Sunday, March 24, 2013

It's the Little Differences

I've thought a lot about writing this post and the thing that pops in my head every time is that scene in Pulp Fiction describing the differences between America and France:

Vincent Vega: [Y]ou know what the funniest thing about Europe is?
Jules Winnfield: What?
Vincent Vega: It's the little differences. I mean they got the same sh** over there that they got here, but it's just, just there it's a little different.
Jules Winnfield: Example.
Vincent Vega: Alright, well you can walk into a movie theater and buy a beer. And, I don't mean just like a paper cup, I'm talking about a glass of beer. And, in Paris, you can buy a beer in McDonald's. You know what they call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in Paris?
Jules Winnfield: They don't call it a Quarter Pounder with Cheese?
Vincent Vega: No, man, they got the metric system, they don't know what the fu** a Quarter Pounder is.
Jules Winnfield: What do they call it?
Vincent Vega: They call it a Royal with Cheese.
Jules Winnfield: Royal with Cheese.
Vincent Vega: That's right.
Jules Winnfield: What do they call a Big Mac?
Vincent Vega: Big Mac's a Big Mac, but they call it Le Big Mac.
Jules Winnfield: Le Big Mac. What do they call a Whopper?
Vincent Vega: I don't know. I didn't go into Burger King. 

So here's what we've noticed in the differences between America and Australia now that we've been here 2 months.

  • Eating out is expensive.  A hamburger and fries can cost $20 a person.  2 large pizzas (American medium) are $45.  We splurge once a week.  The grocery store is in-line for most things except cokes-- those are expensive so Chris has cut way back.
  • They love bacon.  Bacon is on every menu for sandwiches.  But their bacon is thick and more like ham than crispy bacon.
  • If you ask for lemonade, expect carbonation.  And many times you'll get Sprite.
  • Filet is pronounced "fill-it"
  • They have Cadbury chocolate everything and ice cream.  They don't have Reece's pieces or peanut butter cups.  They have Nestle and M&Ms. Mars bars are Milky Ways. 
  • They don't have Pillsbury.  No crescent rolls, biscuits, or cinnamon rolls in vacuum sealed packs.  No cookie dough.  No Jiffy cornbread either.
  • Speaking of biscuits.  Biscuits are cookies and so talking about biscuits and gravy puts a weird look on people's faces.  So the best I could come up with are biscuits are soft scones and having them covered in gravy is good!
  • Thank goodness for Pinterest so we can make some Bisquick and spicy taco seasoning.  They have mild and extra mild here.
  •  We haven't seen Velveeta.  Not neccesarily that bad until we want to make some easy chips and queso... but I haven't seen rotel either or Fritos or Tostitos so maybe that's all out.
  •  They don't have applesause.  Not in a big jar, little lunch packs or squeezable (unless baby food and $2/package).
  • Raisins are called sultanas.  Bell peppers (like green and red) are called capsicums.
  • Lolli = candy (not just a lollipop)
Brand Names
  • McDonald's is McDonald's but locals call it Maccas.
  • Hungry Jacks = Burger King
  • They have KFC and a place called Red Rooster which can only be described as a wanna-be Chick-Fil-A without all the tastiness and waffle fries. 
  • Target is Target but not.  They have all the stuff of American Target but different brands and not as much make-up, hair products, or food.  Oh I wish I could see the new Threshold collection that I saw in Domino Small Spaces special issue (downloaded on ipad).  
  •  Big W = Wal Mart
  • Kmart is still open here
  • The grocery stores are Coles and Woolworths (Woolies).  There is also Trader Jacks that shouldn't be confused with Trader Joes although they have the most American products like Betty Crocker cake mix. 
  • Domino's = Domino's (There isn't Papa John's and Pizza Hut isn't in as many locations) 
  • Subway = Subway but they don't have chips or near the veggie selection.  No spinach! 
  • There are mosquitos and roaches. 
  • They don't have stick deodorant.
  • Clothes are usually line-dried.  It's not humid so they actually dry.  We have a dryer in the garage but have only used it a couple of times.
  • Wifi isn't everywhere.  The internet is much slower.  And 3G cell phones are new.  Oh and they're called mobiles.
  • Jumpers = sweaters
  • Names are shortened.  Subiaco is Subi.  Freemantle is Frio.  Woolworths is Woolies.
  • Half an hour to go somewhere is considered a long drive here. 
  • H is not "ach" it's "hach" 
  • Z is not "zee" it's "zed"
  • They have the British spelling for words like habour, labour, favourite, litre, theatre. 
  • Soccer is soccer.  Footie is Aussie rules football which is not the same as rugby. Netball is like basketball without a backboard.
  • Bathers = swimsuits
  • They still have bookstores in almost every shopping center and mall.  But books are expensive!
  • They don't have  Thank goodness for our American credit cards so we can still download kindle books.
  • = craigslist.  People don't use ebay here since you can't sort it by location and it costs so much to ship from the other side of the country. 
  • There's a bird here that sounds like a goat.  
  • They show a lot of American tv.  Some is fast-tracked meaning the same week as the US like American Idol and Survivor and some is a few months behind like Downton Abbey.  Yes the finale has been spoiled for us (poor Matthew) but in our world, last week was the episode after Sybil died.  And we sure hope Bates gets out of prison this week.  Can that drag on any longer?  They also show the Canadian HGTV shows like Sarah's House and The Property Brothers.
  • You don't tip for cabs or restaurants.  
  • Gas is petrol.
  • Backsplash = Splashback
  • They don't use drywall.  The walls are brick or cinder block.
  • Sticky tape = (scotch) tape
  • Ground floor, 1st, 2nd, etc. floor = 1,2,3,etc.  
  • At uni = in college
  • They'll say "yup, yup" to acknowledge what you're saying.  And "no worries" for "that's ok"
  • Dates are DD/MM/YY not MM/DD/YY.  So Emilia and Beau don't have cool birthdates.
  • Phone numbers don't have the same number of digits.  Sometimes they're 6 for government stuff and cabs, sometimes they're 10.  But it is nice that all cells (mobiles) are 04_ _- _ _ _ -_ _ _ and landlines are 08-_ _ _ _-_ _ _ _.  But why are they broken up differently??
Well that's all I can think of for now.  It's just the little differences.  We're not starving.  We're not in a 3rd world country.  We like to think of it as South Carolina.  It's the south and things are just a little slower here.  

We're looking forward to the  long weekend coming up.  Easter is huge here although not Easter egg hunts.  Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays and Emilia is also off school on Thursday and Easter Tuesday.   Then the next week is Emilia's 7th birthday but I think we'll celebrate on 4/5 but here that will actually be Saturday, May 4th but hopefully we'll have our shipment by then and can do a little entertaining finally. 


  1. I remember. After you experience, people's attempts to reassure that you have McDonalds, etc, will make it feel like home. We always fely like we were on a holiday (i.e. vacation) until we came home. And vacations can indeed be fun. :) SO that is how we enjoyed our time there too. Thanks for sharing. It brought many memories. Hope you all have a g'day and fun time. Thinking of you...

  2. That is so hilarious! Few tips from an Aussie:
    we do have applesauce. In big bottles, squeeze things and lunch box tubs and we do have stick deodorant. But you're about right on everything else. But man-o-man I wish I knew what half that food you were talking about was... Sounds delicious!!!!

  3. I laughed out loud at the bird that sounds like a goat. And I keep thinking about the "yep yeps" from Sesame Street now . . . I MISS YOU!!!! Thanks for another great post that told me more about where my sweet friends call home temporarily. Love you guys!

  4. That's quite a bit for the little time you've been there :-) Enjoy the learning experience!