Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Country of Relaxation

Another update! Yay! Currently I am sitting outside on our porch looking at the think, gray clouds that aren’t letting any sun pass through. Despite the gloomy weather though, I’m in a fabulous mood! The weather here changes about as much as you change a baby’s diaper. Yesterday was hot and sunny, then it started to drizzle and then at night it became freezing cold. I went on a run yesterday right before dinner and walking back to my flat I slowed down because something caught my eye. I looked up and there was a rainbow! I looked even closer and there was another one starting to form right next to it. It was so pretty. I started looking at the different colors of the rainbow running them all through my head. I saw red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, and then I stopped because I was sure my eyes were playing with me, but they weren’t. It was a double rainbow. I’ve never seen one before but the colors started over again on the other side. It was as if two rainbows merged to make one massive rainbow. It was b-e-a-utiful! Something I will never forget! The rainbow didn’t last long enough for me to take a picture and show you though, that was the only bad part about the situation.


            Wow. I already have so much to say and throughout the day I am always trying to remind myself write that in your blog. And now I can’t remember for the life of me what any of those were! Maybe if I back track I will remember. Ok so yesterday Laura and I were eating dinner together and we started really comparing America to China. It was fun because it was as if all borders were dropped because we were asking whatever questions came to mind. She asked me what boys and I think are pretty on women and I asked her the same of course. Amongst other fashion/appearance gossip we talked a lot about eating/dining habits. In China, when you are dining and you are the guest, you always say you are full, even if you aren’t. She says you lie. It is then the job of the host to trying and “convince” you to eat more. If you say that you are not full and would like more it is considered very rude. She told me, and I confirmed, that in America you don’t usually lie like that and we take what you mean seriously. [Although even if you are full, you will still be persuaded to eat more, (and don’t pretend that isn’t true, Yiayia!)]


            Tuesday my Australia Studies class consisted of us talking about everyday Australian Life and watching a movie. While we watch the movie our teacher leaves the room, like she does every time. But what we talked about was really neat. I guess they have an obesity problem here? That’s news to me because everyone I’ve seen (well not everyone) but most of the people I’ve seen are far more fit than the majority of people I see in the States. Every once in a while I will see someone who is particularly very large but I didn’t think it was as often as in the States. I guess though a lot of them are more in the city and we don’t live THAT close to the downtown part of the city. I don’t know it confused and shocked me all together. Some of the stores here though are still very prejudice. They won’t let aboriginals into their stores or they will follow them around the store to make sure they don’t steal anything. We also talking about how Australia is like America about 20 years ago. Which is basically true. I mean there are signs of it. Like the prejudice thing and just the way they are starting to realize important issues that we have lately. I don’t know it just seems that they are starting things like what we have now. I know we had apartment style building long ago but they are just now starting to get those and I didn’t even realize it until it was pointed out to me. It’s strange that they don’t have them here but really they don’t have many, unless I’m just not seeing them. And I think this is only in WA because I’m sure Sydney has them all over the place.


One thing I noticed a lot about the Australian accent, and the Chinese who are tring to learn English, is that they add unnecessary r’s ino words. Much like a southerner would do, where they say something like warsher instead of washer. It really bothers me! I want to correct someone every time I hear it. My teacher even says Aurstralia or Aurstralur instead of Australia. Laura, my flat mate, says idier instead of idea. When you greet someone goodbye too they always say “see you later” or “see you”, never “goodbye” or “bye” or even “see ya”. They are polite and I like it better than bye, because even though you probably won’t ever see that person again in your life, it’s more friendly and less formal. Keeps positivity in the air.


Oh I remember some of what I was going to talk about. My friend Molly just turned 20 this weekend. Sara, Patrick and I made her cupcakes for her birthday and surprised her with them! When then all made fajitas and guacamole together for dinner and it was delicious! Saturday we then went down to Fremantle (Freo for short, the Aussie’s love to shorten things) and walked around all the shops there and ate dinner at a really good, small town feel, Italian restaurant. It was scrumptious and I’m definitely going back to Freo since we didn’t have enough time to look at all of the stores. They all close down at 5 on Saturdays, ridiculous isn’t it? And they don’t open on Sundays. Aussie business hours are so different than back home. It’s like here they have to cram everything into the week so you are forced to do absolutely nothing on the weekends but relax. Very interesting, and relaxing lifestyle I guess you could say.


They also have a lot of cafes here. It’s great :) They have the same the same names for some things but they are different. Like they have a latte and cappuccino but I’ve been told by Molly, that they are slightly different. I don’t know how but I will find out when I get back to America.


Well I can’t remember what else I was going to say. Love you all <3

[Added Later]

I remember one of the things I forgot to say! A miracle, seriously. Anyways, I asked Laura why in a lot of Chinese pictures they aren't smiling. She told me that for her it seems rude to show your teeth while you are smiling so she doesn't. She said though that people in China do smile but I don't know how many of them do. She said that they might be smiling with their mouth closed too and so slightly that you might not be able to tell the difference. I believe this because in America we are expected to show teeth, if not at least smile big enough to tell, that we wouldn't notice just a slight smile on someone's face. I also asked her what the peace sign means (but I didn't say the peace sign I showed her what I was talking about with my fingers.) She said it means Victory and she does it because she doesn't know how else to pose in her pictures. She said for all Asian countries it means Victory and it's very common to use in pictures. She was shocked with a told her it was the peace sign. She said "but it doesn't look like a peace sign," which she's right it doesn't. I don't know how that became known as the peace sign but I think it's sensible that it means Victory for them because as she explains it "it looks like a V." I didn't ask because I didn't think about it till later, but it's funny that they use a sign that represents an English word. I'm not sure but I don't think the word for victory starts with the letter V, actually it can't since they use characters, but I wonder if it sounds like it. It's common amongst all of Asia too so even the Japanese use it. Really made me think about how popular the English language is. I mean I knew it was the common language for the word but I didn't think they incorporated it that much into their cultures. 

Laura also explained that in China they have professors from America come over to teach classes in English so they can improve their English. I don't know if it was an English speaking class but other exchange students in my program went to other countries and they all have classes in English. I wonder if most countries offer regular classes in English? That would be something interesting to find out because no college that I know of offers any class in another language, except to learn the language of course. 


1 comment:

  1. Your so observant and remember so many details. It is great to read about the differences.

    The following post is from Wikipedia regarding the peace sign origination.

    U.S. President Richard Nixon used it to signal victory, an act which became one of his best-known trademarks. He also used it on his departure from public office following his resignation in 1974.

    The victory sign was used in protests against the Vietnam War (and subsequent anti-war protests) and by the counterculture as a sign of peace. Because the hippies of the day often flashed this sign (palm out) while vocalizing "Peace", it became popularly known (through association) as the peace sign.[24]