We’ve spent the last six weeks here in Australia and we’d like to offer up a summary of our impressions of the country and its people.
It seems to me that Aussies (as they call themselves) are a friendly and informal bunch. For example, they seem fond of charming abbreviated nicknames for things. Here are just a few examples we heard or saw a lot. See if you can guess the full word corresponding to these are abbreviations: pokie, Tassie, Brissie, Macca’s, footy, sunnies, and rego. I’ll give the answers below.
Part of this informal attitude might extend to the workplace. One Monday we were walking around Brisbane in the afternoon and I was surprised at how many office workers were lounging around city parks or cafes. Maybe they were taking a long or late lunch, but I think it’s unusual to see that many Americans playing hooky from work in the afternoon, even in casual Denver. It reminds me of what a friend once wrote in frustration about Australians: “This is why your country is never going to rule the world.” That’s probably true, but I would wager most Australians simply don’t want to rule the world.
We were lucky to be here during Australia Day, and as we wrote about before, it is an interesting holiday that not only celebrates national pride, but also recognizes the fact that most Australians are immigrants. Therefore, it is also a day for celebrating immigration and new citizens. Quite unlike the view that many Americans have about immigration to our country.
Beyond the people, the land itself is vast. We spent as much time here as in New Zealand and we barely scratched the surface of Australia while we saw an awful lot of New Zealand. On the plus side, there’s still a lot of Australia to see should we make it back here someday. If I could sum up what we did see in a sentence, I would mention the numerous eucalyptus trees, beautiful beaches with lovely clear water, and, of course, the interesting wildlife.
Ok, here’s the full version of the above abbreviations: poker machines, Tasmania, Brisbane, McDonald’s, football, sunglasses, and car registration.