One Month in Australia: Things I’m Not Used to Yet

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been here a month, but it’s true! I think I’ve adapted pretty well to my new life, but there are some things that I’m still finding tricky.

1) Driving on the left

For the most part, I’ve done much better than I thought I would when it comes to driving here, considering that I have to drive on the left side of the road and sit on the right side of the car. There are still moments after I make a right turn that I panic that I’ve gone the wrong way.

Days since I’ve turned on the windshield wipers thinking they were the indicator lights: 0.

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2) The accent and slang

“I’m sorry?” is something I say all. the. time. Whether the person I’m speaking to is mumbling or I just didn’t understand what they’re saying, I’m constantly asking people to repeat themselves.

It doesn’t help that they seem to shorten words to things that I need to Google–the first time someone said “arvo” instead of “afternoon” I think I made a face like someone asked me to fly.

3) Costs

I knew Australia was expensive, but I wasn’t prepared for just how expensive it is. The first week I was here, I spent $16 on a bottle of sunscreen (I’ve since found a store/brand where it’s much cheaper, but still pricey).

On the plus side, there’s no sales tax. And everything is rounded to the nearest 5 cents–no more pesky pennies!

4) Hearing so much about the US

Considering that I can’t remember the last time I saw Australia on the American news, I wasn’t expecting to hear constant coverage of the US here. It makes sense considering the election and everything else going on back home.

5) The metric system

Driving wise, I can handle this. I can match the road signs to my cars speedometer. It’s everywhere else that I have an issue. How much is a kilogram of almonds and why does it cost $28? Will there ever be a day that I put the gym machines on the right weights the first time, instead of thinking it’s in pounds and therefore putting on double the weight I intended?

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