Posted by / Category Cultural Differences /

It’s going to be time to go back home soon, and I can’t help thinking of the little things in Australia that have made a huge difference during my stay. Because sometimes it’s the little things that matter right? Stuff you don’t expect and that takes you by complete surprise. It made me realise that I take some things for granted, or even normal, when they are anything but. What can I say? I still have a lot to learn! So what am I talking about? Well, here are a few exemples:

  1. People talk

I know. It’s amazing, right? In London (or in Paris), I have learned to keep myself to myself. Over here, in Sydney, people talk. They are trying to help, they explain things when you queue or when you are a bit lost. They are, well, more helpful. It’s a different pace, and people take more time to speak to each other. Over here, you great the bus driver. I had forgotten what it felt like to be more mindful of others, and it felt good.

   2.   Healthcare is great

Stuff happens when you travel with children, and unfortunately this year was no exception. My younger daughter became sick on a Sunday morning (of all days!), I was worried and had to get her to a doctor asap. There was an open medical center around the corner, and a GP saw us within 20 minutes. We found an open pharmacy down the road. All is well now. The cost was a fraction (probably a third of) of what I would have had to pay in London for a similar service. My other option, in London, would have been to spend the day at A&E or wait for hours to talk to somebody on NHS direct, and then try to get a prescription, etc. The cost will be reimbursed by our medical insurance. Frankly, the service was even better than France. What am I doing in London again?

    3. There are beauty products I didn’t even know existed.

Did you know that bee venom is the latest craze over here? And apparently sheep placenta is full of nutrients and good to make wrinkles disappear. I certainly didn’t know. Goat milk makes your skin and hair smooth and soft, allegedly. Again, I shamefully admit that I had no idea. Where the hell have I been? I might be French, but come to think of it, I am incredibly low-maintenance. It might be time for me to up the ante a bit…But then again, I wouldn’t know where to start. I’ll stick to running and Nivea cream!

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Posted by / Category Cultural Differences, London /

I have been in Sydney for 10 days or so now and I have just realised that nobody has asked me the dreaded question:

‘Where are you from?’

Or, even worse, after they hear my strong French accent. ‘Are you from France?’

Do you know what? It’s refreshing. I am glad not to have to justify myself for once. In London, I am always ‘the French one’, and I keep being asked where I am from all the time. I am used to it by now. Sometimes I answer ‘Oh, I come from around the corner’, and then I get something like ‘No, no, where are you REALLY from?’. I promise, I am really from around the corner.

Seriously? Don’t you think it’s a tad offensive to ask someone where they are from?

Over here, in Sydney, nobody cares where I am from. It’s an accepted fact that the society is multi-cultural and yes, come to think of it I find Australians more welcoming.

 

Maybe one day I’ll be from Sydney

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Posted by / Category Travel /

Hello from Sydney! It might be winter over here, but there is a bright sunshine and I have put some sun cream on. Winter? What winter? Give me a winter like this any time! Seriously, I am not sure I can take another grey British winter.

Let’s face it: things are a bit bleak in London. I thought that political changes would bring a newfound enthusiasm in my adoptive country, but the exact opposite seems to be happening. People keep complaining, and there is a lot of scaremongering. Turning over a new leaf isn’t as easy as it seems, I suppose. It certainly hasn’t brought up the best in British citizen recently.

Things are, well, different over here, in Sydney. It’s the space, you see. I think that the flat I have rented is twice as big as my London home, for a fraction of the price. Even the commute, on the ferry, seems so much nicer.

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Posted by / Category Cultural Differences /

After the Norman Conquest of 1066, Anglo Norman (old French) became the language of the elite in the UK. I’d like to think that this is the reason why, when I moved to London, I was hearing so many French expressions. Mind you, some words were supposed to be French, but I had never used them. Sacrebleu, for instance is a stereotypical and very old fashioned French curse, which is rarely used by we French these days. In fact, I didn’t understand why my British colleagues were saying it all the time. Maybe they were trying to impress me. I will never know. But I digress. There is a French expression that I love, it is having a certain ‘Je ne sais quoi’. According to the dictionary, ‘having a certain je ne sais quoi’ means ‘having a pleasing quality that cannot be exactly named or described. What’s not to like? Now we are talking, right…

A certain Je Ne Sais Quoi

Let’s say, for instance, ‘although she’s not conventionally attractive, she has a certain je ne sais quoi that makes her popular with the boys’. Now, can you hear the sexual innuendo here? I certainly can.

Let’s face it, whenever French words are used this side of the Channel, there is a sexual innuendo. As some of you like numbers, I will take the plunge and make an assessment: when a French word (or a French expression) is used, in 80% of the cases there is a sexual connotation. Shame nobody had told me before, it would have saved me some embarrassing quid pro quo.

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