Happy Holidays

Stacey College will be closed from 19th December until 5th January 2015.

Wishing you a very merry Christmas and a happy new Year.

Please take a moment to read about what has been going on at our college during 2014 in our newsletter that can be downloaded below.

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Aussie Christmas

Can I Buy A Vowel?

 

Now let’s turn our attention to thAustralia ee sounde “ee” sound in Aussie. There is a need to make Australia seem less intimidating to outsiders because it is home to a slew of many frightening and lethal creatures. For example, there are more deadly snakes in Australia than any other country worldwide. The answer to this problem seems to be adding an ie,y or ee ending onto several essential words. This sounds absolutely adorable! It does feel downright odd though that a country that speaks English in such a cute way has Blog 8men the size of Chris Hemsworth, as well as sharks, killer snakes, spiders and drop bears. With words like footie, sunnies, cossie, mossie, rellies and schoolies, it is like the whole language is designed to take a tourist’s naive mind off the deadly flora and fauna.
You can imagine an entire continent of people saying,Blog 9 “Look at the beach now look at my hand there is a bikkie. Look at the beach, now at my hand, there are some sunnies for you. Look at the beach. You could be here at the beach instead of in your country freezing vital parts of your body off. Oops! Sorry ignore the huge shark. Go for a swim, she’ll be right mate.”
Blog 5It would make sense if this were the case, if the language was a vast conspiracy of cute designed by Australians to distract attention away from the dangerous insects, animals and plants native to Australia. This is really not the case though. Australians actually love to point out the variety of bugs this country has that can kill you! Give an Aussie an uninitiated tourist and they will frighten the pants off them in 5 seconds flat. They will spout numerous facts about the gruesome kinds of death or injury you can experience in this country. It makes me think they take children aside in school and say, “Alright this is how we scare the tourists, pay close attention!”
To put this all in perspective though, this is a country which boasts unusual animals of all kinds. Wblog 7hile the crocodile, box jellyfish and redback spider are indeed scary, the country is also home to kangaroos, koalas, quokkas and wombats. Also home to, I kid you not, the Fairy Penguin. These are animals which go above and beyond just cute .TheyBlog 3 are adorable bundles of picturesque sweetness that will reduce any tourists to oooohs and ahhhs. Petting them is even better. I will never forget the feeling of a kangaroo eating out of my hand while snuggling into me.  Australia is a wonderfully weird place where the absurdly dangerous meets the absurdly cute.

I think this is the only way we can really make sense of the language. It may be hard but try to imagine Chris Hemsworthblog 4 saying, “chippie”, and there you have Australia in a nutshell. By the way chippie does not mean what you think it means. One of the more entertaining parts of my life in Australia is trying to figure out the meaning of new “ee” words.

So let’s dive right in, what are some words you need to know and understand here in the Great Southern Land.

Chippie- Carpenter

Sparkie- Electrician

Lippy- Lip gloss

Footie- Australian Rules Football, side note here; it is necessary to know the difference between rugby and footie. Some American commentators messed up the two recently and Aussies everyone got a good chuckle out of that.

Kindy- Kindergarten

Tassie- Tasmaniablog 6

Bikkie- Cookie or Biscuit. Not to be confused with bikie – a guy on a motorcycle.

Esky- Cooler

Uni-University

Sickie- Sick day

Brekkie- Breakfast

Pressie- Present

Rellie- Relatives

Cossie- Swimsuit

Shonky- Dubious

Dodgy- Not to be trusted

Lackies- Elastic bands

Telly-TV

This is just a taste of some of the terrific ways Aussies have altered words. You can imagine having an average conversation can be a little mind boggling. I was once told I should, “Rug up and have a bikkie.” I was pretty baffled until it was translated for me. I was being told to wrap up in a blanket and have a cookie.  I had no objections. Add a cuppa, (cup of tea), to tBlog 1hat and I will stay for life.

Aussies are incredibly proud when their unique words make it to other parts of the world. Seeing the look of pride on my Aussie friend’s faces when I say a word like, “rellie”, in the middle of a sentence is worth feeling slightly strange when I actually say it. It may also make sense that Aussies speak this way since they also refer to their country as “lucky”. Why wouldn’t they? They live near the beach in temperate weather with a variety of beautiful native plants and animals. In fact if anything is a conspiracy maybe it is the built up reputation Australia has for being a place where death follows you constantly. Perhaps that is the biggest trick Aussies pull, making everyone think Australia is a frightening place to live when actually it is an insanely nice place to settle down.

