I stayed home again yesterday with another sick kiddo—-poor Drew. That makes four missed days in just over two months of work, and guess what? Next Monday is another public holiday! It’s the day to celebrate the Queen’s birthday—yes, the Queen of Britain, God love the Commonwealth. Hopefully I can then get in three days of showing up to work before missing eight more.
I get paid on public holidays that fall on my work days, and many of them do happen to fall on Mondays, which is great. I am thoroughly enjoying the work benefits here. Compare these scenarios:
-Back in Colorado, I worked 20 hours a week, for $15 per hour plus commission (I think that is under minimum wage here, but even if not, it is pretty unfathomable to people), and no paid time off or any other benefits. After taxes, I cleared about $1500 per month. About $800 of that went to pay our babysitter, and another $300 went toward monthly health care premiums through Steve’s job, leaving me with about $400 per month to contribute to our bills.
-Now, I work about 12 hours a week for $25 per hour, and get paid holidays and the accrual of paid days off. 9% beyond what I earn is contributed by my company into a retirement account, and I am not taxed at all on my earnings until I earn more than $18,000 for the year (there is no Social Security benefit here). Therefore, I bring in about $1000 per month. We spend about $100 per month on childcare here, and at this point, have no health care premiums, leaving me with $900 per month to contribute to our bills. Pretty different……
We all have had a fun week: the boys and I enjoyed outings with new friends and having visitors over to play; Steve got out two nights to play footy and hang with manly men, and I ran 8k on Saturday morning and felt great doing it.
On Saturday we went to a “Playschool” show with some friends, held in a high school auditorium. No one would have heard of this show outside Australia, but it is HUGE here among the under five crowd! I kept hearing about it frequently wondering what people were talking about and finally discovered it on the kids’ TV channel. It is an Australian broadcast kids’ show and it is pretty darn good. Two ‘actors’ sing children’s songs and act out games and stories. What I like best about it is that they use no technology whatsoever, and use items commonly found around the house to make their props and use in their stories and games in the show—purely using imagination. It is quite easy to relate to, and it is one of the few shows that Zach actually gets into as well. Apparently, it is also where most of these nursery rhymes and songs that I have never heard before come from. It was a fun show and Steve was thrilled that I planned it for a weekend, including him in attendance.
It was very rainy beginning Wednesday and ending Sunday, which oddly made it warmer. Today I still don’t think our house has warmed up, although the outside has considerably. Other than our outing Saturday, Drew already had his cold and it was nice just to slow down and all relax as a family at home most of the weekend. I baked a lot; we watched Finding Nemo, etc. Sunday the rain stopped long enough to allow us to meet friends at the monthly farmers’ market in the main part of town which we really enjoy. And we got Subway for lunch. I felt like a foreigner big time, trying to order as I usually would. It’s odd—they call all raw vegetables here ‘salad’. There was a sign up telling the customer to choose our ‘salads’ with photos of all different types of vegetables. I also got to go to a baby shower Sunday afternoon, and it is always nice to get out of the house. Speaking of signs, my favourite by far is in the stores, where a register is closed, the sign says “Dear Customer: This checkout is closed.” So different from the States, where the sign says “Closed.” My how polite!
Last night Zach was up with a fever and now has Drew’s cold, but thankfully not another ear infection, so we’ve just been housebound for the day and hoping to get better. I swear all this has to be related to our house being so cold—how can you get over an illness when your body has to work so hard to stay warm?! I’m trying to keep them dressed warm enough. Ironically, whenever we go outside, it’s better.
Here are more funny comparisons:
-Diapers are called nappies, which I really don’t like. Since we use that word, if we ever do, to mean something disgusting, I just don’t like it and refuse to use it in reference to something on my child, even if it is his diaper.
-Pacifiers are called dummies which I also will not use. It sounds like we’re just trying to fool our babies which I don’t like—I’m sure it originated as a funny term for it, but still….
-A Crib is called a cot, which is fine; it just confuses me, and I still haven’t learned the word for our version of a cot.
-A hug is a cuddle, which just sounds funny to me. It is particularly funny when grown people are asking for a cuddle or offering a sad co-worker a cuddle or something like that! I always picture the person cuddling up to a stuffed animal in their bed!
-When people want to hold a baby, they ask to nurse the baby, which entirely freaked me out when we brought Drew here as a baby and they asked me to pass him to Steve’s Dad for a nurse—what?!
-It has also been quite tough to start using the word toilet instead of bathroom/restroom. People just don’t need that visual! Yuck! But I’m trying…..and am also trying to say the ‘bin’ instead of the ‘trash can’, although I don’t think I will ever be able to say ‘bin it’ instead of ‘put it in the trash.’ It’s not gross, like toilet; it just is too ingrained in me.
-Affectionately, they call babies bubbies, or bubs.
-When the weather is nice out, not too hot, not too cold, the meteorologist will say in his broadcast that it is ‘fine’ out, or when the rain has cleared up, that it has ‘fined’ up. That’s just not proper grammar.
-They call sweaters’ jumpers’, athletic shoes ‘boots’ (I don’t know what boots are called), and getting bundled up for the cold is called getting ‘rugged up’ (Also, blankets, especially when laid on the floor or ground as in the case of a picnic, are called ‘rugs’ or ‘picnic rugs’, again often leaving me confused, because I think carpet is called a rug as well, so I get lost when people start talking about putting a rug down on the rug).
-Arriving somewhere, or where we might say ‘showing up’ is called ‘rocking up’. The funniest thing about all these terms is that they are not just slang; they are used in the news or in professional settings.
-Stomp is now stamp; clothespins are pegs as are tent stakes; the sidewalk is the footpath (which does make good sense) and to call someone on the phone is to ‘ring’ them (yes, the phone rings when you ‘ring’ someone——huh?).
-The afternoon is called the arvo (Ha! Spell check even knows it!), which I just cannot pull off—just doesn’t sound right with an American accent. I could possibly try it if it was avro, which sounds more like the word it came from…..
-Finally, for today’s lesson, just take almost any word you can think of, take off the end, and add ‘ies’ or sometimes an ‘o’; even if it already has two syllables, because the Aussies believe it’s then easier and also likely more fun to say: Christmas—Chrissy (Spell check says Chrissie—which is it?), presents—pressies, relatives—rellies, sunglasses—sunnies, firemen—firies; post/mailman—postie, smoke break—smoko, service/gas/petrol station—servo, person who sells fish on the corner (we just don’t have a one-word description for that one!)—fisho, milkman—milko, garbage/rubbish collector—garbo, electrician—sparky…..wait a minute—how’d we get that one?! And how did a swimsuit come to be called togs, not even a tog?!