Family Fun

We played a disgusting game with jelly beans. I don’t know what it’s actually called but someone said it was basically ‘Jelly Bean Roulette.”

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My last night and morning in Stockbridge was so much fun. On Friday evening we had a big family BBQ. Almost my entire Michigan family made it. I just love hanging out with everyone so much! The food was delicious. I particularly enjoyed the rhubarb crumble.

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We played a disgusting game with jelly beans. I don’t know what it’s actually called but someone said it was basically ‘Jelly Bean Roulette.” It totally was! You spin a dial and it tells you what colour jelly bean you have to eat. You have a 50/50 chance of getting a delicious jelly bean or a disgusting jelly bean. Here are some of the flavour options: chocolate pudding or canned dog food, butter popcorn or rotten egg, coconut or baby wipes, lime or grass clippings, tutti-fruity or dirty socks. The most disgusting ones in order were: rotten egg, booger, dirty socks, canned dog food and vomit. I seriously wanted to vomit myself when I got these. I spat them back out immediately. The funniest part though it Cassie would chew on the disgusting ones, keep a straight face and the swallow them. It was bazar. She seemed to like the awful jelly beans. I really enjoyed watching everyone’s faces when eating them though. Especially mum (we all know she has great facial expressions). Luckily I did get some tasty ones.

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Another game we played that night was the card game cheat. This was also a lot of fun. It’s so amusing seeing who tries to cheat the most. I was super exhausted by the end of the night, but this didn’t deter me from making plans to having a cousin breakfast in the morning. So at 9am we headed out to the Munith Café for a good breakfast. Kristen, David, Jacquie, Ethan, Sara, Cassie and I all made it. Karlee and R.J. were still fast asleep, and Zac was in Utah. We had a fun time. It was hilarious when Ethan (half asleep and confused) asked Kristen where David was. He was sitting right next to her. We all laughed so hard when Ethan realised. Clearly someone needed some more sleep (but in Ethan’s defence David is a very quite person compared to us cousins).

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We then all hung out at Uncle Joel’s house with Grandma until it was time to leave. It’s always hard and sad saying goodbye to everyone. It’s definitely much easier than it used to be. I come back so frequently now that I know it won’t be long until I see everyone again. However this time I felt more sad than usual. On our flight from Detroit to Dallas I sat contemplating how much I hated living on the opposite side of the world to my family. I love Australia, but I love my family. Michigan and Australia both feel like home to me, so it’s hard to say goodbye.

We did eventually make it home safe and sound. Our flight out of Dallas was changed from 10:15 to 11:45. So by the time we were up in the air and had been feed it felt like 2am to me (I was on Michigan time). I was so incredibly exhausted. I basically passed out my half eaten food still sitting on my tray table. I woke up hours later with it gone and my tray table packed away. I pretty much slept the whole flight. It was also one of the longest flights in the world. Dallas to Sydney is in the top 5 longest flights and was a total of 17 hours. I’ve decided I don’t mind these long flights anymore. I have gotten used to them and I almost welcome the hours of sitting, sleeping and contemplating. I will say one thing though. Qantas is better than Virgin (take note long haul travelers). Dallas is also a much nicer airport than LA. A loop train will take you to all the different terminals. It’s super easy, convenient, modern and clean. BUT the Dallas international airport closes up at 9pm. This was a shock. All the stores and restaurants closed (including McDonald’s). So make sure you eat before then and be aware it’s not the type of airport you would want to be stuck in overnight.

So that’s the end of my 2017 Summer Michigan Trip. Now back to winter. (Although so far the days have been sunny and nice. I couldn’t ask for better winter weather. I even sat outside with a cup of soup this morning watching the world light up).

Stay tuned for more blog posts about my local life and upcoming trips away.

4th of July/BEST DAY EVER

We all know how much American’s love their guns. So how could you even have a Fourth of July without some gun shooting? Before dinner I watched Austin and Zach attempt to make a watermelon explode. They packed explosion powder into a (sadly) delicious looking and giant watermelon.

BEST DAY EVER!!! Seriously I had so much fun today! I am so happy right now! I wish I convey my excited and happy feelings literally over this computer, so you could all understand that I really do mean it was the BEST DAY EVER! Today was the 4th of July, aka Independence Day. I have been longing to be in the USA for Fourth of July for years now, and I finally made it!

I woke up in my comfortable bed to the sound of summer and happy chirping birds outside my window. I opened the blinds and looked out into a glorious summer scene. The world was bright and happy. The grass was a rich green colour and the cornfields stood still and golden. Birds danced around the trees. When I made my way to Aunt Kim’s house for breakfast the air felt cool and warm at the same time. Summer warmth was lurking but the evening breeze was still about. Less than a minute later I spotted a chipmunk running around in the grass. IT WAS SO CUTE!

