Apologies for the severe lack of updates. Things here continue to be incredibly busy, and combined with a week of illness (I’ve been suffering from quite bad headaches) I’ve found myself quite far behind on my list of things to get done! But I’m slowly starting to get back on top of things now, as I continue to find more of a routine. So hopefully you will hear a lot more from me now.
Something that has surprised me during my time here in Australia is just how different the culture is. I guess I was expecting it to be the same as the UK as on paper, the countries are very similar. Or more to the point, I thought they were. But now I think that I was simply blinded by the English speaking Western aspect of it, because Australia is, in fact, very different! So for your amusement; here are some of the differences that I have been struggling to get my ahead around and grasp the concept of during the past few weeks. Not surprisingly I suppose, a lot of them (but not all) have to do with wildlife…
1) The computer keyboard is different! And because I use my UK laptop at home, but an Ozzie pc in the office, this has left me occasionally wondering where the question mark is, or how to add speech marks. The biggest problem is switching between the two; you get used to one, and then you are using the other one.
2) The weather! It turns out that the weather here in spring is even more crazy than the UK. Maybe not in extremes, but in it’s fluctuations. One day its 33 degrees, the next day its only 22. One day its hot and sticky, the next day its pouring with rain and thunder storms. It makes trying to decide what to wear on any given day pretty tricky – 10 degrees makes quite the difference! Also, even when it is a hot day, you don’t want to under-dress, because then you will get cold indoors when the air conditioning is turned on. Conundrum!
3) Watering the grass! Yep that’s right folks. During the summer months we have to water our grass to keep it green. With a hose pipe. This is a difficult enough concept to try and get my head around. But it seems even more strange to me when you factor in that Australia is in a permanent drought. They don’t have enough water in their country. But they still send massive tanks of water round the city each day on the back of trucks for council employees to water the trees and grass in public spaces. In the UK we get a hosepipe ban if we have had 3 days in a row above 30 degrees… (I exaggerate, of course…but you see the point that I am making.)
4) Flies. They are everywhere. As the hotter weather comes, so too do the flies. Its an absolute hassle. You cant go anywhere without them attacking you. They aim for your eyes, nose, and ears, meaning that as you walk down the street you are constantly having to wave your hands around your face, or risk swallowing a fly…via your nose. It happens. There is a reason why the Aussies invented those hats with corks…
5) As the flies come…so do the ants. They are pretty much a reality here all the way through the year, but they are particularly bad during summer months. I went to get some food from my kitchen shelf the other day, only to find that the ants had managed to find a way into my container and had absolutely covered my food. I even have to keep my pot of honey in a tub of water to prevent them from swarming. It acts as a kind of moat as ants can’t swim through the water. But yes…having to fortify your food inside of your house to protect them from ants is a new concept to me.
6) Not knowing whether something is poisonous or trying to kill you. The other day I was sat by the river, and as I looked down I noticed that I had some kind of bug on my leg. Now normally, in the UK that is, I wouldn’t think much of it, and would simply flick it off. But here? It could be all kinds of weird and wonderful nasties, and as I have no idea what it is, how poisonous it is, or just generally if it is dangerous or not, I end up shaking my leg around like a lunatic until I am satisfied that it is no longer attached to me. And then a few days ago I was faced with the ultimate fear…a spider. All sorts of questions fill your mind? Can it jump? Is it poisonous? Will it kill me?! Or am I simply being a silly foreigner? You can never quite be too sure…
And finally…(for now at least)
7) Cockroaches. Need I say more?? Cockroaches of the flying, and the non flying variety, just aren’t cool, and I am very grateful to God that up until this point in my life, I have lived in a country where this is not a problem. But now I am filled with dread every time I see something lurking on the floor in the corner of my eye, and I generally live with a pair of flip flops (or ‘Thongs’ as they are called here – something which I don’t think I will ever get used to) close at hand just in case I need to kill one.
Well that’s it for now folks. But I’m sure that as I continue to find my way in this weird and wonderful land I will find other things to add to this list. When I do, I will be sure to let you know!
Signing out for now
PS- I could go on to explain how infuriating the traffic lights here are, but I will leave that for another day 😉