“Semester’s half way done, Jess,” is a constant chant that I would tell my self regularly these days. It’s hard to believe that even after starting school, that I hear the accents whenever I hear the locals speak, I still go to bed half expecting that I would wake up in my own bed in Canada.
Today is no different.
Reflecting on my stay here for the past three months, I think I did a pretty good job adjusting to the culture here in Australia and I think I shocked the family I was staying with when I said that I haven’t felt too overwhelmed by the culture differences. What shocked me is the similarities I’ve noticed between Melbourne any my own home town.
The things that threw me off the most was the small differences that are apart of every day life here in Australia, but are quite rare to find in Canada.
Thing #1: Tim Tams
They are now my favourite snacks in the world. They are God’s gift to humanity. Whoever came up with the existence of Tim Tams are not only extremely wealthy, but must be forever hailed as a genius. The looks I’ve gotten when I started stuffing my face with Tim Tams were mostly understanding. I have lived a life with out Tim Tams and the locals are very generous in giving me tips on how to eat Tim Tams.
Thing #2: The small things that are insignificant in comparison to Tim Tams
It’s always the really small things that really make me and anyone else who was with me laugh out loud. The difference in accents being the main source of small entertainment. There was a time during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, I was at my friend’s house. At that point, I just arrived in Melbourne and was living with him and his family.
My friend and I were in his room watching some good ol’ Rooster Teeth on YouTube, and his step-mom came in asking us what we wanted for dinner. We both told her that we’re cool with anything that night. Thirty seconds later, I heard his Dad calling for us downstairs, and I vaguely heard something along the lines of “Cabbage”, so I said “No, thank you”. My friend turned to me with a weird look on his face, and he told me “Dad was saying Canada”.
It was Canada’s turn for women’s snowboarding. Great.
Out of all the misunderstandings that came from the difference in accents, this one was the most humiliating and the most entertaining. My friend and his family were kind enough to leave me be and decided not to make fun of me. The embarrassment is enough to provide everyone with good entertainment.
Despite all my time living here, I still haven’t gone out and did the typical tourist-y activities yet. I do, however, have a list of places I want to do here in the state of Victoria. The first thing on my list was to visit the CBD and spend a couple hours wandering around.
But me being the forgetful young-un I am sometimes happened to wander around the CBD on Valentine’s Day. Yep. I should take the time to mention that I never keep track of holidays unless I get to stay home (like Victoria Day, Christmas, Easter, etc) or has historical significance (like ANZAC Day, Remembrance Day, Canada Day, etc) or happens to fall on the same day as a birthday (St. Patrick’s Day). Valentine’s Day completely slipped my mind until the day before when my friend casually mentioned it.
I had a nice time going there though. I had no obligations for me to be anywhere (aside from going home at a reasonable hour) and for once, I enjoyed getting lost while looking for China Town. I was able to take the time to explore different parts of the CBD and the small little things that I encountered became the main source of entertainment when I went home that night.
A little note for everyone is that when visiting Australia, remember that people drive on the LEFT side of the road. I don’t need to tell you about the amount of times where I almost got run over because of my instinctive tendencies to assume that cars are coming in from the right.