After breakfast our first stop was the nearby 4th of July parade. I even spotted a few deer along the way to the parade. We sure are in Michigan. We sat right near the presenter who was dressed up as Abraham Lincoln. The parade had a lot more cars in it than I expected. To be honest I’m not sure why that surprised me, we are in the land of cars. It makes perfect sense that a parade celebrating America would be filled with huge trucks and expensive cars. There were other floats too, including some horse and carriages. My favourite floats were the ones with kids who had decorated their bikes from top to bottom in American colours, and a little dog in a remote control car. Oh, also, I got and elephant ear from a nearby stand. It wouldn’t be very American to not purchase some sort of deliciously unhealthy snack. An elephant ear is basically flattened fried dough with cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top.

The plan for lunch was to get fried chicken that the local firemen grill. This is a Fillmore tradition and has been for a long time. Mum was all set for this chicken and keen for us to try it. Unfortunately they ran out of chicken by the time we got in the line. So, sadly no firemen chicken for us. Still Aunt Kim somehow managed to magically make a splendid spread of food appear on the table. The only bad part was we didn’t have much time enjoy eating it. I made Cassie eat her hotdog whilst walking across the field. Our next stop was to Uncle Jon’s house for some boating adventures. The adventure actually began when I spotted a squirrel leaping from branch to branch.

I WAS EXCITED! I LOVE going out on Uncle Jon’s boat. Uncle Jon, Aunt Elizabeth, Kristen, David, Austin, Megan (Aunt’s girlfriend), Zach, (Austin’s roommate), Cassie, and I were all there. Even Jacquie managed to join us later. It was extra fun today because the small passage from the boat harbour to the lake was lined with American flags, and armed with a 5 year old child with water guns. We went back and forward several times and each time a battle occurred. Sadly we only had water bottles for weapons. We soon got started on tubing. The good tube had broken so after some failed tubing attempts and multiple bodies being airborne Uncle Jon decided to buy a new tube. Tubing was much more successful after this. My favourite trick we managed to achieve (new trick) was to stand up with one foot on one tube and the other foot on the other tube. Of course no one lasted long when attempting this. I didn’t mind splashing into the water, though, and bobbing around in my life jacket. The water was so warm, like a bath tub, but slightly cooler. It was perfect. The last part of the boating adventure was watching Uncle Jon and Kristen water ski. I’d never actually seen someone water ski up close so that was neat. Kristen even managed to drop one ski and just ride with both feet on the one ski.

So I do feel the need to add three things that happened during tubing. Number 1, I almost killed my sister. So basically we were falling out the tube. She starts screaming at me “GO FORWARD. GO FORWARD. YOU’RE TOO FAR BACK. KEEP GOING.” Then I hear muffled yells and pushes forward. Turns out the yells became muffled because I was suffocating her in the tube, and the pushed forward we’re actually elbows attempting to push me off. But she is alive, so don’t worry. Number 2, Zach whenever he fell, fell very dramatically. His arms would fly out and he would sort of fall like a star fish. Number 3, I got completely stuck trying to climb onto the tube at one point. I ended up with one leg in the tube, one leg under the tube, half an arm on the side of the tube and one arm dangling in the water. After several minutes of dangling and exhaustion I managed to haul myself up by grabbing Cassie’s life jacket.

Now if I said to you what’s something that’s popular in America but seems crazy to Australians what comes to mind? Were guns one of those things? I am guessing it was. We all know how much American’s love their guns. So how could you even have a Fourth of July without some gun shooting? Before dinner I watched Austin and Zach attempt to make a watermelon explode. They packed explosion powder into a (sadly) delicious looking, giant watermelon. With gun shots still ringing in my ear I watched as watermelon pieces flew up into the air and spread out around the field. Apparently the explosion powder didn’t really work, but I thought it was pretty nifty.

Next we went back to Uncle Jon’s house for some food. And guess who had left over firemen’s chicken? That’s right we didn’t miss out after all! It was quite tasty too. It was cooked to crunchy perfection. The chicken wasn’t the only near miss I had that day. Earlier I almost stepped onto a 2 meter long slithering snake. Okay, so yes it is true, that grass snakes aren’t poisonous. But it felt like a near miss because my inner Aussie was telling me “YOU ALMOST DIED!” A couple other things to mention is Aunt Elizabeth did a wonderful job decorating for Fourth of July. Her pot plants all had little flags in them and even their dog, Cocoa, had an American bandanna tied to him.

