Hmmm, where to start.
Obviously, the weather. (See picture above). The seasons are flipped – for those of you who don’t know. Our winter is your summer, and vice versa. Though, parts of the Aussie winter are comparable to parts of the Canadian summer, so there’s that.
Calendar: Apparently they consider summer to start on Dec 1. I’m not sure yet when the other seasons begin. I guess we’ll see as they come up. Aussies I talked to were very confused about the significance of anything related to Dec 21 or June 21.
Education: Here in Oz, they call grades, years. Someone is in year 12, rather than grade 12. They call Math, Maths.
Driving: Of course they drive on the left, but the speed limit here is much faster on some VERY windy roads than you might expect. Hardly anyone speeds here – apparently the fines are hefty. (We heard someone going 12 kms/hr over the speed limit got a $400 ticket). Roundabouts are widely used here – and people seem ok with it. Of course the driver sits on the opposite side of what we’re used to. But the blinker and windscreen fluid (window washer fluid) are on opposite sides – so I am forever signalling when I can’t see out the front window, and washing the windshield as I’m moving into another lane. Mercifully, the clutch, brake and gas pedals are not reversed. I know you were wondering.
Langauge: Of course there’s the accent. Aussie’s love to guess our accent, and mostly guess correctly (Canadian vs. American)! I’ve been told pretty regularly I have a BEAUTIFUL accent!
Niceness: At least once a day, I say out loud “People here are the NICEST!” to Dan. Ask him.
Food: Yoghurt here is better. Butter is worse. Toothpaste tastes like bug spray. (Not sure why this is under food). Kraft Dinner tastes like it’s made with real cheese 🙁 I miss my chemically, salty mix. Anyone want to send me some KD cheese in a care package? The chocolate milk here is chalky (yes, Dan has sampled several varieties). I’d say they have more variety in soft drinks that Canada. Craft beers don’t seem to be as popular.
Home Rentals: Rent is paid weekly, rather than monthly.
Bugs: So far, we’ve encountered FAR FEWER mosquitos than Canada. But the fruit flies are prolific breeders and very determined to overrun our house. Please, let’s talk about ssspiders another day. They just keep getting bigger and bigger.
Animals: We like the geckos and lizards that live in our yard, though they do a piss poor job of clearing out the aforementioned spiders. Most Aussies I talk to hate geckos. They think they’re ugly as sin. Obviously there are so many animals here Canadians don’t see except in zoos (don’t go to zoos if you can avoid it, and you probably can): Kangas, Koalas, Wombats etc. We haven’t seen too many of these. Just kangaroos, pythons, bats, bugs, reptiles, and billions of birds.
The light switches: In Canada when the toggle is up, the light is on. In Australia, when the toggle is up, the light is off. This messes me up all day, every day.
Jeopardy: We have an extremely noisy neighbour upstairs somewhere who watches TV from 6:30AM until we leave for work, then from about 4:30PM until 9PM. So every evening from 5:30 to 6PM we are treated to the dulcet, Canadian voice of Alex Trebec. It took us a few days to recognize the show he was hosting as Jeopardy, because the Aussie show has a lot of metallic, ringing sound effects added to it. I guess they felt it needed a little more zip to appeal to an Aussie audience.
Coconut Oil: My whole life, coconut oil was a white gel-ish substance in a jar that immediately turned to a crystal clear liquid when added to a pan. Here in our apartment in Oz, the coconut oil is perpetually in its liquid state. God bless warm weather.
Toilets: No I’m not going to talk about the direction the water circles. I have yet to find a toilet or a sink that facilitates observation of that particular phenomenon. No, apparently Australia invented the economical toilet – with two flush options to help you save water. I am a budding environmentalist so am 100% in favour of this development. My problem lies in the fact that the water in the tank is always either too shallow (creating significant, um, backsplash) or too far back (creating, um, skid marks). So going to the bathroom here presents an unpleasant prospect. Unfortunately, I can’t hold it forever, so I’ve discovered that if you position yourself as far to the back of the toilet as you can, and hover, both the problems are um, mitigated.
What else? Their windshield washer fluid comes in tiny bottles of concentrate – you add your own water, which I think is brilliant, again for environmental reasons.
Probably there will be more later. There are a great many subtle differences!