Posted by / Category Cultural Differences, Stereotypes, Travel /

2016 is finally over. What a year!

Now bring it on, 2017! I am happy to report that I am spending the first days of the year in Australia, and I love it. Despite the very high temperatures, things are very chilled over here. I find it incredibly relaxing. I just wanted to share with you my initial findings on life down under. Let me know if I forgot anything. And this much I know: it will be hard to go back to London. I have read somewhere that it was cold and foggy, and I am not looking forward to it at all…

  • First of all, nobody, and I mean really nobody, has asked me where I was from. In the same vein, nobody has commented on my French accent. In London, I am asked where I am from on a daily basis. In fact, I think that it has become some sort of national obsession. Over here, nobody cares. The only questions I get are ‘How are you?’ and ‘Where did you buy your bodyboard?’. Period;
  • Australians are a lot fitter that their British counterparts. In England, I often get the gym all to myself. Well, over here, the gym is always full, even at 5am. Having young little ones is not an excuse to skip a workout, and I have seen mums who bring their toddlers, put them in a pram in the corner of the fitness center, and exercise as if there were no tomorrow. Wow!
  • Australians talk to each other. This really came to a revelation, and at first it made me feel uncomfortable because in England you tend to keep yourself to yourself. And if you have to, you start your sentences with ‘Excuse-me,…’. Well, things are clearly different in Oz . Simply put, you don’t have to apologise to talk to somebody. People greet me on the street all the time, and this morning, a fellow jogger even wished me a happy new year. Unbelievable. I tried to smile and say something nice, but I must admit that after years of being looked down upon when I open my mouth to say something, I felt a bit rusted. What can I say? I have become British;
  • Everyday, I am in awe of Australia’s outstanding beauty. Seriously, what more do you need when you wake up and see this?
  • The only boardroom my husband is currently talking about is the utility room where we store our boards, which makes for a nice change. In fact, I think that I prefer this way!
  • My daughters systematically fall asleep by 9pm after a day at the beach, and I don’t have to fight to get them to bed. I hadn’t realised it, but they love spending time outdoors, which is not always possible in London;
  • If you want to make the most of your day, you need to start early. I went for a run at 5am this morning (bloody jet lag!), and it seems that everybody was already running on the beach. Or coming back from a New Year’s party. A girl in her twenties, clearly still a bit tipsy, started running with me in her high heels. She gave up after a few steps. I told you, people are very friendly over here;
  • Everything seems bigger: the orange juice comes in a massive bottle, hotels are huge, portions bigger, and I got lost for twenty minutes in the shopping mall next door. In short, there is a lot more space, and I am starting to believe that we are a big cramped in London. Don’t get me started on the size of my house there!
  • I broke my pair of flip-flops, and had to buy another one straight away, because flip-flops are the only footwear you really need. Beware: they call them thongs over here. Don’t get lost in translation…

In short, I am blending right in. What a shame I need to go back to cold London soon…