Lastly our day finished with fireworks. I’m sure you are aware fireworks on Fourth of July is a must. Even if you don’t specifically go somewhere to see fireworks I can guarantee you will see them somewhere. People just setup fireworks in their backyard. The whole country is lit with fireworks on the nights of July Fourth. I was glad it wasn’t stormy or rainy. It was a perfect and warm evening. The atmosphere was great too. Everyone drove onto a big oval and found a spot to set up chairs. More food carts and stalls were about. There was also a big hut with a live band playing. I LOVED IT! It felt somewhat similar to the Christmas Eve event Blackwood Hills Baptist puts on back home (minus the Christmas part). I will also admit I actually got another elephant ear. THIS ONE WAS DELCIOUS! Nice and doughy, yum. Then I sat down on a rug with the whole Michigan Fillmore gang and watched fireflies flicker about until the fireworks began. THEY WERE spectacular fireworks too. I LOVED IT! I felt so happy and magical watching them. And I am so thankful to my family for making the whole day so much fun!

Sadly my day of American celebration has come to an end, but it was perfect. We did everything! 4th of July parade, tick. Chipmunk, squirrel, snack, and deer spotting, tick. The firemen’s chicken, tick. Elephant ears, tick. Boat/outdoor fun, tick. Gun shooting, tick. Fireworks, tick. So day one of my 2017 America trip has been successful. Tomorrow I am off on a road trip with the Joel Fillmore family. More adventures await.

We have arrived!

I’m not sure if I am just getting so used to travelling on long haul flights with my mum and sister, or what, but our flight flew by! Excuse the pun! 😀

We have arrived all safe and sound. We had the smoothest flight over, ever! We flew Qantas (they are better everyone). We flew to Sydney, walked to the bus to connect to the international airport. Quickly got Cassie’s tax refund on a camera purchase then boarded our next plane. It was a huge plane, one of those double decker planes. It made for a smoother less turbulent ride, I think. It was a long flight 16 hours. That’s the longest flight I have been on that I can remember, but it went so fast! I’m not sure if I am just getting so used to travelling on long haul flights with my mum and sister, or what, but our flight flew by! Excuse the pun! 😀 We disembarked in Dallas speed through border control and customs and then caught a speedy train to the domestic terminal. We had just enough time to change into summer clothes before boarding out last flight, which arrived early. Can you believe it? Seriously smoothest trip over ever! We literally had no problems.

Now I am nestled happily in my bed at Grandma’s house. Cassie is in the Den room. Ethan and Sara are living here also. Mum is staying at Uncle Joel’s house with grandma. It does feel a little strange staying here without mum, but I feel happy and snug in the familiar bed.

Why Hello Warmth

FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER I will be celebrating 4th of July. I can already taste apple pie and see fireworks flashing before my eyes. 

I am off to the USA again, tomorrow. Goodbye winter and hello summer! I’m looking forward to swimming in warm fresh water lakes and lounging about next to cornfields. I can’t wait to taste wild black berries again and camp among pine forests. I am excited to see the fireflies dance around during dusk. AND FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER I will be celebrating 4th of July. I can already taste apple pie and see fireworks flashing before my eyes.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve felt the need to comment daily on the weather. Truly we have had the most glorious winter EVER! It’s not quite shorts weather, but the sun has been gloriously warm, and there has been no wind or rain. I’ve been bike riding every day since I got my new bike. Cassie and I even spotted a koala migrating from one tree to another on one of our walks. It’s been wonderful.

You’d think there would be nothing to complain about, right? Well sadly I have found two things to complain about due to the glorious weather. The first reason is actually quite serious. In Australia a rainless winter means bush-fires during the summer. The second reason is it doesn’t feel quite as exciting leaving Australia for Michigan if the weather is already nice here. Luckily I have good news all round. The wind and rain is coming. I kept saying I hope the weather would turn sour once we left and my wish was granted. I leave on Monday and guess what the weather is going to be like from Monday onward? Wet and windy. I feel quite satisfied that I can enjoy my last two days here in Aussieland rain free, and then wave goodbye to the storm clouds as I pass through them on Monday morning.

Stay tuned for holiday updates.

International Dilemmas

The more I heard about Russia the more my eyes widened with excitement and an un-removable grin was pasted on my face. Then… the nightmare of trip planning begun.

Image result for Russia Vs AmericaFor those of you who don’t know, my boyfriend is Russian. He moved to Australia when he was twelve. He has come to America with me a couple of times. He met my extended family and we explored America together. We have been to Michigan, New York, New Orleans and Montana. We even went to college at Montana State University for six months. So my boyfriend and I figured it was about time I went to Russia to see his family and explore his roots! Thus the excitement and thrill of planning a Russia trip began. We had planned on going this July for around a year, but due to the fact VISAs can only be acquired three months in advance, we didn’t make anything official. When April finally came around we organised VISAs and began to official planning process.

The more I heard about Russia the more my eyes widened with excitement and an un-removable grin was pasted on my face. I was going to see the beautiful church buildings, palaces, grand museums, market places and medieval villages. Then I found out my boyfriend’s family lived in a village in Siberia. I couldn’t believe it! I would see the fast paced Moscow and St. Petersburg life, as well as the country lifestyle. There were forests to explore, rivers to splash in and Altai Mountains to look at. I honestly couldn’t wait.

