My blog is about the scenic, stressful, spectacular life (and everything screwy in between) of a
California girl turned expat transplanted to the land down under: North Queensland, Australia.

September 11, 2010


grievance- a wrong considered as grounds for complaint, or something believed to cause distress

Just so we’re clear, I love Australia. I love my husband, and my family, and the land, and am grateful to be here to experience all Australia has to offer me. But sometimes I get grumpyface. I think a little homesickness is expected. And even if you love something dearly, you can still bitch about it! (My mom could probably write an entire blog on all the things that I do to annoy her!) I’ve been here for 15 days (I don’t really count 14 hours on a plane and 22 hours on a train as “been here”), and have had my ups and downs (remember the blog about my job?). Maybe I’m focusing on the bad today to get it out of my system. Maybe I am PMS’ing. Either way, I need to get these complaints off my chest.

The animals-Australia is a glorious country full of colourful, exotic animals, some that are indigenous to this country alone. But why the hell are they all so LOUD!?!?!?! First was the gecko. Now I see them all over the place. Last night at dusk I walked outside on the patio and counted nine geckos on the top of the patio enclosure. It’s like a lizard army. Now every morning I get woken up to the sounds of 936 different species of birds (we live in the tropics), all apparently competing to see which one is louder. You win, magpie.

When we start to go to bed at night, J actually has to tell me what is making the terrible noises at night. It’s something out of a horror movie! *SCREECH* *SCREECH!!* “That’s just bats, honey”. The animal that really takes the cake though, is the Australian possum. Oh.My.God. Their noise is creepy. And they literally sound like they are crawling through your window (I now make J check the curtains and close the windows before we go to sleep). I found a clip of one, but the noise he does isn’t close to the spooky sound they emit. It’s more like add one part possum:

to two parts Michael Myers’ breathing:

I still lift the toilet lid at night to make sure there’s no oogly booglies lurking in there…

The food-I know that I didn’t move to some remote jungle in the Amazon where I have to subsist on monkey brains and fish eyes, but the food is…a little off. Bananas taste different. Their soda is made with sugar and not corn syrup (soda here is better, actually). I made green beans the other night and they weren’t the same. They were smaller and stringier. I bought microwave mac and cheese and after four tries, I am still eating crunchy mac and cheese. I’m used to so much variety that I’m regressing back into my childhood foods: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (how can anyone mess that up?), ramen noodles, white rice, salami sticks, chicken nuggets. No one knows what banana peppers are here. There’s no edamame in sight. There is one sushi place 90 minutes away. I’m supplementing with sweets, because Australia has AMAZING yoghurt, ice cream, biscuits (cookies), chocolate, and the ultimate snack of Australia, the Tim Tam!

The…uh…national scent-I will catch a lot of flak for this, so please find it in your heart to forgive me, Australian friends and family. I will step lightly on the subject that gives me by far the most displeasure. Why…does..90% of the population (that I have been around so far)…not…wear…deodorant??? Don’t get me wrong, I KNOW that Aussies are hygenic, take showers, use soap and brush their teeth (I’m not gonna lie, my husband washes his hands about 5 times more than I do). But everywhere I go with more than two people in a small radius, all you smell is B.O. And everyone who knows what B.O smells like knows that scent is B.O. Just like you know what rotten eggs smell like. Remember Mary Katherine Gallagher, the SNL character, how when she got nervous she stuck her hands in her armpits and then smelled them? Yeah…that needs to be enacted where I live. I googled around and asked my husband (who uses Old Spice at my urging) why this was the case. He says it’s just the way it is. So that means my olfactory nerves are just going to have to get used to it. I’d love to go to a national rugby game and not stick a clothespin on my nose. Again, please don’t unfollow me! It’s just something I have noticed.

American stereotype-Ha ha, shrimp on the barbie, dingo ate my baby, ride around in a kangaroo, etc. It used to drive my husband crazy. Now that coin has flipped, my friends. Fat? Check. Stupid? Check. Secular? Oh, hell yes. But there is one stereotype that is just driving me MAD! The stereotype that every American carries a gun. Uses a gun. Shoots people. Is crazy about gun laws.

The first week I was here I picked up the 15th anniversary issues of the Oz version of Marie Claire magazine, and I got about halfway through it before I had to stop reading it. There was an article about an “Open Carry” movement that is apparently all the rage in America (it is??? I’ve never heard of it!). The first sentence of the article says, “across America, firearms are fast becoming a must-have accessory” (here’s a link to the pictures in the article). What.The.Hell? I don’t own a gun. My friends don’t own guns (not outwardly, at least), and I have never, in my 29 years of life in America, seen one person just randomly wielding a gun. I have shot a gun before-in a shooting range-that’s it!

There’s also two young men in Australia that shot and killed a gardener and are the hot topic of the news right now. I read in the newspaper about them, and this is what their mum had to say: "Jade lived in America and Dionne visited him there, where it is normal in society to carry a gun.” It is? Well crap, this whole time I was only carrying a machete! What a fashion faux-pas! When my husband was on his way to come to America for the first time, there was a shooting in Wisconsin, and he was asking me all these questions, like, “how far away is Wisconsin?” “Have you ever been around a shooting?” “How safe is your neighbourhood?” I grew up in Moreno Valley and worked in Fontana, and I.HAVE.NEVER.SEEN.A.GUN!!!

It’s really sad because, even though incidents involving guns in the States are broadcast around the globe, getting shot really is a low chance (damn, ate my words. Went to the National Safety Council website and the odds are 1 in 300. Random fact: the odds of dying by dog bite is 1 in 119,998). Americans should worry more about what they’re  shoving into their mouths or lighting firecrackers off in their hands or being smote by God, I guess.

So yes, that’s my list of annoyances (so far). I hope that they are few and far between, as I plan to live here for a long time!


  1. I am your friend and I own guns and I would shoot people that don't wear deoderant. AMERICA FUCK YEAH!

  2. You'll know about it when one of those feral magpies pecks your head relentlessly because it is attracted to your hairclip. Totally agree with the possum thing too. When they scrabble around on my veranda right outside my bedroom window I get really scared and think that it's the crazy party gatecrasher guy coming to get me!

    I hear that Australian animals get bigger and noisier the further north you go. I am including ferals that don't wear deodorant in the 'animals' classification! I only know of one down here in Melbourne- a work colleague who REAKS! Certainly don't want to be stuck in the stationary cupboard with him...

    ff xo

  3. lololol omg that possom is tooo cute lolol there was one on the street in front of chirs's old house and I tried to catch it lolol wanted to bame him george . . . soooo didn't work out lolol
    the whole stereo type thing is seen anywhere you go I GET IT ALL THE TIME IN POLAND!!!! uhhh sooo annoying they swear cuz im from KALIFORNIA lolol that I am rich, stuck up and know movie stars . . . well if that was the case where the hells my money and why am I in debt lololol
    the food was also different in poland but i love it better there . . it takes you about 8 weeks to teach your tastebuds on new foods so soon you will get use to it all and love it =)

    <3 Yah!!!!!!!

  4. Its so hilarious and entertaining and poignant to see the world through someone else's eyes--and you express it so perfectly too. This is exactly why I love travel writing. I think I'd own a big old cute pair of rubber boots before I went walking in the garden--and the deodorant thing? Guess what, we are the only people in the world who wear deodorant as a fact of life! Other people in other countries like the smell of their fellow humans. I'm with you though, my sissy American nose would lose it. Does this mean when I come visit I shouldn't bring my AK47 and sixteen pistols and ammo? Darn...