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!

    4. The outdoor is incredible

Australia is a continent as well as a country. It’s huge, and it’s amazing. You can take a train from Sydney and in an hour or so you are in a rain forest, forgetting what civilisation is all about. It’s an humbling experience, a bit like travelling back in time, where it all started. It’s something else, it’s hard to describe: it’s untamed nature as we barely see it in Europe.

      5. Indigenous art is in a different ballpark

And I love it! There is an authenticity that just touches me. It feels a bit like flying over a huge desert at night, don’t you think? What do you see in it?

This one reminds me of a drawing I use to make when I was a child.

      6. Coffee, coffee, coffee

Australia is a nation of coffee lovers. Which means that I feel right at home as I couldn’t survive without my cuppa 🙂

On this note, I’ll see you on the other side!

  • James Casserly

    Sounds like you have discovered a little slice of paradise on earth. Out of curiosity, did you find any negative things about living there? I have heard their medical service is well run and efficient.

    • The main negative, in my opinion, is that Australia is a bit far from everything! Things are slower too, which is positive and negative (I find it a bit frustrating at times as I am used for things to go fast all the time). Finally, Australians seem to be huge fans of pumpkins (pumpkin soup, etc..). I am not that much of a fan…

  • Marc Larivière

    Yes, it’s like flying over an untamed part of the earth., as you say, no marks but those of virgin Nature, with its fascinating lines, colours, its continuous windings, and a sense of depth, I think it’s proper to indigenous art to examine things, like in your pictures, directly from above, and with a sense of awe that can only touch us…

    • I am glad that you get it. I find it amazing and I hadn’t seen anything like it before. I really want to know more about it. Any tips?

      • Marc Larivière

        Thanks, Muriel, I’m no expert, really, in Australian indigenous Art, but I do find it amazing, too… As I said, it looks to me like an immediate contact with primeval Nature, nothing coming between, I mean, like in our classical Art, and its sophisticated notions of horizontal perspective, for instance…
        I would relate it, though, to a kind of American modern Art, namely that of Barnett Newman, Rothko, an others, who got rid of perspective and adopted the same vertical vision of space from Above…