Living in Oz.

Flinders Street Station. Photo Credit: Kieren Andrews

I LOVE Australia! I LOVE Melbourne!

What’s not to love really? Well, Christmas in the summer, the long dark winters without any holidays to break it up and my family being so far away.

But other than that, I really do love Australia.

When I’m in the states I miss things like…Saltwater taffy, Cafe Rio, winter Christmas with my whole family.  Seeing the lights at Temple Square, cinnamon flavored candy, Sunday night dinners with my family, miss my friends and cousins. I miss thick hot chocolates from Hatch Family Chocolates in the winter and peanut butter chocolate Iceberg shakes in the summer.

But when I’m away from Australia I miss things like…Eating breakfast out on a Saturday morning, walking everywhere, living next to the water, my Thermomix, Footscray Ward, free open-air cinema and the gym.

Photo Credit: Annie Spratt

I feel like I do have the best of both worlds. I try to get home every two and a bit years plus we live in a perfect little area of Melbourne where our kids can thrive. Everything is walking distance, great primary school and high school, surrounded by great people and we live in 2 mins walk from the water.

I’ve got a few stories to share with you…

Hello Cocky…

Photo Credit: Geraldine Lewa

I was in the country town of Bendigo and had been in Australia for maybe six months. I was there for work for a couple of weeks, visiting customers talking about their advertising. After visiting one client, I was getting into my car, and I heard “hello”. I looked around but couldn’t see anyone. I started to get in the car again. “hello cocky, hello cocky.” I noticed the big bird sitting on the fence. I asked it if it just spoke to me looking around for the joke. Nothing. As I started to get into the car again, “HELLO COCKY, HELLO COCKY!” Again. Clearly, this bird was talking to me but whenever I spoke to it, nothing would happen… and where I came from, random birds just didn’t talk to you.

I had an idea. I thought I could outsmart this bird. I dialed my home phone number and waited until the machine picked up. I said, “Hello Cocky, Hello Cocky” to the bird then pretended to get in my car but held out my phone to capture it talking on tape. Nothing. I tried again. Nothing. My husband got home to hear a message from me yelling “hello cocky” about ten times then hung up with no explanation or real message for him. I never did get the bird to talk again–it was messing with me.

But the worst of it was, after fussing around with this bird for ten minutes trying to outsmart it, I looked over to see the customer I just met with watching me from the window. I had to go back next week to finalize their advertising and explain my crazy behavior with the bird. I drove away completely embarrassed.

Bog catchers…

When I was seven months pregnant with the girl, my belly was getting so big and my undies uncomfortable. My good friends, I’ll call them…Miranda and Charlotte, who were pregnant as well, told me that I needed to buy some bigger undies, bog catchers. So on the weekend, I went to Myer (like a Nordstrom) looking for… bog catchers. I looked at all the packages trying to find the “bog catchers” they told me I needed. I couldn’t find them anywhere, reading the packaging in the underwear section. So I sought out a sales attendant seeking help.

“Hello, can you help me find the bog catchers please?”

“The what?” She replied horrified.

I quickly walked away sensing something was not right. Then I rang Miranda.

“Where do I buy bog catchers? I’m at Myer and I just asked the sales assistant and she looked at me funny.”

 When my friend stopped laughing after a few minutes, she said “bog catchers, just mean big underwear.” laughing again she explained, “bog means poo”

Poo catchers! I asked the posh, heel and makeup wearing sales attendant if she had poo catchers! URGH!

I bought my big undies and didn’t go back to Myer for a long while.

Melbourne at night. Photo Credit: Linda Xu

So I love Australia and have many other stories of how I have embarrassed myself in my new country. As I think of them, and if they are worthy, I’ll add them.

In 2007, my father-in-law and I stood with my hand held up high swearing to God that I will honor new my country. I ate a lamington, got my bottle brush tree seedling and left as a proud Australian.

Melbourne. Photo Credit: Annie Spratt