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Then… the nightmare of trip planning begun. Seasoned travellers have all experienced travel problems, but I’m telling you mine were getting ridiculous! We seriously ran into every obstacle we could along the way. Let me dot point everything that went wrong for us.
1. Ticket prices went up (by a lot).
2. A few days later checked prices, went to book two hours later, and prices had gone up again!
3. Then I found out my elderly grandma in Michigan has cancer. Questions about whether I should be going to Michigan in July, instead of Russia, arose. So we delayed buying tickets. It was decided I would still go to Russia to meet Stas’ elderly great grandma whom I have never met.
4. I monitored airfares for a month to find the cheapest time of the week to purchase. Thursday turned out to be the cheap day. I went to book on Thursday but prices had gone up AGAIN!!!
5. Then the St. Petersburg terror attack occurred. Questions around our safety arose. We decided we would go but just not take the subway.
6. Then we found out Stas’ great grandma fell and broke her shoulder. Seeing her was the main reason for our trip. We didn’t know if she would even be okay for us to come in July. So we delayed buying tickets, but she seems to be doing okay now.
7. Went to buy tickets again, but thought I may have caught glandular fever from my sister, so we delayed. Prices went up again. (There is a reoccurring theme here isn’t there?)
8. We contacted a travel agent. She said she would get back to us in two days. We never heard back from her.
9. Finally I went to buy tickets. The prices were acceptable and I began filling out our details, only to discover that you couldn’t do a split payment (my mistake). Then I had to wait for money to be transferred from my boyfriend’s account to my account, so we had enough money in the one account to buy tickets.
10. FINALLY I purchased tickets!!!! But wait for it… Wait for it…. The payment was unsuccessful. I am not kidding! I half paid. Confused? So was I! Basically my bank approved the payment so the money was no longer accessible to me, but China Southern Airlines didn’t finalise the payment so they didn’t get the money. This left us with no tickets and no money to buy tickets with. The money wouldn’t become accessible to me for a whole week.
11. Then, that’s right, the tickets went up again. In fact they went up by so much money they if our payment didn’t finalise and the money was returned to me there was no way I could afford plane tickets!
12. We sent multiple emails and called multiple times to the airline company with no success.
13. Then the payment was finalised and the money was deducted from my account, WOOOHOOO, we should receive tickets now right? Wong! We received an email saying the tickets were not able to be issued. I’m starting to fall to pieces now. I’m in week 11 currently at Uni. Aussie students know what that means!
14. We responded asking the airline to reissue the tickets. They accepted and asked us to confirm passenger names and passport details. I sent them the required information. Stas was sure everything had worked out. I told him not to hold his breathe. Sadly this was good advice. We received an email saying the name on my passport didn’t match what they had on file and they could not change this. They could not issue the ticket in my full correct name. My middle name was missing in their records. They then reminded me that I may be denied boarding if the name did not match that of my passport.
15. At this point I am so stressed. I can’t sleep. I am having panic attacks. I am behind in all my classes. My boyfriend and I are fighting. I’m emotionally wrecked. I am seriously just exhausted.
16. I reached the stage of defeat. I requested the money be refunded. But sadly my hellish nightmare doesn’t stop here. They said the money would be refunded to my account in 15 to 30 business days!!!! What is this??? Which means we have no money to book alternative flights.
17. Then I started receiving phone calls. First they asked if I could speak Chinese. I said no, so they called me back. They called me back asking if I wanted to reissue the tickets or refund the money. I said refund the money. They said I need to respond to their email. I said I did respond and they re-responded. They just repeated the line saying I needed to respond to their email requesting a refund. I again said I had they had in fact responded to my email. They then told me to respond to their email. This parrot like conversation confused by a language barrier continued for a few minutes. They then hung up. Two hours later someone else called and I literally had the exact same conversation.

So now finally I have covered a step by step documentation of my awful ticket buying experience, which is technically still not over. I am still waiting for my money to return to me. So what to do now? We’ll I’m a religious person, and when so many things started to pop up I began to get concerned that it was a sign from God. I asked God for more and more signs and I kept hitting more and more roadblocks. The final straw for me was when I said “okay God bless this trip if it’s meant to be or show me a clear sign I shouldn’t go if you don’t want to me. We’ve had so many things go wrong with these tickets. It seems like everything is fine now. But if one more thing goes wrong, I won’t go.” Then BAM they couldn’t even issue a ticket with my correct name. So I believe that yes I am supposed to go to Russia, but just not this July. Some of you might not believe it’s God giving me a sign. Maybe you think it’s the universe telling me my plans are not what it wants? Or perhaps you are thinking this is all just stereotypical travel problems and it’s all just one big coincidence? Even if it is the latter I have never had so many problems crop up in trying to purchase a plane ticket before, and yes I do travel internationally quite frequently. The stress of the plane ticket purchasing problems completely sucked the excitement and fun out of the trip! Which was actually really, really sad. I wanted the joy and excitement at the thought of going to return but it just wouldn’t.