I think you will see what I mean if you are brave enough to find an Australian and ask them about Drop Bears.

Down the Rabbit Hole-Stuck in Zhengzhou Part 2

Zhengzhou Rabbit Hole

Sitting in the dark, in a hotel room, in the middle of a town I had never been to before in China. The only sound was the echo of my slightly frustrated and emotional chuckle because seriously this day could not possibly be this bad. The temptation was to just burrow under the covers and pretend it wasn’t happening but that was not going to get the lights back on. I needed to put my big girl panties on and deal with it. Let me tell you how we got from a missed flight, newly booked flight and a hotel reservation to here.

I had a ticket and I managed to call a hotel and get a reservation but I now had to negotiate the taxi line. ThosNice Tourist Signe who have lived or are living in China can commence laughing at me now. Zhengzhou is a smaller town and they haven’t gotten around to regulating airport taxis as of yet so imagine a tiny,irate, exhausted fireball trying to convince a long line of drivers that she wasn’t taking a taxi unless they used the meter. Joke was on me because my driver said he would use the meter then took the long way around so 260rmb, (Chinese dollars), later I finally arrived at my hotel which was a grand total of 3 kilometers from the airport. I arrived at the hotel tired, hungry and riding a very thin line between patience and a World War III emotional breakdown. I would not be the ugly foreigner again. I would be sweetness and light. Ha!
Since the airport did not take Mastercard I thought it would be judicious to ask, before I checked in, if the hotel took Mastercard. “Oh yes, we do, of course!” Except we don’t apparently. The hotel is brand new and the bank hasn’t approved it, they will have the Hard Time Signpermission by the end of the month. I was told this right after I was all checked in and they wanted me to pay. “You can’t pay in cash?” they asked.  No I couldn’t because as a rule I don’t keep that much cash on hand ever. Tomorrow would have to include a trip to the bank to get the money and pay them. Lovely.
I had not eaten all day either, so my next stop after the room had to be a restaurant, room service or a hotel restaurant. There was no room service or nearby restaurants but the front desk informed me there was a restaurant on the 3rd floor so I went there….except it wasn’t open…yet. It is a new hotel, in fact it is so new the elevator still has paint all over the mirrors, so yeah, ok you get the picture.
Thankfully for some reason they had a waitress looking after a restaurant that had tables, chairs, plates, polished flatware and napkinsChina_Funny_English_inscriptions_Summer-Palace-Beijing but no customers. No it is not the Twilight Zone, just a new hotel. They also had a chef. The two of them decided that they would give me food. I think if I didn’t have a husband, I might marry that chef because of his kindness to me. He made me egg and tomato noodle soup and an espresso.  I might marry him even though I have a husband because wow, he knows how to treat a girl.
My day was looking up. It was 9 pm, almost the end of the day, but I am an optimist when caught at the right moment.  I believed the day could still get better. I had a hotel room, I had a flight, I had eaten and developed a very proper crush on the hotel chef. (Don’t worry my husband will understand, he knows all about my relationship with caffeine.) Nothing could go wrong. All was right with the world. I blame the caffeine for this uncharacteristic rush of euphoria.
But… five minutes passed and the power in the whole hotel went out.  My rush of euphoria promptly left and I could only laugh and  I lived in Welcome Zhengzhou Airporthope my flight did actually make it out of Zhengzhou the next day.  I was also thankful for my Chinese language at the moment. Most days I feel that you can make it in China without a lot of language. Today, however, if I could not speak the language I am afraid I would have been stuck forever. To be honest, I am not sure I am going to make it out of this city even with the language. I hope I see you all again, if not, I guess I have moved back to China.

And the rest of the story…

For those of you wondering what happened with the power and paying the hotel bill this is the happily ever after. After looking out the window and determining that it was a whole hotel problem, I started trying to contact the front desk. I had no luck but did find a maintenance man out in the hall a few minutes later who assured me he would have the power back on in 10 minutes, and he did. After a very good night’s sleep, I was taken to the bank the next day by a lovely member of the hotel staff. Not the chef. I arrived and the bank president promptly came out to show me the banks brand new ATM machine. He was quick to point out the English capabilities of the machine and I was very thankful, if a bit embarrassed. I paid my hotel bill and got to the airport where my flight took off and landed in Beijing. I made it through another 18 hours of flights and some layovers and home to Perth.

If you are looking for more great ironic pictures of signs in China, try this link Shanghaiexpat.com.

Another International Student Success Story

From The Australian 12th September 2014

12.9.2014b 12.9.2014

Newcomers to Australia have a lot to Offer

Below is a beautiful story out of the Australian Newspaper today about a young Iranian, new to Australia, with a talent for the English language. There are so many encouraging stories of those who choose to make Australia home. This is just one of them.

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Can I get some help?- Well, I need some

In March 2014, Ross Taylor, President Screen Shot 2013-03-03 at 11.17.05 AMof the Perth-based Indonesian Institute, suggested that Indonesia could provide nannies for Australians and relieve some of the issues surrounding childcare in Australia. A huge problem in this country which every mother has experienced and to which there does not seemed to be a well thought out solution in place.  It is a dilemma, and it seems that leaders think if we just talk about the problem and then sort of ignore it well it might just go away. Probably more to the point, they will get elected looking like they care and then do nothing and no one will be all that surprised. The wonders of democracy around the world!

There was almost nothing said in the media about the fact the Indonesian Instituthe-nanny-diaries-5290a42c68b23te had suggested it. No one was leaping at it as a possible solution. Overseas Foreign Workers send back $5 billion a year to the Philippines and have been called heroes by one of the country’s former presidents.  Has The Nanny Diaries scared us all off? Are we scared of Asian immigrants stealing day-care jobs?  I find the non-reaction funny because if by some miracle Indonesia did start sending nannies over and, big if, we could afford it, then we would be running over people to invite an Indonesian nanny to come work for us.
Let me tell you why. We had a Helper in China. A Helper is a person who is employed by the family to well… help. She did, so much. She heHelper Chinalped me by teaching me language for everyday things. She made delicious Chinese food for us. She laughed with me on my days when I didn’t seem to be able to figure out how to do even the simplest things in China. She cleaned our house. She became a loved auntie to our children. She spoiled them…rotten. We ate at her house and her daughter played with our children. She hugged me and cried with me when my grandmother died. She was and remains to this day, a friend.

Is it possible for some people who are employed in these types of positions to be exploited? No one would like to hear this, but yes and it happens more frequently than we would like to know. It is hard work and when the employer is from a different culture then there is the possibility that every day will mean culture shock or, in the worst scenarios, abuse for the employee. They can be asked to do too much. We can blame them for mistakes we made ourselves. I have done that.  I would rant to my husband about a sweater that was lost and claim that she must have put it somewhere strange only to find a that I had lent it to a friend. If you can think of a mistake to make with someone working in your house, chances are I did it because I am flawed like that.
There were plenty of friends and family living in other countries who would make judgments about our lifestyle based on the fact we had a Helper. I was teased many times about my “high on the hog” lifestyle. To those who teased me I laugh and say, “Yes and I loved it!” I have a friend who nicknamed her Helper the “Dinner Fairy”. They both got a good kick out it. She was charmingly overboard in her gratefulness and amazement at the wonder of a dinner which magically appeared without the need for her to slave over it. I don’t blame anyone for being green with envy over that lifestyle and if the employee is happy and fairly treated then I don’t see any reason to apologize out of a silly sense of misplaced guilt.
We kept it as fair as we could by paying a decent wage, fairly allocating sick days and holidays, making friends with her, and providing training. Our helper learned to cook many western dishes to sell to others. Training Helpers
She always made them better on her first try than I made them after a lifetime of practice. She would make tortillas once a week for our youngest child. All he ever had to say was, “I am hungry” in Chinese and he had tortillas. Spoiled rotten! One of our friends tutored her Helper in English and she became a teacher’s assistant. This was not something our Helper desired but I think it is important to provide opportunities to learn new skills.
It doesn’t always work well and I wouldn’t want the job of figuring how to legislate this for the best of everyone involved, but the cultural enrichment and relationship is fabulous. It must be free and fair. I have no interest in a program which abuses people.  I would love to make a new friend. Maybe I would make a fewer mistakes than I did before.

Our helper didn’t live in our home, which is a whole other ball of wax. So, would you hire an overseas nannie if you could?

