Growing up, though we who lived on the Door County peninsula shared the same Lake Michigan shoreline, another “culture” meant the “townies” versus those of us from the country. (Not sure what they called us.)
Not having many travel opportunities as a child (a big deal to cross the bridge) I longed for travel and appreciated exposure to different cultures.
As an adult, I’ve been blessed to have traveled quite a bit domestically and internationally and the sound of different languages and accents spoken at airports has always been music to my ears.
One place I’ve always wanted to visit, but haven’t yet is Australia.
When my youngest son, Nick, left for college, we were pleased to discover that his roommate was from Australia. Danny had wanted to come to the US and play football for a small southern town where American football was a big deal. He found that at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, where he and Nick were not only roommate but teammates-Nick, a tight end for the Ragin’ Cajuns and Danny, a punter.
Nick enjoyed experiencing another culture through his roommate and shared a few interesting observations from time spent with Danny.
- When Danny would say, “open the boot,” Nick learned it meant to open the trunk.
- When the weather turned cold, Danny asked Nick if it was cold enough to “rug up.” Nick came to understand that this meant to wear a sweatshirt.
- I think it rains more in Louisiana than it did in Australia and Nick had a good laugh when he saw Danny barefooted and bare-chested, sprinting across campus carrying his shirt and shoes. Apparently that’s what they do in Australia when it rains.
- Nick also had to laugh when Danny learned the phrase riding “shotgun” but would call out “shotgun” then go to the wrong side of the car.
Danny returned back to Australia after four years with the Ragin’ Cajuns and Nick hopes to visit him sometime. I just might have to travel with him.
Here are some other fun facts about Australia:
- Captain James Cook first landed on Australia’s east coast in 1770. In 1788, the British returned with eleven ships to establish a penal colony. Within days of The First Fleet’s arrival and the raising of the British flag, two French ships arrived, just too late to claim Australia for France.
- Some shopping centres and restaurants play classical music in their car park to deter teenagers from loitering at night.
- In 1975, Australia had a government shutdown, which ended with the Queen firing everyone and the government starting again.
- No native Australian animals have hooves.
- In Australia, it is illegal to walk on the right-hand side of a footpath.
- Australia has 3.3x more sheep than people
- If you visited one new beach in Australia every day, it would take over 27 years to see them all.
- Australia’s first police force was made up of the most well-behaved convicts
Writing prompt: Study a different culture and imagine your character landing in a completely new culture.