In honor of Australia Day this upcoming Monday, I thought it’d be a great time to take questions, if you have one. It could be about Aussie culture, food, does-the-toilet-bowl-really-flush-in-reverse? or whatever.
Our friend, Jayme from Lincoln, emailed to ask yesterday, “I have been wanting to ask if your kids are getting an accent or not?” Love that you asked that! Not yet. Well, wait. It seems like Lizzy’s picked up how the Aussies say “no” with an “r” at the end, like “nohr.” Pretty cute. Lizzy starts kinder (2-day pre-school for 2.5 hours each day) on Tuesday, Feb 2, so ask me after a few weeks of school.
Leave your question in the comments for this post, or you can email me, too.
Have you seen the Southern Cross yet?
No, I haven’t, Linda. But looks like April (our fall here) is the time! For those like me who didn’t know, here’s a few interesting tidbits: “if you live south of the equator, it’s not the Big Dipper that people choose as their guide to the night sky. Rather, it’s the constellation known as Crux, or the Southern Cross. Although known as a cross, it really looks more like a kite, clearly outlined by four bright stars. The Southern Cross is the smallest (in area) of all the constellations. It is also honored on the flags of such countries as Australia and New Zealand, and its image is found on numerous postage stamps.”
The boys are still waiting for the answer to the water in the toilet question.😊
It’s funny to admit, I had to research it online because the toilets I’ve seen here are so efficient that there’s no swirling to be gauged. Just like one giant gulp of the toilet. Here’ the real answer, Michael & Liam: the toilet doesn’t flush in opposite direction in the southern hemisphere, compared to the northern. I know. I’m wondering what other Kool-Aid I’ve drunk for years. http://mentalfloss.com/article/30358/australian-toilets-dont-flush-backwards-because-coriolis-effect
What’s the food like there? Anything you can’t get that you really miss?
Is it ok to shout it? I MISS TEX-MEX! And, in sad news, Australian doesn’t allow for me to get spices (that would remedy my withdrawal) through customs. 😦 That’s mostly what I miss. But, I must say I love the global variety of food available here. Melbourne has to be one of the–if not “the” most international cities on the planet. Scott and I joke we need a restaurant/recipe BINGO card that we could put one country in each space and we’d have a “blackout” sheet filled by the time we return to the States. I’ll have to blog more about the food, but for now will say two things in the Bentley family meal rotation that I never saw coming are: lamb & (mild) Indian curries. The food is very fresh and waaaaay less processed than in the States. I’m loving that. Eating out is expensive, so people cook at home often. From what I’ve noticed, these are some favorites: they’ll BBQ (grill) kabobs and/or snags (sausage) or eat simple meal pies (like chicken pot pies only with beef). They eat fresh fruit multiple times daily–especially kids. Aussies have a “morning tea” and “afternoon tea” and, for kids, that’s usually a variety of seasonal cut up fruit that they devour. (Our kids love our big fruit bowl on the dining room table and are always asking what they can have next.) Even adults, who are more likely to have tea/coffee and a pastry during “tea” often will pack fresh fruit for lunch at the office, I’ve noticed. Even…men. I’m so impressed. Oh, so much to write about food, but I’ll have to promise a part 2, Hallie! (Oh, and I found a replacement for when I crave graham crackers but marshmallows like we have in the U.S. are still hard to find.)
Have you tried vegemite yet? Do they have Peter Pan peanut butter? What do Australians think of Americans?
Those are 3 big questions, Judy. Ha! Vegemite? Yes. But not on purpose. More like a snack accident at playgroup. A “mum” brought these (http://www.bestrecipes.com.au/recipe/cheese-and-vegemite-pinwheels-L14296.html) and I liked them…and then learned what was in them. Salty stuff for sure. Kids, from an early age, learn to LOVE it spread thinly on a piece of toast. Haven’t seen Peter Pan peanut butter but I was just thankful to see they have any PB here. Funny side note: Aussies think peanut butter and jam (jelly) is totally weird. And what do they think of Americans? That’s gonna be another post. 🙂
Do they really say “Good Day mate?”
What a great question! I haven’t heard the phrase, but they really do say “mate.” They’ll say it as a means to politely ask a question, “Where’s the toilet, mate?” But, largely, it’s a term used for a very loyal friend and it’s an honor to be called, especially for a man by his male friends.
Heather asked on Facebook, “Have you looked up 42 Wallaby Way in Sydney? Or does it even exist?”
I love it, Heather! How have I not watched “Finding Nemo” since we’ve moved? Sadly, I don’t think it’s a real address. But I haven’t been to Sydney yet. (8 hour car drive away from Melbourne.) If you don’t remember the scene Heather’s referring to, here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8vZHdKzesg
Mike asked on Facebook, “Why did the Aussies steal pavlova from the kiwi’s?” (“Aussies”=Australians & “Kiwi’s”=New Zealanders). Mike lived in New Zealand, so you can read into his question a bit. 😛
Mike’s touching a hot topic here. The delicious merangue-type dessert was named after Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova, and was thought to be created in her honor during one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand. Both countries kinda want to claim credit. 🙂 Either way, yummo! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavlova_%28food%29
Amy asked on Facebook, “Have you done a TimTam Slam yet?”
In all honesty, the Tim Tam is one of Australia’s best things going. And the Tim Tam slam? Oh my. That’s saliva I’m having to wipe off my chin. Tim Tams are biscuits (cookies) that have layers of wafer and chocolate. Tim Tam “slam” is the melted-chocolate wonderfulness you get when you take one small bite off of 2 opposite/diagonal corners, dunk in a hot cuppa (coffee, usually?) and take a drink of coffee through the Tim Tam, thus melting the cookie a bit…and then you quickly stuff it in your mouth before you have a mess everywhere. Hard to describe. It must be experienced. Come visit. http://bootcamp.parsons.edu/2012/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/tim-tam-slam.jpg