Happy Labour Day, Australia!

Today is Labour Day in Australia, the day in which Aussies commemorate the achievements of the Australian labour movement. Once upon a time, workers to Australia came from England under Penal transportation and prisoners were under the condition of slavery. Under the Master and Servant Act, workers worked long hours, 10 to 12 hours a day, sometimes more, six days a week. As little as an hour’s absence from work resulted in the forfeit of…

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Expat Syndrome

Today’s prompt in the Expat Blog Challenge is to respond to the following quote by T. Crossley: ‘Expat Syndrome’ is a condition whereby many expatriates see mostly either the best of their own nationality & the worst of the locals, or see the opposite. I’ve struggled in this blog and in my life here in Melbourne to view cultural differences as just that, differences, and avoid judging them against each other and deciding one is…

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3 Things I Will Never Get Used To

  Today’s prompt in the Expat Blog Challenge begins, “I will never get used to…”. I don’t know if I will never get used to the following, but I haven’t gotten used to them yet and I’ve been in Melbourne about 18 months. #1. The weather Melbournians love to talk about the weather and it’s no wonder. Mother Nature here is bi-polar. Take a look at January’s temperatures according to The Weather Channel. Notice the…

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How to Speak Australian

Americans speak English. Australians speak English. Therefore, you’d think we could understand each other perfectly. Such is not the case. In 1892, German linguist Karl Lentzner wrote: The English language has of late years incorporated a vast store of words and phrases generally known as ‘Slang,’ which, with marvellous rapidity, have taken root in all sections of the community. America especially has proved a fertile soil for colloquialisms of this kind; and so has Australia.…

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Resident of Where?

There are only six reasons a person may be excused from jury duty and being in another country is not one of them. Yes, I have been summoned to appear for jury duty in Miami-Dade County. One can only postpone for up to 60 days. It seems that the County actually expects me to spend $2k and fly in for jury duty. That, or invent teleportation. Talk about motivation. I couldn’t find a way to reach…

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Heatwave

Melbournians love to talk about the weather. “Four seasons in a day,” they say. After a chilly start to the summer season, a heatwave hit Australia last week. Narrabi in New South Wales saw temperatures rise to 47.8°C (118.04°F). Here in Melbourne, we saw four consecutive days over 40°C (104°F). According to Carl Braganza, Manager of Climate Monitoring at the Bureau of Meteorology, it was the longest heatwave in 100 years. And yet, last week’s heatwave…

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The Great Westpac Heist

I may be exaggerating by calling this incident a great heist, but it was, to say the least, annoying. It’s also a lesson in how to lose a customer stupidly and unnecessarily. I was running some errands in the city last Wednesday and stopped at the WestPac on the corner of Collins and Swanston to use the ATM. Although the sign says that all international credit cards are welcome, when I fed it my Bank of…

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Honouring Our Veterans

Today, November 11, here in Australia is Remembrance Day. Tomorrow, November 11 in the United States is Veterans Day. Remembrance Day marks the anniversary of the armistice which ended the First World War (1914–18). Although it is not a public holiday, each year Australians observe one minute silence at 11am on November 11 in memory of those who died or suffered in all wars and armed conflicts. In the United States, Veterans Day is an official…

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Remembering 9/11

I didn’t remember it was 9/11. Today is actually September 12. Yesterday, I went shopping and a friendly shop worker noticed my accent and asked where I was from. She smiled and said that was so cool, but then her smile turned to a frown and she said, “Oh, today is 9/11. I’m sorry.” I just nodded and thanked her. There’s no way for me to forget that it’s 9/11 in America, however. My Facebook…

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Bits & Pieces

As I wander through the web, I bookmark interesting stories that I come across and decide I want to blog about. And then I don’t for a variety of reasons including forgetfulness and laundry. Rather than deleting them altogether, I thought I’d share some interesting bits and pieces anyway. Blogger BikeSnobNYC was in Melbourne recently for the Melbourne Writers Festival and his account of his time here is funny and worth reading. One side effect of…

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Is Melbourne a Racist City?

Is Melbourne a racist city? This is the question posed by 3AW’s Tom Elliott on August 6.  His conclusion was no based on two experiences. The first is that he asked former professional footballer Chris Johnson on air if he’d ever experienced racism and he apparently said no. The second is drawn from Elliott’s travels: Having said this, I’ve been fortunate to travel a fair bit, and visit countries like the US, Canada, the UK, Japan,…

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Are You a Melbournian?

Last year, I came across a humorous “listcicle” of qualities that make up a real Miamian. It led me to ask what makes a real Australian and the answers were pretty funny. A couple of weeks ago, my fellow expat blogger Housewife Down Under came across two articles in the Herald Sun with a list of experiences that identify a true Melbournian. Housewife said few applied to her and I wanted to see how many applied…

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