If you happen to be outside Australia, and you run into an Australian citizen, it is statistically a dead certainty that the topic of ‘what I miss about Australia’ will be canvassed, most likely at length.
I would be prepared to go down to the local TAB-equivalent here and place bets that the words ‘beach’, ‘tim-tams’ and ‘barbie’ will be liberally scattered throughout the next conversation I have with an aussie expat. (Let’s be honest, most of those phrases will probably come from me)
To clarify, I am the last person to play down homesickness. Homesickness is the worst feeling. It can make you even sadder than when Barbara Hershey dies in Beaches*. It is kind of like having a broken heart, but you don’t get as much sympathy when you shovel in a whole tub of icecream and a block of milka to dull the pain.
However, just because you’re overseas does not make it okay to rabbit on about the $10 schnitzel dinner at your local RSL club and how much you miss it (note to self).
Thus, I’m campaigning for the following to be a legitimate conversation topic: ‘Things I Don’t Hate About Australia, But Also Don’t Really Miss’. Here is my contribution.
Let’s start with the obvious. I like tim-tams. But there are a lot of chocolate biscuits here that do the trick just as nicely. My verdict: Tim-tam slams are overrated (I cannot believe there is a wikipedia entry devoted to this practice) There, I’ve said it. I expect a torrent of abuse in the comments.
Christmas hamper advertisements
To explain: In Australia, a series of low-budget advertisements run from about December 26. They advertise the fact that you can pay a monthly instalment to receive a christmas hamper delivered to your door next Christmas, choc-full of useless and faintly repulsive grocery items.
The ads are tailored to the Readers’ Digest crowd, and/or the kind of families where the mum still prints out labels to iron onto the clothes of her university-aged children.
I have just conducted a straw-poll amongst my english-speaking but non-Australian colleagues, and they all shook their heads in confusion at the concept of ‘let me get this straight, paying in monthly instalments for a basket of stuff that you can buy in the supermarket anyway?!’
I don’t miss these ads.
In europe, the revolutionary concept of central heating pretty much renders the old uggies useless. No one likes sweaty ankles, and that, my friends, is what you end up wtih if you pull them on indoors during wintertime, when the house is heated to a cosy 22°C.
Also, don’t get me started on wearing uggies outside. Lindsay Lohan can get away with it because she is a celebrity lez and we are all too busy looking for traces of cocaine in her nostrils to notice the aesthetically unappealing footwear.
Inflated wine prices
To my knowledge, the only wine-related products in Sydney under $7 are passion pop and queen adelaide. These are cool when you are 15, then they become uncool as soon as you turn 18 and can legally purchase a decent semillon savignon blanc with your retail wage.
Then they become retro-cool again, mostly at uni parties where all the indie kids wear threadbare dunlops and get ‘like totally wasted’.
Mostly, in Australia, you pay $13-$21 for a bottle of vino (depending on how much you like the person whose party you are going to). Here, I can’t remember the last time I paid more than 4€.
I am pretty sure there are a whole bunch of other things I don’t miss, including the Royal Easter Show, Karl Stefanovic and annoying commercials such as the ‘Good Guys’ ad. Here it is, to remind you how much you don’t/wouldn’t miss it.
*if you haven’t seen it, you deserved that spoiler