*I have omitted our Helper’s name and have not included photos of her out of respect for her privacy.

Waiting to Exhale- Inside the mind of a Semi- Bilingual

You may catch me sometimes looking atMixed Flag you blankly, hesitating for several beats before I answer your question or finish the sentence I just trailed off in the middle of. You may have already started your next thought and moved on without me. Forgive me, but the truth is I am still trying to figure out whether to call it a wardrobe, a dresser or a gui zi柜子. My mind is stuck in a hamster wheel flashing up other options that might work as well. The problem is that one of those words has the best meaning but the person I am talking to probably wouldn’t understand it. So here I am, holding my breath and waiting for the word to come out, and here you are, trying to pretend that I am not odd or an airhead or at the least just a little ditzy. In some instances I will just use the wrong word for the language I am speaking at the time, and if you wait for it I may remember to translate for you when it finally clicks that you have no idea what I just said. This process makes me look even more ditzy because I should be able to remember what language I am speaking, right?

I am not really bilingual, and if you want to know the truth I am not even biEnglishgual. Yep, you caught me, that is not a word. If in doubt I like to make it up as I go along. Try to keep up because my mind is a bumpy ride. So is it a clothespin or a peg? Or a i_talk_to_myself_in_2_languages_kid_s_t_shirt-r581602a7953b4888b0479cc8c85dac3b_wio57_324clothes peg? Is it a laundry powder or laundry detergent or washing powder? The English isn’t even really the problem. It is just incredibly entertaining for you because in those instances when my mouth doesn’t wait for my brain to catch up, you to hear me rattle off every word I can think of that might fit until you nod and say, “Yes that is it, I know what you mean.” My good friends do this because they know they have to eventually indicate which word is the right one for Australia or else I will just keep going. Sometimes I think they let me keep going as long as they do because it amuses them to watch me try. Some of the words I come up with are way off base. Did you know a brad in the US is a split pin in Aussie land? Those words have no relation what so ever.

Chinese, that other language that I semi speak but am completely illiterate in, is the real issue. It’s the issue because there are so many of my thoughts, that after 12 years of living there, I must express in Chinese. You think I am talkative, verbose and overwhelming? Imagine if you could hear the 30% of my thoughts that are kept quiet because the entire sentence can only be expressed in Chinese. Oh boy, would you love that joke or appreciate the irony if only you knew what the heck I was saying. Imagine how much more articulate I am when I don’t stop breathing in the middle of a thought because the last half of the thought was in Chinese and now I have to translate it or explain it.20507975064be68c6999116 You might find me understandable. You might think I was humorous. Well maybe not because I never really mastered the art of a joke in Chinese. I want to tell you I have a gege 哥哥, not a brother, because then you would know without any further explanation that he is my older brother. I want to tell you that that problem I am having is well meibanfa 没办法 .  This has so much more meaning than just no solution because it indicates there will never be a solution and all hope is lost. I feel this way when dealing with websites and html. Another word that comes to me when I think of html is ma-fan麻烦. It means trouble or stress or both rolled into one. Hard to translate but sheer joy to apply when you are at the end of your rope. And when you are leaving my house after I have complained about all of the above, I want to say man-zou 慢走 because it kind of means take your time leaving but it also dayton chinesemeans I care and because I care I say man-zou not just see ya. If you are born into a single language family, then all your thoughts and feeling take place in that language. Like me, you may not realize that there are a bunch of other thoughts, feelings and ways to describe things until you start to learn your second language. Once that other language and culture becomes part of you, it becomes very difficult not to express that other language and culture. It becomes, for me, like holding your breath and containing all those other descriptions and thoughts that are running through your head.

By the way if you are bilingual and would like to own one of the t-shirts in the picture above, you can find them and many more items for bilingual families at Bilingual Style.

Me and My Mates-Part 3 of On How To Be An Aussie

Mate is one of the best words to learn if you are trying to be an Aussie. A word that I believe is most misukeanu-reeves-bill-teds-150a092209-fpnderstood by the world outside of Australia because it is not often used to mean an actual mate, and by that I mean friend or significant other. Mate is used in such a plethora of different ways that I can write a whole blog about this one word. It reminds me a great deal of how we used to use the word “Dude”. For reference please see Keanu Reeves in “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure”. Duuuuuude!