The consensus is that it I should go to Michigan to visit my grandma and Stas will go to Russia to visit his. I am sad I won’t be exploring such a marvellous and unique culture. I am also sad that I won’t be meeting Stas’ family members. But I love Michigan. I love my grandma. And I love my family in Michigan! So while I may have lost one thing, I have gained another. I will admit that I am most sad for Stas and the fact I won’t be accompanying him to Russia. I want to honour him in the way he has honoured me by coming to America. But like I mentioned the world is against me going right now. I am comforted knowing he can now spend three to four weeks with his family, instead of just one. He also won’t have to worry about translating conversations constantly from Russian to English and English to Russian. He doesn’t need to worry about entertaining me. He can just spend quality time with his family.

Today my travel advice books arrived in the mail. (Side note I always use the lonely planet books. They are by far the best. I highly recommend even if you are an experienced traveller.) At first I was sad. I flicked through the pages of the things I could have seen. But then you know what? I started to get excited! Because I haven’t given up my trip to Russia, I have just rescheduled it. I’ll be able to save more money, which means we can stay everywhere for twice as long (YEEEHAAAA) and see twice as many things. Plus if you know me you would know my favourite part of a holiday is the planning/looking forward to the things I will be doing. Now I can spend the next year looking at all the things I want to see. I can plan out where I want to go. Instead of just 5 weeks of excitement I will have a whole year!  So lookout Russia it might not be this July but I am planning a magnificent trip and I AM COMING!!!

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Aussie Slang – Wanna talk like a true Aussie?

This is a blog on how to master the good old Strayan slang. In the land down under we like to shorten everything we can! Think of the words dero and suss. Not sure what I mean by dero or suss? Well keep reading!

This is not a blog on how to speak with an Aussie accent. This is a blog on how to master the good old Strayan slang. So work on your Aussie accent and then come to this blog for tips on how to sound like a true Aussie. Start with the ‘for beginners’ section if you just want quick hacks, but if you want to fool real Aussies into thinking you’re one of them read the other two sections.

At this point you may be wondering why I, of all people, am doing an blog on Aussie slang. My American accent would probably have you thinking I should be writing a blog on American slang. Let me assure you that I grew up in the Land Down Under, I know all the slang, and my American roots means I have had the unique opportunity to spot the difference in slang language. With the help of my father (and family) I have put together a nice little guide on how to speak like an Aussie.

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Beginner:


In the land down under we like to shorten everything we can! In fact some words such as ‘dero’ have always been said as the shortened version in my life. I legite had no idea it was actually short for something. I just thought that was the whole word. And to be honest often these shortened words do start to take on a new meaning of their own, thus actually becoming a separate word. The word ‘suss’ is a great example of this. Not sure what I mean by the word dero or suss? Well keep reading!

If you want my beginners advice on how to master Aussie slang follow these three easy steps:

  1. Pick a word
  2. Shorten it (often to just the first syllable)
  3. Add an ‘o’ or ‘i/ie/y/ee’ sound to the end.

Here are some examples:
Barbie = Barbecue
Dero = Derelict. Usually said with the word ‘heaps’ in front, as in he was ‘heaps dero.’
Unco = Uncoordinated
Devo = Devastated. Also usually said with the word ‘heaps’ in front, as in ‘heaps devo’.
Uni = University
Chrissy = Christmas
Rego = Registration
Footy = Football (Aussie Rules Football not American Football)
Vegies = Vegetables
Boyfie = Boyfriend
Girlfie = Girlfriend
Mossie = Mosquito
Cocky = Cockatoo (type of bird)
Budgie = Budgerigar (type of bird)
Sunnies = Sunglasses
Agro = Aggressive
Breakie = Breakfast
Brickie =  Bricklayer
Postie = Postman
Muso = Muscisian
Vego = Vegetarian
Mayo = Mayonnaise
Blowie = Blowfly
Tradie = Tradesman
Lippy = Lipstick

Then there are the hybrid words. These words still end with an ‘o’ or ‘ee’ sound and are short for something but they are actually a word used to shorten two or more words combined. For example:
Fairo = Fair enough
Righto = Your right/ This is right/ That was right/ True/ Correct
Rightio = Means the same as righto. Also one of my favourites because it has both the ‘o and ‘ee’ sounds.
Povo = Poverty stricken. Usually said with the word ‘heaps’ again, as in ‘heaps povo.’
Smoko = Going for a smoke. Could be used to ask where the ‘smoko’ is, as in where can you smoke/where is the smoke room?
Bottleo = Bottle shop
Ambo = Ambulance workers
Metho = Metholated Spirits
Trackies = Track suit pants
Truckie = Truck driver
Garbo = Garbage collector (this is an unusual one because we say ‘rubbish’ not ‘garbage’ or ‘trash’.
Servo = Service station
Sickie = Usually said as ‘pulling a sickie’, meaning they are faking being sick to get out of doing something.
Chewie = Chewing gum
Salvos = Salvation Army (charity organisation)
Surfies = Someone who surfs a lot
Pokies = Gambling machines
Relli = Relative
Rello = Also means Relative

We don’t just shorten words we shorten names too. In Aussie land we often refer to our mates by their shortened last name. My last name, Walding, becomes Waldo. My boyfriends last name, Oxenham, could become Oxenie, but it is more likely to become Oxi. Oxenie has too many syllables.

