An American in the Land of OZ

We continue to groove along in our little routine, thankful that everyone is feeling well.  We (well, especially me) continue to adjust to being cold inside and warm outside and are enjoying the beautiful weather.  I am glad to be back to exercising again, because I always feel saner that way.  My morning jogs are darker and chillier now, but I do love the smell of jasmine blooming.

I have missed my American TV shows quite a bit, and have been trying to become more local and pick up some Aussie shows, especially now that we are the proud owners of my first ever brand new TV.  Thankfully, a friend illegally downloads Dancing with the Stars for me, so I just have to stay away from the American news about it, and I get to watch that.  I tried the Aussie version once and they just talked way too much instead of danced, and you just can’t beat Hollywood I guess.  We get to watch Grey’s Anatomy, Two and a Half Men (although both of those seem to be going downhill anyway), and Parenthood in some sort of weird unpredictable schedule, but that’s still nice.  I can’t figure out TV here—shows start at 8:33 p.m. one week, 8:47 the next, 8:56 the next—-SO, SO odd!  The American Today show comes on at 9:00 a.m. (roughly), and twice a week I can usually catch about 15 minutes (what I can hear of it anyway, thanks to my two little companions) of the previous day’s news. 

This past week, on recommendation, I tried an Aussie show called Packed to the Rafters, a night time drama.  Not really a big fan so far.  I also tried Downton Abbey, which I have heard people rave about and I think is British.  I’ll watch them both a couple more times before I make up my mind. 

The big news of last week is that we had two invitations to friends’ homes—fun!  Friday after swimming the boys and I went to a new friend’s house from our music group to play for a bit with her two kids and another friend’s kid.  They both moved up here from Tasmania about six years ago, which has been an adjustment for them.  Then on Saturday, we were all invited to afternoon tea at my new South African friend from playgroup’s house.  It was a really nice time, my first proper afternoon tea, complete with the nice tea kettle, cups and saucers, etc.  Another family from playgroup came as well, and we all remarked at how interesting it was that aside from Steve, there was only one other Australian in the bunch, other than a couple of the children.  One couple are both from South Africa, and one of the husband’s is from Northern Ireland and his wife lived over in England with him for several years.  Aside from being a VERY Caucasian country, and quite conservative, it is actually very diverse, as far as so many people that are not native Australians.  That really makes it fun for me, hearing all the different accents and life experiences. 

Saturday evening we got to see more familiar faces of friends from home—yay!  SO, SO comforting and such fun to look forward to these visits.  Our friends from Kansas are in town (he is Steve’s long time Aussie mate, kind of a cousin) and we got to meet up with them and some other friends for dinner.  It was a great evening and we were both so impressed by how well the boys behaved—all that day actually, dealing with grocery shopping in the morning, the tea at a new friend’s house and then this dinner, which kept them up until 10:00 p.m.!  They were fabulous.  On the way to the car from dinner, I asked Drew how he had liked getting to be up at “night time” (I had hyped it up all day, how they got to be up and out to dinner after dark), and he said, “I am just too tired.  I don’t want to ever do that again.”  Awww—bless his heart.  

Sunday we were lazy and took it easy and eventually went for a short hike in a nearby National Park, enjoying a picnic lunch afterward and basking in this gorgeous weather.  The boys were pretty tired and crabby and Zach refused to wear shoes.  Steve said he is our Aboriginal child, walking down trails without shoes!  At lunch it was really funny—we were pretty much surrounded by bush turkeys begging for food.  It was similar to American magpies or gray jays (camp robbers) trying to get fed, except the birds are larger and therefore more menacing. The boys were hilarious alternating between trying to shoo them away and running scared in the other direction. 

Steve is starting to settle in at his job and has started playing footy (rugby) on Tuesday nights with a group of guys.  I am starting to get in the groove at my job and am enjoying it and the boys are doing well in school.  In fact, Zach appears to be a different child altogether at school—his teacher told me how easy and pleasant he is and then said she thinks he will be ready for undies soon with how well he’s using the toilet.  What?!  She was surprised by my stunned reaction—-the kid consistently refuses to use his little potty at home! 

At Drew’s school yesterday some of the kids played superheroes, while some played fairies.  Drew was the only boy in the fairy group and loved making his own necklace, wearing a tulle skirt and performing a show for the superheroes along with the other fairies.  At music time this morning, he went straight for the fairy dress up clothes when they were brought out.  However, he also went straight for the ride on cars and then hung like a monkey from all the couches in the room as well.

By the way, if I am to be a local, I should start calling couches lounges.  I think I should say “I am going to go lounge on the lounge in the lounge”, instead of “I am going to go lay down on the couch in the living room.” 

Some other fun ones:

-A “sliver” as in a small piece of pie or a tiny piece of wood stuck in your hand is now a “slither.”  What?!  Isn’t that what a snake does?

-Whatever is “farthest” away is now “furtherest.”  I don’t think so!  That’s not grammatically correct!

-You don’t get “oriented”, you get “orientated.”  Really?

-“Tape, rolls and hearts” are now “Sticky tape, bread rolls and love hearts.”  There you go—refuting my theory that Aussies like to shorten words or use less of them.

I am over 300 pages into the book “Gone with the Wind,” (only 1000 pages left!) which I have wanted to read for quite some time.  I think I have mentioned before that Australian English is much more similar to British English than to American English and wondered why ours is so different.  My theories have been either that because Australia was settled 100 years later than the U.S., that Americans use an older version of English than Australians and Brits do.  OR, that because Americans are not part of the Commonwealth in any way, fought for our independence and are fiercely protective of it to this day, that we purposely changed our words so that we would not sound like the British.  Well, this book, published in 1936, uses more of the Australian/British spellings and words, which would indicate that American English has morphed and quit using those words and spellings in the past 100 years, whether on purpose or subconsciously.  Anyone know the answer?  Remind me to Google that one of these days!

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