Wednesday, December 19, 2012

You Know You've Been In Australia For Awhile When...

Unlike many expats, I haven't been back to the United States at all during our stint abroad. Even Zack went back briefly last November for his brother's wedding. Some friends and my family have come out here to visit (my parents are even coming again!), and I use Skype a lot, so I feel pretty okay about not going back, except for missing my dog.

When you've lived in a place for nearly two years, you get pretty acclimated to its culture, character, routines, etc. In no particular order, here are the 25 ways you know you've been in Australia for awhile...

1. You don't even bat an eye when somebody says "ta" instead of "thank you."
2. You judge/critique every coffee (or in my case, chai latte) that you consume.
3. You actually ask people, "How you going?"
4. You get excited when a package of raspberries is "only" $5, because it's usually $9 or more (though you still remember they were $1 in Denver!).
5. Seeing a kangaroo is like seeing a deer was to you back in the US.
6. You spell favourite, colour, and behaviour like that.
7. You can't even pick out an American accent among Australians anymore.
8. You write today's date as 19/12/12 without even thinking about it.
9. American money (when you see it on movies) looks strange to you.
10. You can't remember the last time you left a tip.
11. You "go for" a footy team and own pieces of apparel to prove it.
12. Riding a tram is an everyday occurrence, and your Myki (transportation pass) is on you at all times.
13. You talk about the temperature in Celsius, and you get excited that it will be above 20 degrees the next day.
14. Your fridge is filled with produce from a local market.
15. You ask for purchases and weigh yourself in kilograms.
16. A normal weekend activity involves hanging out on a beach somewhere.
17. You measure distances in kilometers.
18. When you spell your husband's name aloud, you say, "Zed, A, C, K."
19. You compare all snorkeling you do against the Great Barrier Reef.
20. You drink wine from places you've actually been.
21. You know the current currency exchange rate between AUD and USD.
22. You have a jar of Vegemite and a package of Tim Tams in your cupboard.
23. You not only know what a vanilla slice is; you are always on the lookout for the best one.
24. Kylie Minogue, Julia Gillard, Ned Kelly, Phar Lap, Banjo Patterson, and Captain Cook are household names.
25. You start (only start!) associating palm trees and warm weather with Christmas.

I'd be interested to see if fellow expats have any to add, as I'm sure I'm forgetting some. How do you know you've been in Australia awhile?


  1. Your dog weighs 37 kilograms. Did you know a dog's body temperature is normally between 38° and 39°? Yes, I had to ask the internet to convert these numbers for me.

  2. It drives me nuts when people say "ta" or "how you going". They sound so stupid to me! You'll never catch me saying either of those. :-p

    1. Yeah, I can't bring myself to say "ta," but I do find myself asking my students "how they're going" with their work and such!

  3. You ask for a salmon fillet as a FILL-IT and not a FILL-LAY!

    My first job in Oz was making phone calls all over the country, so started using "how you going?" very early on and now it is scarily natural!

    1. Yes, good one about the fillet! And to that, I'd add that you eat salmon nearly once a week, and it's the freshest and best tasting salmon ever.

  4. When I lived in Sydney for just over a year, I developed an inexplicable interest in rugby league and cricket - two sports which had never appeared on my radar before. Now in Malta I'm saying 'ciao' instead of goodbye, drinking Cisk beer and I hardly even here the booming fireworks that punctuate just about every day of the summer.

  5. You know what a snag is and have been to a sausage sizzle.
    When friends come to visit and try to order a Fosters, you pretend to not know them (it's not Australian for beer and as far as I've found doesn't even exist here).
    You don't get embarrassed anymore when people talk about thongs.
    It's normal to go on holiday for at least 2 weeks.