call it a bumbag after you get a few awkward stares.

          19. You know that c*nt is strangely a term of endearment

          The ‘C’ word is one of the most foul words you can use in America. However, in Australia it’s a term of endearment. If someone calls you a funny c*nt or a silly c*nt, they actually think you’re great.

          20. You know you are weird if you eat out or go to a bar alone

          Heading out to a bar alone to meet new people isn’t weird in the US, but for some reason you won’t ever see an Australian sitting at the bar alone. Why that is, I’m not entirely sure.

          21. You figured out that dating multiple people at once isn’t cool

          Americans date multiple people at once and are fine with it. Australians, not so much. You date one person at a time and don’t even think about hooking up with someone else, until that other fling is over.

          22. You know thongs are worn on your feet

          Cisco wasn’t singing about sandals in the ‘Thong Song’, but in Australia, thongs are actually worn on your feet and a G-string is the underwear that goes up your butt crack.

          23. You realise you can abbreviate most words

          University is Uni (aka college), ambo is ambulance, vego is vegetarian. The list goes on. Australians just ‘can’t be bothered’ with saying full words. Who has time for that anyways?

          24. Some words you say are not what you think you’ve said

          Coriander is cilantro, aubergine is eggplant. Americans say aluminum, while Australians pronounce the whole thing: aluminium. There is a whole lot of words that are completely different and mean the same thing.

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          25. You now use a ‘u’ when spelling certain words and have to correct your American spell check

          Flavour, savour, favour, behaviour. It’s all got a ‘u’. When I’m writing something in Microsoft Word it always underlines the words as misspelled. I need to change my computer to speak Australian, mate.

          26. Your friends are now your mates

          Which once meant they were your significant other, but your significant other is now your partner, which usually means a significant other in a homosexual relationship. No wonder dating is so challenging.

          27. You know you can sit at a table with just a coffee, and you don’t feel bad about it

          Since servers make good hourly wages, there is no rush to turn over the table. It’s a great feeling to know you can have a leisurely coffee catch up with a friend without worrying about the server eyeballing you to order food or leave.

          28. You respect Australian football because they don’t wear pads, and you know to call it footy

          Australian footy players are rough as guts. They don’t wear pads like NFL players do. Footy is huge in Australia, same way the NFL is big in the US.

          Here are 15 American habits you need to lose when you move to Australia, as well as 14 must-have phrases we should all be using.

          Featured photo credit: Vincent Brown via flickr.com

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          Last Updated on July 10, 2020

          How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

          How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

          We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

          We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

          So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

          Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

          What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

          Boundaries are limits

          —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

          Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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          Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

          Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

          Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

          How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

          Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

          1. Self-Awareness Comes First

          Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

          You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

          To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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          You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

          • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
          • When do you feel disrespected?
          • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
          • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
          • When do you want to be alone?
          • How much space do you need?

          You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

          2. Clear Communication Is Essential

          Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

          Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

          3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

          Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

          That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

          Sample language:

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          • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
          • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
          • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
          • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
          • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
          • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
          • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

          Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

          4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

          Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

          Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

          Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

          We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

          It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

          It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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          Final Thoughts

          Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

          Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

          Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

          The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

          Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

          Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

          They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

          Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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