You may ask at this point how do I know whether the word should have an ‘o’ or ‘ee’ sound at the end. As an Aussie I can feel the word. I sense what sort of ending it should have. My advice to Non-Aussies would be to say the word out loud with an ‘o’ and then an ‘ee’ sound. Pick whichever is easier to pronounce.  We’re all about making things easy.

Now it’s true that not all words can be shortened. Honestly I can’t really give any advice on how to know if a word can or cannot be shortened. It’s quite random. For example we don’t shorten the word ‘formation’ to ‘formo.’ Or ‘fireman’ to ‘firey.’ As an Aussie we just know what words are appropriate to shorten. However, if you just start shortening words and adding the ‘o’ or ‘ee’ sound your already doing good. And, honestly, the word ‘formo’ doesn’t even sound that ridiculous. If you said ‘formo’ I would think it a little odd, but wouldn’t question it.

Intermediates 

Now we start to move on to some words that are shortened but not necessarily ending in ‘o’ or ‘ee.’ We have:
Gday = Good day

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Maccas = McDonalds
Xmas = Christmas
Chook = Chicken
PJs = Pajamas
HJs = Hungry Jacks (called Burger King in America)
Crock = Could mean crockadile or the shoe brand.
Spag Bol =Spagehti Bolagnaise
Straya = Australia. This is how the older generation naturally pronounce Australia (I’m not kidding), but if someone from a younger generation say Straya they would be someone who is heaps dero.
Ranga = Someone with orange hair, meaning they looking like an Orangutan.
Roo = Kangaroo
Kanga = Kangaroo
Cab Sav = Cabernet Sauvignon (type of wine)
Crook = Ill/sick, as in I am quite crook
Daks = Meaning trackie dacs, akak track suit pants
Carn = Come’on. You would yell this while cheering on a team, i.e. ‘CARN ADELAIDE.’ (Remember we don’t pronounce the letter ‘r’. So it sounds like ‘cahn’.)
Pash = Kissing passionately

No advice on how to know if a word has this sort of ending, just add these words to your memory bank.

Alrighty now your starting to get a feel for how we talk. Let’s move on to some of the more complicated speech. Here comes that word ‘suss’ again. Suss is actually short for suspicious. You could say something like ‘yeah that was heaps suss’ or ‘he was heaps suss looking.’ However as I mentioned earlier the word suss also has its own separate meaning. It can also mean to ‘check out/look at/ investigate’. In Australia you will often hear people say ‘I’ll suss it out’, meaning ‘I’ll check it out.’

There is also this complicated word we use ALL THE TIME! It’s ‘yeah-nah.’ Confused? I would be. Yeah-nah can mean yes, or no, depending on the context. If the word is said by it’s self then it most likely means no. For example if you said to someone “want to go grab a bite to eat?’ They may responded with ‘yeah-nah.’ This means no. If you were to say to someone “I heard you went on a holiday, did you have a good time?’ They might say ‘yeah-nah, it was great.’ This means ‘Yes, it was great.’ Yes I know its confusing. I didn’t even realise us Aussies did this until I went to America and confused the heck out of my cousins. Just try to sense whether the person looks hesitant or open. Hesitant = yeah-nah means no, and open = yeah-nah means yes.

Here is another great one ‘as’. We often finish a sentence with the word ‘as’. For example ‘it was funny as’, ‘it was far as’ or ‘ he was dero as’. I discovered this one when I was telling a story to my wonderful cousin, Austin, in America. I told a great story while he listened to me intently. I promptly finished it by say ‘yeah it was funny as’. He stared at me wide eyed waiting for the ending of my sentence. When I said nothing he looked confused and said “funny as…” and I said “yes funny as.” More confusion. He then frowned and said “funny as what?” and I said “no that’s it, just funny as.” He frowned even harder and then all of a sudden it clicked, I made zero sense. So don’t be thrown off by mid-sentence endings. Saying ‘funny as’ is a way of emphasizing it really was VERY FUNNY.

Also Reckon is another word used ALL THE TIME. It means ‘I think.’ So you would say ‘I reckon we should do this,’ or ‘I reckon that’s true.’ So don’t ever say ‘I think.’  Always say ‘I reckon.’

Advanced

Wooohooo if you’ve made it this far you’re doing well. Just a few more things to learn and you’ll be ready to blend in with us Aussies.

