Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Still Slightly Upside-Down and Backwards

It's really depressing when it suddenly dawns on me that I'm no longer a Sydneysider. Don't worry, I'm not crazy. I am fully aware that I don't live in Sydney anymore, but every once in a while I'll realize the Aussie in me is not as present as the day before.

To elaborate, today I realized that I no longer "speak in questions" as my American friend once pointed out when he came to visit me in Sydney. I've lost the heightened inflection at the end of my sentences that was once so natural to me. It's like losing your sexy sick voice- you always expected it to go back to normal, and you may not notice when it does, but when you do, you can't help but miss it. I'm not even really sure how it sounds anymore; I can't even fake it. :(

I still find myself walking on the left side of busy sidewalks. I find it amusing because it used to drive me crazy when tourists would walk on the right side in Sydney and not recognize and adapt to the Australian way of pedestrian etiquette. Now, instead of moving over to the right side, I keep to the left. I think it's a sad attempt to stay connected to my life down under. (I do move to the right on escalators- don't want to upset people at the bart station.)
I am happy to say that even though I find it difficult to stick to the right side of sidewalks, I am once again a confident driver in the states and always stick to the right side of the road (it did take a brief and somewhat frightening period of second-guessing).

Although it is difficult to keep up a working vocabulary of Australian lingo, there are some words I refuse to give up, despite the confusion it may cause with my friends here. Usually I can get by with things like "brekky" (breakfast) or "sunnies" (sunglasses) due to their obvious derivatives and the fact that my friends aren't stupid. I love "arvo" (afternoon) and I can't get it out of my head so I'll use it regularly (most of my friends know it now and some of them even use it!). "Cheers" and "heaps" will always be a part of my regular jargon and occasionally I'll reply "that's alright" instead of "you're welcome". I still find myself answering questions starting with "yeah..." (For instance if someone asks how my day's going- "yeah, it's been good, thanks.") I still have to double check if I'm using "entree" properly (here= main course; oz= starter). I get weird looks when I order a glass of "cab sauv" (vs. "cab"). It's strange that one year away can trump 23 years at home when it comes to how I walk and talk. Although such exchanges may cause confusion, I enjoy it because it allows me to explain a part of Australia and thus a part of me.

Despite the faded Aussie in me, "Lozza" is still there. She will never leave. That is the beauty of travel- the act itself is inherently temporary, but the impressions it leaves are permanent. I'll wrap this up with one of my favourite quotes (that's the other thing, I have to constantly check my spelling- I'm just going to leave that for effect): "The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one's own country as a foreign land." - G.K. Chesterton

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