Signs you might be an Australian born in the wrong country

Happy Australia Day!

I swear, for years I have jokingly been telling my friends that I was definitely born in the wrong country. After I visited Italy, I said I must’ve been an Italian in my previous life. However, all signs are pointing towards a nation further away… So I put together a little list of things that definitely show that I should be an Australian, and how you might be one, too.

King’s Canyon

You can’t stand cold. You’d think that over twenty years living in Finland would have taught me, but nope.

You haven’t known true winter until you’ve seen the thermometer hit that -38 degrees and decided that maybe you’ll just learn to hibernate. No wonder bears are so pissed off if you accidentally wake them up in the middle of the winter, I would behave the same way.

I am well aware that Australia’s not always on the sunny side, either (remembering that week-long roadtrip when I never wore less than three shirts at once…) but you know what, I would much rather be ‘oh dang, I need to put on the puffier coat’ cold than ‘I am wearing everything I own and I will never be warm again’ cold. I’ve heard some summer-haters make a point of how if you’re hot, you can only shed clothes to a certain point, opposed to if you’re cold, you can keep on putting on layers. Maybe that’s true, but I’d rather not miss my bus because I spent ten minutes trying to protect myself from the bitter winter and still there’s no way to protect my nose?! Nice try, winter, but no thanks.

Brighton Beach. Melbourne

You’re a night owl. Have you ever run into that crazy Tumblr theory that has it that if you’re more awake at night and terrible at getting out of bed in the morning, maybe you were just born into the wrong timezone? Suddenly everything makes so much more sense. Sydney is some +9 hours ahead of Finland, so when I start dozing off during that 2 p.m. Spanish Grammar class, it has got nothing to do with the previous hearty meal and the fact that Spanish grammar is boring, it is just my body telling me to hit the bed as hard as I can. And when my most productive hours happen to be 10 p.m. to 12 p.m., well, maybe I am just a very rare species of Australian Earlybird.

Why I can’t stand waking up earlier than 8.30 though, that escapes me.

You have a strange, unexplainable accent. I actually have a British accent, sort of. I’m still not entirely sure where it came from because I remember that in lower secondary school I was consciously trying to talk with an American accent. Apparently, though, I managed to pick up a slight Australian accent as well as I was in the country, even though the few Australians I interacted with didn’t have specifically strong accents. Three years later and I still sometimes have people do the brow-frown and go, ‘I’m sure you’re not Australian but why do you almost sound like one?’
As the story goes, the accent doesn’t go undetected even in other languages. A few months after my OZ trip I’d moved from my home town to Tampere, Finland. One night I was walking home from a gig at the port when a guy stopped me and asked me if I knew where his hotel was. My smart phone at that point wasn’t particularly smart, so after a few minutes of struggling with the maps I had to give up and tell the poor guy I couldn’t help. Mind you, this was all in Finnish. He was already walking away when he suddenly turned around and said: ‘Have you ever been to Australia? Because you sorta have an Australian accent.’ In Finnish, are you kidding me? We chatted for a bit and he was on his way to Australia as well in a few months so maybe it was just a sixth sense or something. Hope you found your hotel in the end, strange accent-detecting dude.
This point also includes using funky slang. Once you’ve used the word “thongs” for flip-flops for almost a year there is just no going back. I still bite my tongue every single time I need to say anything about tho flip-flops because it will just slip out. I’m sorry.
Somewhere on the south coast

You have no problem with small talk. If you read my Truths&Myths post about Finland (or are Finnish), you know that my nation isn’t exactly renowned for it’s people’s chatty quality. In fact, it is often said that Finland doesn’t really have a small talk culture, which a lot of English-speaking countries seem to have. I felt this was the way in Australia as well. A woman started talking to me about my hair in the metro, a guy asked me out for an ice cream on the beach, other backpackers chatted with me in Macca’s. I loved it. Small talk has special importance if you’re travelling alone and you don’t want to feel lonely all the time.

Then again, I am a little on the fence with small talk. I can be a grumpy old man whose ice cream just fell on the ground if you bother me at the wrong moment. I apologize.

Katharine Gorge

You don’t really mind freakishly big bugs.  For a lot of people, Australia equals wildlife that either will kill you or give it it’s fair shot. Sure, there might be some drop bears poisonous snakes, but in general the rule seems to be that the bigger the thing, the less poisonous it actually is. Spider-wise, the big ones are the ones that eat small, annoying bugs and flies, thus help keeping your house clean. They are your friends and you should love them. Those other bugs then, I’ve got no clue what their deal is, but they seem to be pretty happy just going about their own business. I shared a tent once with a thing that was all antennas and legs and that little pal was all right.

Then again I have never been particularly squeamish about bugs. When I was little, I used to build spas for worms, and my best friend had a fly farm. I never let my dad squish the occasional spider that had found his merry way into the house but carried them out. This is fortunate for Ben my travel partners in case they need a huge bee removed from their vicinity.

Whitehaven Beach
Flinders Range

The second you tasted kangaroo, it became your new favourite meat ever. I remember my first kangaroo well. It was my first night in a new hostel, and the event called for celebration. And four kangaroo hamburger steaks were only three or four dollars. Score! That night I made kangaroo hamburgers, and maybe it was because I hadn’t had a burger in a while – or because I had been living on unseasoned mince meat and rice for three weeks – or because, you know, kangaroo is the best thing ever – but those humble burgers were heaven.

I have heard that kangaroo can be terrible if you cook it wrong, and that’s probably true. If ever I hear opposing views on the deliciousness of kangaroo meat, I just refer to this point in my mind and become content again. I don’t care if the kangaroo you had was sinewy and gross, you Danish stranger, because you’re probably wrong. I was made to eat kangaroo.

Yummy. The Grampians Mountain Range
Sigh. It’s cold & dark & miserable. Can you tell I’ve got itchy feet?
Screw Vegemite, though.

2 thoughts on “Signs you might be an Australian born in the wrong country

  1. enpä tiennyt että kenguruita saa syödä 😮 tuntuu kummalliselta, mutta on varmaan vähän niin kuin porot suomessa: jotkut pitävät normaalina ja ulkomaalaiset kauhistelee miten joku voi syödä niitä kun ne on joulupukin.
    miten luonnehtisit makuelämystä, muistuttiko jotain tavallisempaa lihaa? onko sen syöminen australiassa ihan tavallista?

  2. Joo, poroihin niiden syömistä varmaan vertaisinkin. Eli ei niiden syöminen ihan harvinaista ole 🙂 Tarjolla olis myös mm. emua ja krototiilia. En osaa mausta sen enemmän sanoa, oon huono kuvailemaan makuja 😀

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