So, recently a family member posted an interesting link on my facebook page. It was a list of 21 questions Australians have for Americans. It had me laughing, agreeing, disagreeing, and questioning everything that I’ve experienced in America and Australia. See link:http://www.buzzfeed.com/lanesainty/america-is-really-bloody-weird?bffb&utm_term=4ldqpgp#.xyWJ0qM4N
I was asked to make the reverse list, and I have happily obliged. I tried to match some of my complaints with what the list above said, but some are of my own creation entirely. Without further ado, eight questions this American Expat has for Australians:
1. Why do you not have bills smaller than $5? I get that you guys like coins (and good on you for doing away with the worthless penny), but my backpack and purse are heavy enough without adding a two and one dollar coin to the mix.
2. What is with the internet data caps here? Do you realize how hard you are making it for me to accomplish the Netflix season binge-watching feat that all Americans tackle? House of cards was released DAYS ago and I’m only a couple episodes in!
3. Speaking of the internet….what is up with that? We are in year 2015 and 3-7mbs speed is just crazy when the US standard is right around 30-50.
4. What is with the stores closing at 5pm? Ok, sure, they stay open later Thursday and Friday, but when do Aussies actually shop? When you’re in town on the weekends, you’ve got to get all your shops in early because when 5’oclock rolls around, the only things you’ll be buying are drinks and food.
5. Why do you not use hot dog buns? Why is the standard way of wrapping one’s hotdog folding a slice of white bread in half?
6. Let’s chat about these abbreviations. I get Uni (university), I love sunnies(sunglasses), and esky (cooler) is pretty cute…but Arvo? (afternoon)…and Ta (thank you). Like, where did those even come from?
7. Why is your paper a different size? It’s probably different in every country, but why? It took me about a week to figure out why the documents I was saving and printing weren’t fitting well onto the printed sheets.
8. Why are all the American shows here about 6 months behind (at LEAST) their American premiers? It’s like I flew back in time by half a year on all my favorite shows!
And that is my complete list for now. Shorter than you thought? I was surprised too. I’ve been thinking about this for a few days and just haven’t been able to come up with much more. Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of moments where I’m left thinking, wait, what? That’s different too? But for the most part, the differences make SENSE. Here’s my list of 8 things Australia does better.
1. I love that when I buy something, I know EXACTLY what it will cost. It makes using cash (and lots of coins) so much easier when you walk to the cashier knowing the exact price. Why do we not do this??
2. When I first heard someone say their birthday is “the fourth of the twelfth,” I had to REALLY think about what was the day and what was the month because I’m so used to saying the month first, but actually, it makes quite a bit of sense this way. Why WOULDN’T you say the “smallest” component first? My birthday is now the sixteenth of the fifth 1989. What a different ring that has to it…
3. Centimeters, meters, etc. Yeah, this one is hard to get used to, BUT much easier to learn that 12 inches to a foot and 3 feet to a yard, etc. Whenever anyone asks, I still say I’m 5’7 and xxxpounds, and they all stare blankly. No, I still haven’t memorized my height and weight in centimeters and kilos. But at least their system is easy.
4. No tipping! Aside from the obvious perk of this non-tipping system (mo money for me), it just makes sense. The waiters make a fair wage regardless of the number of people they serve, how busy the restaurant is, and how generous their patrons are. I have found them to be a little less attentive, but I think that’s also just how they go here. They leave you to your food and try not to interrupt you.
5. Their colorful money. It makes so much sense. I can look into my purse and know how much money I have without reading each individual bill. Why DOES all of our money look the same?
6. I have to agree with Australians when they ask about our continued use of the penny. Come on now. When a coin has such little value that you won’t even bother to pick it up if it’s slipped out of your purse, why even have it? Good on you Australia for dropping that coin. Side note–The price of things here can still fall into a range where a penny would be necessary (something can cost 97 cents), but then they just round up or down to the nearest 5. Makes good sense to me!
7. Phone plans here are SO cheap. Seriously. I’ve got loads of data, tons of minutes to call the states, and unlimited calls and texts in Oz. How much does it cost you ask? Let me preface this by saying that my prepaid plan is one of the higher tiers and it costs me a whopping $45 a month. A similar plan in the states would likely cost double that.
8. A typical complaint about Australia is the high cost of goods, and for some big ticket items that is 100% accurate. Cars, homes,property and the like are incredibly expensive. However, things like fruits and vegetables at the market are remarkably cheaper here. Like, substantially so. The other day I went to the market to grab a couple zucchinis to grill–55 cents for two giant zucchinis. Some also argue that eating out here in Oz is quite a bit more costly. I tend to agree, but with one caveat. The price on the menu includes tax and there is no tip. Considering a normal tipping percentage is around 20 in the US and tax is about 7, every item on the menu in the states ACTUALLY costs at least 25% more. When that is factored in, eating out here isn’t really too much more than back home.
I’m sure I’ve forgotten some good points for each list, and I’m sure in a few months time I’ll have more to add, but I think this is a good start for the moment. What did you all think of my list? Accurate? Surprising?