10 things about Australia you’d never know without moving hereBy
I’ve only been in Australia a week, but I’m soaking up information like a sponge. One of my favorite parts about moving to a new country is that things I’ve accepted as normal all my life are very suddenly not. Here’s, much in the same vein as a similar list I did for Ireland and for America, is a list of ten things that have caught me by surprise in my first week in Oz.
1 – When Aussies move apartments, they move their large appliances, too. I helped my friend move into her new flat and wheeled a big ol’ washing machine in through the hallway. It’s typical here in Oz for appliances to stay with the owner (even renters), including refrigerators, washers and dryers — although driers are hardly needed with the blistering heat and near-constant sunshine.
2 – Aussies are fashionable. Not since I was in France have I felt so underdressed. Last Monday, I took the train into Melbourne’s CBD, ducked into a bathroom, looked in a mirror and thought, “This won’t work.” One shop and $70 later, I was hopefully looking a little more fashionable to start the job hunt.
3 – They refer to their downtown as “CBD” (central business district) — a term I was only familiar with from my urban studies class prior to coming to Oz.
4 – Things are expensive. I’m currently sitting in a bar using wifi in mid-afternoon, drinking a $7.50 Corona. To get here I needed to buy an $11.90 day pass for Melbourne’s extensive tram and train network.
5 – They take their coffee oh-so-seriously. I suppose it should be refreshing having been in Germany and Czech Republic, the land of instant coffee, but I’m trying to claim that I have experience as a barista. I thought I had that experience, but many job postings advise applicants, “Must be able to make a rosetta and heart in the latte for consideration.” Sheesh.
6 – Melbourne is massive. It’s only double the size of the Twin Cities in Minnesota, but unlike the Twin Cities, the suburbs are not just a place you go to settle down and have a family. Suburbs an hour from the CBD can still have a hip, youthful vibe about them. This can make a commute from one fashionable area of town to another over an hour, longer if you rely on public transit.
7 – They will catch you for not having the correct metro ticket. Until yesterday, I was staying in Clayton, just one stop out of the cheaper Zone 1 area. There were no turnstiles, however, so I had been just buying a Zone 1 ticket at half the price, since my Zone 2 travel time accounted for five minutes of my nearly hour-long journey. Sure enough though, I was cornered at the gate by a transport enforcement officer and had to play my “Oh I’m just an American tourist I didn’t realize…” card in order to avoid at $180 fine. Luckily, the officer was feeling generous.
8 – There are no entry-level jobs. In the service industry, everyone wants to know if you have experience. No one will interview you for a job, they’ll just ask you to work for free in a “trial” then assess how you did afterward.
9 – People actually eat kangaroo. Australians love to explain, in a self-mocking tone, that they’re the only country that eats their national emblem (a kangaroo and an emu). I had my first ‘Roo Burger the other night. It was chewy, but good. Mmm, marsupial.
10 – K-Fed is a big deal down here. He’s got his own show and everything.