 

The best definitioncartoon mates I have seen so far was in the online Urban dictionary which says a mate is anyone you don’t know or can’t remember the name of. Perfect! Although there are other uses for the word this one really sums up its most common use. Although, I would have to add that when it is used this way there is often a heavy sarcastic tone added to it and in this context it comes closest to meaning idiot of the highest order. In the car when road rage strikes it’s, “What are you thinking MATE?” When another person knocks into you, “Well excuse me MATE!”  Aussies are most likely to also add one of the five senses to this as well as in, “Look Mate…” or “Listen Mate..” when look or listen is added to mate you are in trouble. The look and listen mate is usually accompanied by the Chris Hemsworththor  vibe. This is when an Aussie bloke stands up tall, squares his shoulders and looks down at you with a scowl on his face. His voice will also deepen an octave or two, just in case you were not already aware you were in trouble. Sometimes there are no words needed after the “Look mate”, after all most lessor mortals are apologizing and running the other way. An Aussie male was chosen to play Thor for a good reason. I am not sure where Aussie men learn this. I don’t think they are taught. I think the skill is simply part of being an Aussie bloke. I believe it makes its first appearance somewhere right around the first time that their team loses a game.  My best advice is not to be there when that happens.

It is, however, amusing to watch if you are not the target of the aforementioned look or listen mate. If it happens to be between two relatively good natured Aussie blokes then it can be quite educational.  You may even get the rare instance of a, “Look mate!” being answered back by a, “Listen mate!” If you happen to catch this rare display of Aussie blokes in action, then watch and learn… from a safe distance.

“Maaaaate!” When mate is used in this context it comes closest to meaning awesome. Oddly enough you will hear this usage when a tip-jar-hints-cheers-mate1 member of an Aussie bloke’s favourite team does something really spectacular.  It can also be used to refer to cars, electronic devices and DIY done by an Aussie bloke. Barbecues are also an important part of the Aussie male psych so listen for it when a new barbecue is purchased as well.

“Ohhhh mate.” This is the direct opposite of the mate mentioned above. I have been hearing this one a lot this year as my husband’s footy team, The West Coast Eagles, is not doing very well. Whenever a particularly idiotic play is made then I can be sure and hear this. You may also hear it when a real mate or child gets hurt. The depth of sympathy that comes across in the, “Ohhhh mate”, in these instances is second to none and manages to convey real sympathy and concern.

Lastly, let’s talk about mateship. Aussies really value mateship and it means something quite deep. It is part of the Australian military vernacular and also has been used by the Salvation Army to invoke a deeper call to action towards those who may be struggling. When an Aussie man says, “Yeah he’s a good mate”, he usually means something a bit more than just a guy I watch a game with or a colleague I work with. This is a man who will be with them or who has been with them through real life stuff. It is usually someone they think they can count on or someone they would be willing to be there for. Australian understatement is a real part of this as an Aussie is very unlikely to say, “Yeah this here is the best man I have ever met. He’s been with me through thick and thin.”  Instead you might hear a, “Oh yeah Mike? Yeah we’re mates.”

Someone should and could write a book about how Aussies use the word mate. It is fascinating and new uses seem to be invented everyday because this is not a nation ofmate men who like to talk. If one word can be used to mean several different things and convey feeling then by all means that word will be used instead of actual sentences.

I will leave off with the following series of jokes about the differences between Americans, Australians, Brits and Canadians. I found them at conviction creations. I hope you enjoy it as much I did.

Canadians: Endure bitterly cold winters and are proud of it.

Brits: Endure oppressively wet and dreary winters and are proud of it.

Americans: Don’t have to do either, and couldn’t care less.

Aussies: Don’t understand what inclement weather means.

 

Aussies: Are extremely patriotic about their beer.

Americans: Are flag-waving, anthem-singing, and obsessively patriotic to the point of blindness.

Canadians: Can’t agree on the words to their anthem, in either language, when they can be bothered to sing them.

Brits: Do not sing at all but prefer a large brass band to perform the anthem

 

Americans: Will jabber on incessantly about football, baseball and basketball.

Brits: Will jabber on incessantly about cricket, soccer and rugby.

Canadians: Will jabber on incessantly about hockey, hockey, hockey, and how they beat the Americans twice, playing baseball.

