On Being Australian and other Ramblings

Trip Start Jun 09, 2005
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Trip End ??? ??, 2006


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Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Well, we have now been in London for four months and I have at one time or another been called 'an antipodean', 'from the new colonies', 'a convict', 'from one of those southern countries', a 'kiwi'? and various other colloquial terms for an 'Australian', which is a term NOT commonly used.

Everyone, including the ticket usher when I went to the ballet, has gone out of their way to remind me of our Ashes loss (so much for the English being good sports - thank god they've come a cropper in Pakistan, that should shut them up a bit) and even the rugby, which happened at LEAST two years ago.

My boss and fellow workmates know the following things about Australia and Queensland specifically:

1. We throw children overboard
2. Jo Bjeike-Peterson was our Premier (he's been gone for 20 years!)
3. Pauline Hanson doesn't like many people
4. we drink lots (like they don't!)

No wonder they think I'm a bit backward. In general, a lot of British seem to look on us fondly as somewhat over-friendly, 'children'. A fellow Australian who we have become friendly with over here was toldat work not to say 'hello' in an email, as this was 'over-friendly' and not formal enough - she should simply address the email 'all'. Since when has hello been rude?

All of this has simply served to entrench my 'Australianess' even further, and I'm pretty sure my accent is getting more ocker, not more 'British'. I am going to continue being polite and helpful, which DOES include saying 'please' and 'thankyou'. I will also continue to treat everyone in the same manner regardless of their 'position' or 'class' - yes, the class system is alive and well over here. Don't get me wrong, we have met some great British people who don't conform to the stereotype. Everyone tells me that this is just London, and everyone is much friendlier in the rest of England - . Makes sense I suppose.

It has definitely been an interesting experience to be the minority group within a country, something I had not really thought too hard about before. When I do come back to Australia I will never again stereotype people according to their country of origin as I now know just how annoying this is.

I am not particularly upset by the above, in fact it is constant source of enternmaint, and a daily challenge not to laugh in someone's face when they speak (particulary those of the toffy type or the Exeter type) I wish I could tell them what I really think of them. I suppose that is one of the reasons we left in the first place, was to experience other cultures - sure makes you appreciate your own though!

Apart from the above, am still having a ball and loving London more every day. It's a bit of a grower. For those of you who would like an official update, this is a list of 'touristy' things we have been up to since last writing (some photos attached): London Eye, British Art Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum, Hampton Court Palace,China town for Yum-cha (which is no better than the Valley version, but had to give it a go, right?), various pubs, checking out some of the biggest and coolest book and music shops you will ever see (Rob and Johhno, Matt & Bree etc), we have found at least 50 books and records you would kill for), going to the food market - the Cheese section is particularly droolworthy, having discovered how much better Unpastuerised cheese tastes (everything eventually comes back to food for me and Mick), went to the Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden for just 4 - what a bargain! (that's a lot of royals, isn't it?) - just realised how much we have actually done in a month. I am thoroughly castled, museumed and art galleried out for know - there's only so much culture a girl can take. We've also just had Guy Falke's night, which involves setting fireworks off all over the city for the whole weekend - those poor dogs!

From here on in, the plan is to get out of London a bit more - it sucks you in a bit, see more bands (it's been a bit quite lately, but Mick is hanging out for Turbo Negro later this month - I am NOT going Johnno), and save up a bit for Chrissie pressies and Christmas holiday )Prague and Berlin. For those of you who know about my passion for all things festooning, London is definitely the place to be - Christmas is BIG here. Can't wait!
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Comments

mexicanbob
mexicanbob on

jealous as ever
dear lisa, dont know when you will actually get this, but as ever am very envious of all you are seeing and doing, particularly this time of the year. all the decs etc. I will be doing my modest(?) bit again this year,only 32 trees and counting. Hope to ring on the weekend. love di.

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