There are times when, as a newcomer to Australia, a topic of hot debate is brought up and, while others raise voices, all you can do is raise your eyebrows.
One of the things that took us by surprise when we arrived in Australia was how unremarkable our tale seemed to be to others.
Compared to our arrival in Denmark as new migrants, which was greeted with interest and more than a little puzzlement, our arrival in Australia was largely treated with, well disinterest.
Moving to a new country is a giant juggling act. You can’t know everything about your new home from the moment you arrive but you strive to gather enough information about the essentials so that nothing critical falls to the ground and smashes.
Occasionally, you miss something – like when using the wrong type of tick treatment cost Mr Pup an extra three weeks in quarantine. And a few weeks ago, we missed something else that we probably should have known about, but didn’t.
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.
In the second of my guest blogs, nine-year old Mini-CBRbound uses his best handwriting to share his thoughts experiences from his first year as a Canberran. It’s not for the faint-hearted, he paints a good picture of deprivation in the early months after our move, but it perks up towards the end. Mini’s participation bribe was an extra hour on the Xbox – I can hear the squeals of excitement from the rumpus room right now.
There’s a wonderful old Randy Newman song called ‘Political Science’, which was brilliantly covered by a favourite band of mine, Everything But The Girl. Its opening line goes: “No one likes us, I don’t know why/ We may not be perfect, but heaven knows we try…”
These words, and the song’s title, buzzed around my head this week as the landscape of Australia’s politics shifted following Malcolm Turnbull’s successful ousting of former Prime Minister Tony Abbott in a Liberal Party leadership challenge.
Springtime is coming. I know this because yesterday, the first fly of springtime attempted to enter my ear.
Aussie flies seem to like trying to enter bodily orifices – ears, nose, eyes – and are the real reason why Aussies have never thoroughly embraced the idea of the nudist beach. Probably.
Things you never anticipate when you move to Australia…
Fish and chips have been a favourite family treat for the CBRbound clan for many years. Whenever we visited family and friends back in the UK, our journey from the airport usually went something like this: “What’s for dinner tonight?”
“What do you fancy?”
“Can we stop and get fish and chips?”
And so we did.
Despite being in Australia for more than six months now, there are still things that take us by surprise. Mostly, when we are caught off guard, it has little consequence other than to teach us something new – like a new piece of Aussie slang, or the curiosity of getting a day off for the Queen’s birthday when they don’t get one in Britain – but occasionally the surprises are slightly more problematic, as we found when applying for a credit card this month. Continue reading