Aussies: Will jabber on incessantly about how they beat the Poms in every sport they played them in.

On How To Be An Aussie-Part 2

teaflag1 Since I shared a little pronunciation tip with you in part 1, I will share another one. My name in the Aussie accent is most often pronounced “Christerr”. This is because any word that ends with an “a” and is followed by another word beginning with a vowel gets the “err” treatment. It does occasionally make you feel like the entire nation chooses to talk like a pirate but only on certain words.  My name is usually only pronounced “Christa” when is said by itself, which most commonly happens in anger or frustration. Overall, it seems like a good reason to prefer the pirate version. Meal and refreshment times that commonly take place during the day are: Breakfast, Morning Tea, Lunch, Afternoon Tea, Tea and Supper. This will vary from house to house but it is pretty close. Breakfast is a fun one because, unlike the States, there are prohibitions on certain foods being eaten for breakfast. Donuts are a no-no. Huge no-no with chocolate and sprinkles all over it. The average donut is too sweet for most Aussies to consider it acceptable morning food. Donuts can be eaten at one of the many tea times instead, so that makes up for it a bit. I should also address American Biscuits here. I made biscuits for my husband and some Aussie friends for the first time and theyteas-from-australia-610x250 were so over-the-moon impressed. It took me awhile to figure it out until my friend said to me, “Wow! You make your own scones?” My response was, “Uhhh scones yeah sure ok you bet I do.” Internally I was celebrating, because if a rough biscuit can be considered a scone then score for me. Just do not put gravy on them. Unwritten Aussie rules state that scones come with cream, butter, jam and fruit maybe, but never something savory like gravy. Also, serve those biscuits/scones for morning tea because scones aren’t really a breakfast food either. Now we move onto tea times. If you had asked me about tea in Australia before I met my husband or moved here, I probably would have pictured someone outside boiling water with tea leaves in it and the tea being some really manly beverage with bits of stuff strained through your teeth when you drank it. After I met my husband, I still diinstylemagaudn’t know that much but I thought any country that could produce his accent and Tim Tams had to be pretty awesome. I was right, if you are wondering – Aussie land is paradise on earth. Tim Tams, by the way, are chocolate-covered, cream-filled biscuit bliss. Don’t ever try one – you will be addicted and no other biscuit/cookie will ever satisfy you. For a truly amazing experience you have to try the Tim Tam Slam. You can see Natalie Imbruglia, (yeah for the famous Aussie), give a how-to for the Tim Tam Slam  on Youtube by clicking here. Using a chocolate biscuit to drink tea,now that is Australian. Morning and afternoon tea  are short breaks for a cup of anything you like, but a lot of people here enjoy a cup of tea with milk so be sure to have the carton out and a bikkie (or biscuit), which is a called a cookie in some countries. You can also refer to the hot drink as a “cuppa”.  Tea and supper is where we most commonly get confused. Tea is actually the main meal of the evening in a lot of Australian houses, so do not serve them a snack and make sure you clarify before you make plans for “tea” with one family and “supper” with another. Supper is actually another light snack sometime during the evening. While Australia is a nation that has relatively recently gotten into coffee drinking and does it well, there will still be several people that ask you, “Would you like a cup of tea?” and really mean any hot drink that they might have available. On my first trip here, being a guest, I just agreed and ending up drinking so many cups of tea I could have hosted my own party in Boston. Having been born to two parents with strong southern roots, I also discovered that the amount of sugar I like in my tea is incredibly culturally inappropriate in this health-driven nation. People kept asking me if I wanted one sugar or two and I thought, “Are you kidding me? I want 5 or 6 of those tiny little spoons you are using.” Years after that trip someone insisted on making me a cup of tea and she was adamant that she would not judge me on my sugar intake. When she saw how many teaspoons I actually put into the tea, (I only put half as much as I usually would because she was intently watching me), she commented with horror in her eyes, “You know it tastes just as sweet if you just stir it more.” To which I laughed and responded, “That is so incredibly wonderful that you are healthy enough to believe that, but it is just simply not true honey.” Given that there are at least two mea20140703_144603l times that are referred to as “tea times” you are going to need to stock up. This shouldn’t be hard. The average Aussie supermarket, , carries three times the varieties of tea as they do of coffee, and usually only two kinds of hot cocoa, if you are lucky. Flavored creamers?  Flavored coffee? Unless it’s instant, forget that stuff because they have saved the room on the shelf for tea, tea and more tea.(See the photo of tea shelves above and the photo of coffee shelves below) There are more instant coffee varieties sitting on the shelf than real coffee! Somewhere around 15 brands or types of coffee with20140703_144614 one poor little can of creamer sitting on the shelf is pretty good. That is evidence of your local supermarket really making an effort. Better get used to drinking milk or soy milk in your coffee. I hope you enjoyed this random collection of information about tea in Australia. If you would like a bit more of an organized view you can visit Silva Spoon. For part 1 in How To Be An Aussie click here.