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Now in this section we come to some classic Aussie sayings.
She’ll be right mate = everything will be fine
Chuck a Uie = Make a U-turn
Working flat out for your country = taking a nap
Dead Horse = Tomato Sauce, aka Ketchup
Ooaroo = Goodbye
Mad as a cut snake = Very angry or crazy (maybe both)
No worries = No problem
Rug up = bundle up/ wear warm things
Whats the haps? = Whats been happening?
Load of crock = Everything is untrue or everything they are saying is false
Full as a goose = Very full/ eaten too much
Porkie Pie = Lie
Snag on the barbie = Sausage on the barbecue
Never-Never or Whoop Whoop = Outback/ Middle of nowhere
Shark biscuit = Someone in the water looking very much like a shark may attack them
Blowing froth off a beer = drinking your beer very slowly
Bent as a banana = Dishonest person
Fast as a hack rabbit = very fast
Dead battery = flat battery

Some of these sayings I believe, originated in Ireland. We had quite a few Irish people immigrate to Australia. It’s possible that these saying could be found in America too, but Australia was founded much later than America and is a smaller country. Thus Irish immigrants and Irish slang became apart of our country and vocabulary quite rapidly. I would imagine in America the slang did not disperse or catch-on quite as easily.

Vocabulary Builder
Feel like you’ve committed all the above sayings to memory? CONGRATULATIONS! Looking to expand your Aussie vocabulary? Why not try saying some of these common Aussie words:
Mate = friend or if in a physical fight your opponent will often call you mate
Lad = guy friend
Sheila = girl friend (not usually said these days)
Chemist = DON’T SAY DRUG STORE!!! You may end up visiting the police.
Oi = Excuse me, hello, stop, watch out, really it could mean anything depending on the context.
Bathers = Swim suit
Thongs = Flip Flops
Bloke = Male acquaintance you like
Bl**dy Oath = Wow/ really/ no way
‘Em = Them
Coppers = Police
Jumper = Hooded sweat shirt
Uggs = Ugg boots
Bludger = Someone who skips school or work (usually school)
Ferral = Disgusting
Grog = Alcohol
Mobile/ Mobile Phone = Cell Phone
Petrol = Gas
Esky = Cooler
Loo = Bathroom
Dunny = Bathroom
Toilet = Bathroom
Ace = Doing great
Buggered = Physically tired
Cark it = Broken/ Dead
Car Park = Parking lot
Footpath = Side walk
Docket = Receipt
Fairy Floss = Cotton Candy
Jelly = Jello
Jam = Jelly
Op Shop = Thrift shop
Sunbake = Sun bathe
Bogan = Dero and bogan mean similar things, but they are different. Dero would be someone who is on drugs and unhygenic. Bogan is more like someone who doesn’t try hard, dresses slack and drinks a lot of alcohol.

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^^^BOGAN^^^

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^^^DERO^^^

WHAT NOT TO DO:
Don’t EVER say ‘root.’ Americans often say they ‘root’ for their team. In Australia this means the F word. I’m not kidding. Let me put it in context. It’s quite possible you would hear a bogan say “yeah I rooted her last night.” It doesn’t sound nice does it? Most people would never talk like that, but I assure you we all know what the word ‘root’ means. So just stay away from this word entirely, please!!! If you do choose to say the word ‘root’ let the eyes of this koala stare into your soul!

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Also this is more on the accent side of things but I really feel like I need to include it in this blog. In America there is a common misconception that we put a letter ‘r’ at the end of the word ‘no.’ Many times I have heard people say “what are you saying? How do you say no? Is it nar? It’s nar! I’m saying it nar, nar, nar!” I stare at them stunned for a moment before jumping in desperately trying to help the poor fellow. I usually rapidly say “OH NO it’s definitely not nar.” I am then shut down by a nearby American who usually slaps the one saying ‘nar’ on the back stating “you’re saying it! You sound just like an Aussie.” I am then completely ignored and the American goes around saying nar beaming proudly.

Okay so American to American saying ‘nar’ somehow must sound like how Aussie’s say ‘no’, but American to Australian it sounds RIDICULOUS! Trust me! Think about it, we don’t pronounce the letter ‘r’ at all, in any words. For example ‘star’ becomes ‘stah.’ Why would be put a letter that we never pronounce on the end of a word for no reason? If you want to try and say ‘no’ like an Aussie here is my advice. Try and make the sound of the ‘o’ come from the back of the throat. When Americans so ‘no’ they almost turn their lips into a circle like they might be going to put a ‘w’ sound at the end. Australians don’t do this. Try not to move your lips too much, have the sound come from the back of the throat, and pronounce it nu-oh.

Or if you want to make everyone have a good laugh and put a smile on an Aussie’s face go ahead and say ‘nar.’ I can guarantee we will laugh! And don’t worry we will be laughing with you, not at you, because we are quite a friendly and welcoming bunch.

