‘No internet’. Welcome to the world of Telstra.
There are still occasional elements of life in Australia that leave me befuddled. Like yesterday’s discovery that Woolworths, one of the big two grocery chains over here, is one of the most profitable supermarket businesses in the world.
Just think about that for a moment the next time you’re wondering why there are no cucumbers, or you are sorting through bags of limp pre-washed salad trying to decide which one is the least offensive – you are interacting with one of the most successful businesses of its type in the world.
Gatherings of expats invariably lead to one conversation topic, things you wish you’d done and things you wish you hadn’t.
These aren’t confessions of the stag/hen night variety, but wistful glances back at the process of moving to Australia and learning some lessons of relocation the hard way.
So, for today’s post, 18 months after our move, I’ve put together a list of the best and worst three decisions we’ve made in our journey to a new life down under.
There’s an adage that the UK and the US are two countries separated by a common language and there’s many an example to illustrate the point.
I’d expected certain differences between British and Australian English too, and there are plenty. Most are readily decipherable, thanks to the absolute literalism of many, such as the wonderful phrase ‘sticky beaks’ for nosy people, or ‘footy’, for any sport that involves a large ball (except, in fact, football).
Becoming home-owners in Australia has not only exposed us to a new range of emotions but to a new set of challenges, the most testing of which has been the need to hire various tradesmen (or, tradies as they are known here) to help us get our house the way we want it. The results have been, shall we say, interesting.
Forget high-speed rail between Sydney and Melbourne. The greatest technological challenge in Australia today is the installation of this rangehood.
We are preparing to move house. On Friday, we finally move into our own home, the one we ‘won’ at auction a few months ago.
In ferrying various belongings between our rented house and the new place, I’ve have plenty of time to consider the significance of the word home and what it means to us.
We had tears in the CBRbound household the other night. For the past year, Mini-CBRbound has been asking when we can visit Denmark again as a family. He particularly misses his old football team and the team’s trainers, with whom he built up a close camaraderie over four years of junior football.
There’s quite a funny song that appeared on the British TV comedy show ‘Spitting Image’ many years ago, entitled ‘I’ve Never Met A Nice South African’ and it provides a suitable backdrop for the trouble I’ve had with writing this post.
Originally, this piece had an introduction along the lines of: “Every city has their undesirables and Canberra is no exception. In London, it’s investment bankers, in Copenhagen, it’s the hipsters, while in Canberra, it’s estate agents.”
But, just like the Spitting Image song, this sweeping claim troubled me. For the record, I’ve met plenty of lovely South Africans. I actually know an investment banker who’s a pretty good guy. And I even know an estate agent whom I believe to be ethical and principled.