1. Hands down the people are the thing I love the most, specifically our family and friends in Australia. I could miss out on everything else on this list and just see the people and be a happy person.
2. The food, which I’ve already outlined here, but aside from missing genuine Mexican food we love the food options down under. Highlights include: spinach rolls, fish and chips, sushi, Peppermint Magnum bars, kebabs (at the mall!), Thai and Indian food in Forster/Tuncurry, flat white coffees and Christmas pudding.
3. Chocolate – yes, technically a food but this needs its own line item – the chocolate in Australia is just delicious, mostly because it’s not filled with wax and is made with copious amounts of cream. Plus it comes in fun flavors like honeycomb, cherry/coconut and caramel/nougat.
4. Use of electric teapots and having a cuppa – anytime you go to someone’s house, you can expect to have tea (or coffee) with them. Everyone has an electric teapot on their counter and in five minutes you’ll be having tea and maybe a snack. The instant coffee is delicious and convenient. I wish this was something we did more in the States, it’s just a nice aspect to any evening to sit down and have a cuppa with people (of course we do it our own way with pod coffee brewers and Diet Coke).
5. Road signs and billboards that provided me with endless amusement. Admittedly these can be amusing in the States as well, but since I was a passenger for all of this trip and we did quite a bit of driving, I got to pay more attention to them as we passed. I’ve already mentioned how I love to make fun of the warning signs in Australia in a previous post so I’ll leave that as it is but this time I noticed more billboards, my favorites were those warning against things: [to paraphrase] “Being five minutes late or paralyzed – you decide” or a series talking about skin cancer (which is very serious and prevalent in Australia) but the signs were EVERYWHERE and some would show a woman in a bikini with the tagline “A perfect spot for melanoma” or “There’s nothing healthy about a tan” something along those lines – totally Debbie downer billboards. But the best was a series of three billboards along a 1km stretch that were promoting regular pap smears all with cheeky taglines “Pap tests. A little bit of awkward for a whole lot of peace of mind.” This again, is for an important thing, but these billboards are so frequent and intense something about it struck me as amusing, probably because most of our billboards related to healthcare are advertising hospitals and insurance companies rather than specific problems.
6. The shops close up at 5:30 (the grocery stores are open later) but the mall areas just close up and at first I found this off-putting but really, it shows a general prioritization that Australias have in putting living life AHEAD of working. In the US, we’re all about convenience and getting things when we want them but realistically, nothing is so important that I can’t wait until a later time to pick up. Instead of running errands all over town in the evenings, we should just be home with our families or out doing things together. I like that idea.
7. Being about to see kangaroos and wallabies in the wild – so cool.
8. The gorgeous scenery that is found everywhere – I love driving around New South Wales (the state we were in) – it’s like driving around up north, more towns and way less cities. It’s hilly and lush with the ocean never far away (at least where we were).
9. Their money is just way cooler than ours – isn’t it so pretty? Plus they use $1 and $2 coins. Now if only the American dollar was stronger because the cost of living in Australia is way higher but our dollars are about equal so to us, everything seemed to cost so much more. For example, we’d pay $2.22 for two 20-oz. bottles of Diet Coke here in the States but in Australia we’d pay $3.50 for ONE half liter of Diet Coke and $24 for a 24-pack of cans.
10. The general laid back attitude of the people. “No worries, mate.”
This post is linked to Oh Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday.