Sunday, August 29, 2010

And just as the office got warm...

The office I work in is very eclectic, cool, out of the ordinary... it's a top floor loft in the center of Melbourne, surrounded by cute cobble stone paved lanes, and graffiti-ed brick walls. From our windows we have watched as films and commercials (Melbourne is a 'little Hollywood' down under... lots of films are filmed here - apparently Robert De Niro was here filming not too long ago) have been shot below, and we have also watched in amazement as drug addicts shoot up a fix in a doorway. All in all, it's a wonderful and dreadful place... one could say it's a Yin /Yang type of environment to work in.

The same can be said of the inside of the office. The light which comes through the large windows is inviting and bright, yet the same large windows are where the majority of the warmth escapes during winter. We have been in full blown winter mode for what seems like forever (the past 5 months), and have become quite accustomed to wearing coats and scarves indoors all of the time, in order to keep even moderately warm. Blue fingernails, and runny noses are the "new trend" among the office staff.

I have found the positive in this situation though: I think it's easier to get dressed in the morning because of this. I have adopted a new look... the 'winter uniform.' There is no major planning for this style... a pair of pants, a long sleeved shirt and then on top of it a big warm coat and scarf. Actually, the scarf has been the 'creative' part of the ensemble and its saving grace. I change it according to my mood and makeup choice for the day.

One day I will opt to wear a leopard print scarf, another day a lovely red, orange and pink silk number looking like something I may have picked up while trekking in the Himalayas. Ahh, the options are limitless, as I have an abundance of scarves which my aunts have given me throughout the years. I never got rid of them, as I felt guilty in doing so, they stayed folded up in one of my drawers, ever the source of an argument between my hubby and I, as he always thought them to be useless. I mean... he has a point... "if you don't use it, lose it", but I'm now using it.

Today, I was ill prepared with my layers of clothing. I don't know what possessed me, but I wore a rather sheer black cotton blouse, which really should be worn in Spring or Summer, under my coat and a light purple plaid scarf with a fringe all around its perimeter... a birthday gift from my aunt in Canada. I thought I'd surely freeze my buns off. Much to my surprise, I walked into a warmer office. It seems that the boss, had several new heaters installed over the weekend. Yippiii!!!! It's only taken five months, and several colds later. But hey! My immune system is stronger because of it, I'm sure of it. One's got to look at the positives in life.

Just as the office has become a nice warm environment to work in, a co-worker reminded me that around the corner is the warm weather waiting to hit our tin roofed office, with the large windows. Oh yes, I remember THAT hell, from last summer. Hot beyond belief, and because we kept the back door of the office open to keep a constant draft going, we were 'blessed' with the stale smell of urine coming from the bathroom next door. Maybe this year, we'll find a solution for that little pesky smell.

Life is truly a Yin and Yang, isn't it? I will concentrate on the good... "we got heat, we got heat, we got heat". I'll worry about the "OMG it's hot, OMG it's hot" later. Make the best of it, now.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Flat out like a lizard drinking

It took me a while to get used to the Aussie accent. When one listens to it in a film, what is spoken is a more 'pure' type of accent, but in real life... depending on the individual who is speaking; you can find yourself squinting, and turning your ear toward the person, in attempt of somehow activating the universal translator you think you have in your head, which will aid in the fine tuning of the gibberish which is being uttered in your direction.

Once I acclimated and became comfortable with holding long conversations with Australians, I began hitting another social wall. Sayings... everyday expressions describing a situation with slang. The first one my husband and I were privy in hearing, even before stepping foot on Australian soil, was on i.m. with a future co-worker, who commented on the rarity of a good Chardonnay in the land down under. He wrote: "A good Chardonnay is rarer than hen's teeth." We chuckled at this statement, and even analyzed it a bit. Yes, it is true that hens/chickens do not have teeth, therefore his statement indicated that Chardonnay is VERY rare, one may even venture in stating that it is IMPOSSIBLE to find a good Chardonnay in Australia.

As time progressed, we would compare notes with each other, about who had heard the funniest or most creative expression to date. My husband came home with a good one (in our opinion... but Aussies thought it nothing special); spoken by a re-location expert when my husband stated that we would be interested in either an apartment or a house to rent: "Well! That's just chalk and cheese then." Which left him speechless. Unable to figure out what she meant by the statement, he finally gave in, and asked the woman to explain... she wasn't amused, but explain she did. Apparently it means: "Well! Those are two totally different things." Meaning, CHALK may look like CHEESE but once tasted, you can tell that they're different things.

Though the creative expressions are-a-plenty, it seems that they are considered an endangered species of sorts. TV programs and films from abroad, particularly from the US have become favorites among the masses, and especially the youth; consequently influencing the local language.

The word MATE means BUDDY, but one can hear the ladder just as much as MATE spoken by young people. This has some individuals upset, as they feel that their language is special and merits to be preserved just the way it is. I think this is a valid point, but do think it's also funny that, at the same time as they are demanding to keep their saying alive, they frown upon the people who speak in that manner.

A perfect example is Paul Hogan's character Crocodile Dundee's accent and manner of speaking. The moment that an Ozzie (generally speaking) is reminded of this character from the popular movie by the same name from the 80s, they cringe and scoff at the fact that anyone may think that Australians speak like that in real life. Their attitude toward this world-loved character, who has brought more tourists to this continent than anyone else in its history, is shame. It's sad, but true. Shame, that he is the 'poster child' for Australia. Well, I still like you Crocodile Dundee, and I still say... "That's not a noyf (knife)! THIS is a noyf!" as I start chopping my herbs before cooking with my gigantic butcher knife.

I have adopted another beauty of a saying: "I'm flat out like a lizard drinking" meaning "I'm soooooo busy!" Aussies get it, and I feel as if I have just made a statement in Mandarin, and native Chinese people have understood me.

Click below to read more about some great expressions, and what people are saying about the endangered Aussie lingo.

Last hurrah for Australian lingo from long ago

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I read somewhere that you should not make excuses as to why you can't blog; that blogging can be done in 15 minutes. So I thought I'd take their statement as a personal challenge, and attempt to write an interesting blog in a quarter of an hour.... starting... NOW!

Australia being my home for a little over two years now, and my most memorable impression of this large island continent, is that I seem to be always sick. I paid this no major attention when I first arrived as I accredited my ailments to the fact that my body was still getting used to all the new bacteria, viruses etc. Not particularly happy to be inviting these pests into my body, but resigned to the idea that 'what does not kill you, will make you stronger'. It is now officially something which pisses me off... getting sick. I mean, really! How many times is considered normal? When should one say to their family phisician... "what the hell is wrong with this picture? Should I be sick this often?

I don't know... maybe it's because my mother was (and is) the type of person that, unless your arm is hanging by a thread, she does not take you to the doctor. Side Note: True story... I broke my ankle in High School, and I was not taken to see a doctor until a month after the incident; by then the ankle had healed itself... badly. My mother complained all the way home, at the fact that she had to pay for the pricey X-rays, to only be dissapointed by the final outcome. The doctor said - "we can't do anything about it, except re-break the ankle, without anestesia" to which suggestion I strongly opposed... imagine that! So, back to my reason for not going to the doctor's office when I'm sick... ah yes, it's all my mother's fault. I get a cough, and I think to myself, "it's not a big deal". The bad thing though, is that it could indeed be a serious matter, and if not taken care of it could result in catastrophy.

The dillema begins. If I go to the doctor for every little thing, I am labelled a hipochondriac. If I don't go to the doctor at all, I'm labelled as... as... I don't know exactly, what I'm labelled as; perhaps a strong person? Yes, but... if I should suffer a tragic misfortune and lose my life due to a terrible illness, then I will be judged by the people coming to my wake. "Why didn't she seek help?" they will wave their fist to the sky, almost expecting God to give them a reply. (Perhaps I'm being a little melo-dramatic). Go. Don't go. Go. Don't go. What is the right answer?

The moral to this story?

1. I managed to write something in 15 minutes to post on my blog.

2. I am a tortured soul, who cannot make up her own mind to save her life.

3. Perhaps I should see a doctor for this persistent and annoying cough. What do you think? Lets vote, why don't we?