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***Edit: Apparently we do call firemen fireys. Say what??? I know. So there you go. You probably can shorten almost any word and have it sound right.

Becoming Myself Again

I was back in a place that was so familiar and unchanged, yet I was so different. I had no idea who I was anymore. I didn’t know how to make myself truly happy because the things I loved I no longer enjoyed.

Last year I thoroughly explored what it meant to be an American college student. I went on an exchange for 6 months to the USA. I visited Michigan and New Orleans, but I spent the majority of my time in Montana. I attended Montana State University and had one of the best experiences of my life! I’m not going to discuss the details of my exchange now. If you want you can read all about it in the 100+ blogs I wrote while I was there at: http://www.travelpod.com/members/annara.walding. Instead I want to talk about what it was like to come home.

When I arrived home and entered the familiar looking Adelaide airport I immediately felt like Adelaide had opened its arms wide and genuflected me in a welcome home hug. Of course I was literally receiving warm hugs from my teary eyed parents, but it was more than that. It was like the whole of Adelaide was glad to have me back where I belonged. Hearing the good old Aussie accent (and despite the fact I don’t actually have much of an Australian accent myself) I felt truly safe. I attempted to settle back into my life. I will admit this was made difficult by having to live away from my home for a month. But as soon as I was back living in my own room, on my own mattress, everything returned to normal. It almost felt like I had never left. Adelaide was still exactly the same. No major events occurred while I was gone. All my close friends were still at uni. My bedroom was unchanged. It was all exactly the same! My time in Montana seemed like a fabulous dream, and only a dream!

What was interesting was although Adelaide was exactly the same I had changed. And not just a little bit, I had changed a lot! Offhand that doesn’t sound unusual. You would expect someone to change if they lived overseas for six months, away from their friends and family, but it wasn’t the sort of change you’d expect. I felt like my personality had been drastically altered. I was no longer interested in the things I once thrived off. I had always been an outgoing and busy person. I felt at my best when I had multiple things going on in my life. Yet, when I returned home I didn’t feel like seeing any friends (except my very closest friends). I didn’t want to travel again. I was only mildly busy. I still had to do things like lead a small group and go to uni, however, my passion and what used to drive me was gone completely! I tried hard to find reasons to avoid leaving my house. I wasn’t depressed or sad, I just didn’t feel like doing the things I used to enjoy. It scared me. I was back in a place that was so familiar and unchanged, yet I was so different. I had no idea who I was anymore. I didn’t know how to make myself truly happy because the things I loved I no longer enjoyed.

Luckily there is a good ending to this story. On Friday the 31st of March while I sat on the couch all of a sudden I felt like I had been hit by what I can only describe as a water balloon. It’s like something smacked me, and shocked me awake to my old self. I then felt a cool bubble slowly engulf my whole body. It was a refreshing feeling. The cool bubbly surrounding me evaporated and left my body feeling warm and tingly. Just like that, I snapped back into being myself again. I wanted to be busy. I wanted to travel more. I wanted to try new things. I wanted to see old friends. I felt relieved. I knew who I was again!

I wouldn’t say I am exactly the same as I was before. I learnt a lot while I was away. I have grown in my understanding of the world and I have matured. But my core personality has re-emerged and thankfully it’s intact.

So the question is why did I not feel like myself when I first returned? I honestly believe the answer is my body was in rest and rehabilitation mode. While I was in America I got quite ill physically, and I was tired mentally. I felt like I was climbing a mountain of stress and twice I almost tumbled over. You see, college life is extremely different from home life. At college there are so many activities I was ALWAYS trying something new. It is also virtually impossible to be alone. For half a year I constantly had atleast one or more friends by my side. This college lifestyle resulted in myself never being alone with my thoughts and never getting the proper sleep I so desperately needed.

When I returned home my subconscious tried to help me get back on my feet! How often do you hear that one? Isn’t it often your subconscious that makes things worse? Doesn’t it usually harbour irrational fears or childhood traumas, ready to re-emerge these memories at awkward times? Well this time my subconscious was working for me, not against me. I subconsciously stopped myself from wanting to be busy, so I could let my body rest. My physical health was restored and I also had time to be alone and regather my mental state. Then after several months, on one fateful day, my subconscious decided that I was well enough again to resume my normal life. The water balloon filled with my personality popped and exploded all over me.

So what have I learnt from this experience? I have learnt that I LOVE travelling, and I actually need to travel. I almost feel trapped if I don’t have any travel plans. However, I did learn that I am probably more of a short term visit kind of person. The solution is to no longer plan big and long trips away, but shorter more frequent trips. I can still explore a new culture, yet not get so rundown. Currently I have trips to Russia and Japan in the makings, and let’s just say now that I’m feeling myself again I COULD NOT BE MORE EXCITED!