Having been a resident alien (such a delightful term) here in the US of A for over 4 months now, I took time recently to reflect on the things I really missed about Australia and I thought “heck, I’ll share this with everyone on the blog, because they really do need to know whatever nonsense I blether about to myself at all times”.
Apart from the obvious missables, like family, friends and my cats, the things I am most aching for are decidedly odd and varied. This doesn’t surprise me all that much, I am a decidedly odd and varied person.
Thing the 1st: Being able to recognise currency without having to scrutinize it like an episode of CSI.
Give me a handful of change and ask me to find you a certain coin, and I’ll probably point over your shoulder, shout ‘LOOK! DAVID HASSELHOFF EATING A FISH TACO’ and then run away while you’re distracted.
Australian currency is very distinct in shape, colour and size. There is no way you can confuse a small round 10c coin with a hexagonal 50c piece or a gold dollar coin.
There is, however, little logic to me in having a 10c piece be smaller than a 5c piece, and having no coin larger than a 25c piece, meaning you’re forever jingling with vast quantities of change secreted about your person.
And while tipping a $1 bill is easier than throwing a gold coin at someone, I have a irritating habit of stuffing my ones in my pockets and then proceeding to launder them.
And not in the cool gangster kind of way.
The ‘oh crud, my currency is soggy and needs ironing’ kind of way.
Thing the 2nd: People thinking they need to correct my spelling.
I know how to spell.
I am actually quite proficient with the english language and its usage.
So when I write ‘colour’, ‘specialise’, ‘cheque’ or ‘programme’ I get a little miffed when folk here laugh and point at my apparent typos.
I bring my colloquial spelling with me, people. And, gosh darn it, I will continue to utilise my version of words until someone sucks 36 years of learning from my brain and replaces it with something new.
While we’re on the subject, I will also continue to say things such as ‘fortnight’, convert all units of measurement to metric loudly and with gusto and raise my eyebrow at the concept of saying ‘put that trash in the trash’.
It is RUBBISH, and you’re putting it in the BIN.
Thing the 3rd (and last, since I am sure you all have better things to do than listen to me ramble): Being unable to find any asian cooking supplies in the local supermarket.
I guess I have always taken for granted the fact that as we are so close to Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore etc and have such a multi-cultural population, our supermarkets stock a large selection of cooking items and ingredients. Therefore when I want to make a green chicken curry or miso soup, I just look in that aisle and voila, there the base items are.
Here, however, there is a distinct lack of not only choice, but even an aisle dedicated to said choices.
So when I wanted to cook green chicken curry, I couldn’t find the base to do so, even after scouring every single shelf, poking around in behind the other products and in one quiet moment of sheer desperation, perusing the organic aisle with it’s vastly overpriced foods of the moment.
“FINE” thinks I.
“I’ll just make my own curry base and it will be amazing and everyone will cheer and I’ll be a gosh darn hero”.
Sadly, the reality of making your own green curry base is that you essentially need THE SAME INGREDIENTS you don’t have to begin with.
After sobbing quietly in the produce section for a moment, I regroup.
“FINE” thinks I.
“I’ll just make a regular curry base and it will still be amazing and everyone will cheer even louder at how resourceful I am under pressure”.
So, here’s me, mixing up my assorted spices and of course, in goes the turmeric, turning everything a violent shade of yellow, as it is wont to do.
Immediately, I am transported back in time to my childhood and my mother’s ‘curry’ – undoubtedly one of my least favourite meals to see turn up on the dinner table.
Mum, I love you.
But that damned nuclear-yellow curry with it’s assortment of raisins and apple pieces ….
WHAT THE HECK WAS THAT?
IT WAS LIKE MUESLI GOT TOGETHER WITH A WATERY STEW, PEOPLE THREW TURMERIC AT THEIR WEDDING AND THEN THEY HAD A VERY CONFUSED JAUNDICED BABY.
Get yourself an Asian ingredient aisle so I can go back to repressing these childhood memories, yeah?