We are really enjoying our time in Australia, yes we miss home, but we love learning things from the Australians. They really have taught us a lot, but here are ten things.
10. Take time and drink coffee/tea
I can not tell you how many times I hear friends inviting friends, or coworkers for a coffee. Coffee is also a very social time. Australians know good coffee, and are proud of that. While a cup of coffee will run you anywhere from $3.00 to $6.00. Their coffee and social time has turned me into a coffee drinker. When I first moved here, I would only order Chai latte, until I found out how many calories were in one and how frequently I was going out for a coffee. Josh and I wake up every morning around 4:30 just so we can have forty-five minutes each morning before the crazy day starts, sit outside, talk and drink our coffee. I thank Australia for teaching us to do that.
9. Eating is a social time
If you go to dinner with some friends, it may take four hours. You don't plan dinner and a movie. There is no tipping here so the servers are not really pushing you out the door the second you take your last bite. The servers will get paid the same if you leave or not. It may take an hour to get your food, and everyone is ok with that. During the weekend, brunch is a huge meal, I see people sitting at a table when I go for a run and still there when I am coming back after 13 miles. Going out is just much slower paced.
8. Attending church is an effort
Growing up in the Bible belt, and going to a Christian University, I took church for granted. I mean come on, if you are in the Bible Belt, can you count the churches in your town? Here you have to seek to find a church. A lot of the church buildings have been turned into bars or other things, because church is not that big of a deal here. Not many people choose to go.
7. Travel is a must
When you sit down with a group of friends, one of the topics discussed frequently, is "So, where are you going next." "Tell me about your trip to X." Even in schools, when I listen to the children speak, they all talk about going to this country or that. Last year almost half of my class was not born in Australia. This year I do not have anyone in my class that hasn't left Australia at least once. Australian's look at the world as a place of adventure. Most Australian's I know make a place in their budget for travel. Most people would say food, clothing, shelter are all a human needs, Australian's would add travel to the needs list.
6.The world is small
Now going with the travel thing, you meet people from every country and culture here. When you have conversations with people you can always find someone who is from a country you are interested in or at least visited it. I love to go and talk to people from the place while I am planning a trip. Australia is a real place where cultures have melded together, while still holding on to the personal traditions of the individual. There is every type of food you can imagine (except Tex-Mex) in Australia. You really can see many types of cultures in one place.
5.Work to live, not live to work
This is something I really feel most American's get wrong. A lot of Australian's I have talked to will work and save money, quit their job, travel, and then come back and work at a different job. The Australian workforce really encourages people to take off, but stay with their job. Everyone gets four weeks holiday every year. When you have worked for a company for ten years, you get six weeks leave, extra. The six weeks is called long service leave! Yes you read that correctly. Can you imagine if all Americans got that? One reason American's really can't travel is most employers only give two weeks holiday. One week is used at Christmas, a couple days at Thanksgiving, and then you only have a couple left for travel.
4. Yes, we speak the same language, but.....
I can not tell you how many times in a day, I have to think about my words. I have to think about what someone is saying, or I have to stop and have a chuckle to myself. I have to always remember you never "root" for a team in Australia. That does not mean the same thing at all, private message me, I will explain if needed. I still chuckle to myself when a kid at school yells, "I can't find my rubber." Yeah, rubber isn't an eraser in US. Again, private message me, if you need me to explain. I have picked up on the saying, "no worries," but will take some time to ever say, the word bugger.
3. Eat Fresh and Healthy
I love how healthy this country is. It has made us learn to eat fresh, clean, and healthy if we wanted to or not. Now, do not get me wrong, I totally would love a good Chick - fil - a chicken biscuit or some amazing cheese dip every now and then, but it is really easy not to put it in your mouth, when it is not available. It is cheaper to eat from the markets, and not processed. I feel like in the US processed food is cheaper than fresh, it is the opposite here. Want a can of Pringles? Be ready to shell out $4.00 at the grocery store closest to our house.
2. The Customer is Not always right
I do not know how often, I just look at situations, and laugh, "Well, we are in Australia." Our car we bought from a dealership, broke down three time before the first tank of gas was gone. Can you imagine if that happened in The States, they would be trying to throw in every free thing you can imagine. Not here, it is not their fault, it happened, life goes on. We have gone to a restaurant, had horrible food, told them, we couldn't eat it, "Sorry." That's it, not sorry, can I take that off your bill, can I give you a free dessert, just sorry. Things happen, people make mistakes, Australian's do not make a habit of comforting the customer, I am not really sure if this is because of the no tipping world, but it really does change the atmosphere. "No worries, mate." There are parts of this I like, for example, it is not the employees fault the owner made a policy they have to enforce, but I will admit it is a total mind shift. I am not saying that all companies adopt this policy, but we sure have seen it a lot.
1. Don't take life so seriously - JUST CHILL
If I had to sum everything up that Australian's have taught me it is one word, CHILL. I love the laid back atmosphere of Australia. "No Worries Mate," is something I hear multiple times a day. I have even started saying, "No Worries," I love it.
If you don't get to something today, no worries.
If you forgot something really important, no worries.
If you think your world is falling apart, no worries.
If you dropped your coffee all over someone, no worries.
In the grand scheme of things we should all look at some aspects of the Australian culture and take notes, all the junk doesn't matter, spend time with your mates, and no worries.