On How To Be An Aussie-Part 1

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Warning: Sweeping generalizations about Australian culture about to take place. For the Aussies out there, however, Crocodile Dundee and the Crocodile Hunter will not be involved in any way. Before we get started on one of the most important parts of Australian culture that any outsider needs to understand, I would like to address the pronunciation of the term Aussie. For anyone who might be under the impression that the double s’s actually stand for a phonetically “s” sound that is not true and will irritate everyone down under. It is a “z” sound, so think of it more like “Auzzie” ok? Great. Now thheraldsunat that little tidbit is out of the way, let’s move on to one of the most important aspects of Australian culture.In Australia, it is that time of year again. The time when it is winter here, and summer in most other places where international sport is played competitively.  The time when you get the best up close look at the Australian obsession with sport in almost any form. This time of year Australians are rolling from one late night/early morning international sporting event to the next and paying for it with bloodshot eyes and barely functioning brains. How far you are willing to go to watch that sporting event live is a matter of pride that you can celebrate the Group B - Chile vs Australianext day at work. Our winter TV watching will go from the World Cup to Wimbledon, to the Tour de France and on and on and on. Heaven forbid the Ashes, (a mind bogglingly important series of Cricket games between England and Australia), or the Olympics be on TV, because there will not be one drop of sleep to be had.   I recently rolled my eyes as my husband got out of bed at 4 in the morning to see a World Cup match and stayed up until 2 am just a day later to watch Wimbledon and the World Cup.  Colleagues are sure to go to work the next day and eye each other with an odd mixture of pride and sympathy as they struggle to complete mundane tasks. Courier mail auLest you think this might be viewed negatively by their bosses, let me share a few things to reassure you. This is a country where the prime minister, (see him in the photo to the right), once said, “Any boss who sacks anyone for not turning up today is a bum.” This was after an Australian yacht won the America’s Cup in 1983. Also, this is a country where an entire state gets a public holiday for the Melbourne Cup which is a horse race that lasts just a few minutes. So have no fear, the bosses will mostly show up half awake as well. Thank goodness “Gridiron” or as it is called in the States, “Football”, hasn’t reaAFL Photo Gallerylly caught on here yet. Why would it? This is a nation where the game Aussie Rules Footy is played and it is not a game for the weak at heart. This is game where a player recently went off field, got his nose and half his face bandaged, and then returned to play the rest of the game through pain and blood. This is game where pads are for the wimps and the play doesn’t stop for 1st and 2nd downs, cheerleaders or running out of bounds. There is slight break for half time but if you blink you will miss it, so the sprint to the toilet is a national pastime as well. If Aussie Rules isn’t enough for you, this is a nation where they play Rugby and Rugby is a game that must be watched to be believed. Mums in Australia don’t ask other mums if a child plays sport – they ask which sports a child plays. For the answer, assume anything less than two sports is incorrect and will earn you a concerned look and a response something to this effect, “Oh well that’s ok. It’s good to take a break now and then.”  Since I have just mentioned Mums lets address the gender divide. Lest you think that it is only the men staying up late to watch sport, let me tell you the women here are just as into sport as the men. One of my best friends can name off tennis players and their superstitions and will stay up late or wake up early Daily Telegraphto watch an important match. She will also sit and watch cricket all day for the right match. This is not an isolated case. Most of my female Aussie friends have at least one international sporting event that they will willingly sacrifice sleep for. I have another friend who stays up for the Tour De France.

So do you want to be a genuine Aussie? Pick a sport or two or three or all of them. Watch it with a degree of devotion that requires physical sacrifice on your part. You are sure to blend right in at work the next day with your blood shot eyes and triple shot of caffeine.

Part two is coming soon!