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Culture Shock: An American Down Under

By Edited Jun 4, 2015 2 9

Traveling to another country can really take its toll on a person.  The culture shock alone sometimes can be enough to drive one mad.  While some changes in your surrounding can be quite subtle, others have a way of making you want to kick someone in the chest and scream, “THIS IS MERICA!!!”

 

Culture Shock: An American Down Under

 

 

Seriously though, here are just a few of the cultural barriers I had to climb my way over as a blind American spending his time in the land down under

 

 

No justice for the PB and J

 

Culture Shock: An American Down Under

 

Consider me a strong advocate for the liking of the PB and J sandwich.  It’s just the perfect combination!  While only a small change, it became overwhelmingly obvious to me that PB and J sandwiches just didn’t carry the same weight they had in the states.  Probably more than 80% of the people I had asked had never had a PB and J sandwich in their lives.  Blasphemy….. just absolute blasphemy.

 

 

Oh wow, that’s a pretty bird……WTF……Why does

it want me to die?

 

Not even kidding.  Even some of the birds over there want you dead. 

During nesting season it is every bird’s duty and instinct to protect their young.  Yeah, I understand that.  It seems however that birds in Australia don’t feel a sense of security unless you remain out of their entire visual range altogether.  If they see you, they hate it.   

Come certain times throughout the season some of the birds become, what I would like to call, a bit overly aggressive in their protective actions.  The first bird that I noticed do this was a Magpie.  Keeping a formidable size, this bird swoops down at casual passer buyers with the intent of taking your hair out.  I was told that the problem gets so apparent sometimes that road bikers wear spikes in their helmets in order to deter these attacks. . . . . .  I didn’t believe it until I saw it.

culture shock: an american down under

 

 

 The Magpie however was not the bird that struck fear into my heart.  Sounding off its full force, heart dropping death shreek as a warning to all those around, the Masked plover is a straight crazed maniac.  Repeatedly swooping at you like a Japanese kamikaze fighter pilot on crack, this bird has the bite to back up its bark.

When some of my buddies told me that Masked Plovers actually had poisonous talons in its wings, I laughed it off. . . . . Turns out. . . . . The Masked Plover actually has f****** poisonous talons in its wings. . . . WTF?

 Nuff said.   

 

 

Culture Shock: An American Down Unda
This bird wants you to die

 

 

Where have all the fat people gone?

 

 

Culture Shock: An American Down Unda

Born in Chicago and raised in the state of Wisconsin, trust me, I know my fatties.  America seems to have….can we call it…..A reputation for being heavy.  As I settled in and began to explore the outer depths of my surrounding, it came to my attention that my location was host to very small amounts of overweight or obese people.  I have always heard the statistics and read the articles pertaining to the dangerous levels of obesity held in America, but I guess being in America so long made me grow used to the sight of people struggling to carry around their own mass.  Throughout my stay in Australia I had seen very few people who would meet the American definition of overweight.... and I liked it.   

 

 

Wait…. So there are other sports out there other

than baseball and football? 

 

 

Culture Shock: An American Down Under

 

I am not a big sports fan myself, so the thought of not being able to catch any games on t.v. really had no effect on me.  As the time passed though, it started getting a little strange to me as I didn’t see any baseball diamonds anywhere.  Something I took for granted all the years growing up in the states, I had just figured every open field of grass had bases hidden somewhere in it. 

There are a few other countries out there that have a strong passion for Baseball along with the land of the free and the home of the brave, but while I spent my time in the land down under I probably came across one single Aussie baseball fan who had a clue what he was talking about.

 

Football on the other hand.  Strictly American.  No one in Australia seemed to have a care in the world for American football.  I couldn’t believe it.  Instead, Australia has their own version of football which they call footy (Aussie Rules).  While the sport continued to grow on me as I spent more and more time in the country (GO GEELONG!), I still attempted to hold true as a stubborn American and defend my countries NFL no matter how little I really cared.

Culture Shock: An American Down Unda

 

 

Since you guys don’t watch baseball, does that

mean you have never heard of Babe Ruth?

 

Culture Shock: An American Down Under

Jidge, The Big Fellow, The Caliph of Clout, The Behemoth of Bust, The Sultan of Swat……..THE GREAT BAMBINO!!!! 

 

I’ll admit it, I almost had an effin heart attack when this came to my attention.  As I asked those around me if they had ever heard of this legend, the only response I was receiving came in the form of questions like, “Why is there a guy named Babe?” 

Jaw left hanging to the ground I immediately forced upon my current Aussie girlfriend a quiet night in the house.  A true piece of history needed to be shared.  We had to watch The Sandlot.

HOW YA GOIN?

 

Culture Shock: An American Down Unda

How ya goin? 

 

WTF?........  Really? Im GOING over here, and I’m DOING good……How are you DOING?

 

I never really got that one.  I’m not even going to try and justify it.

 

 

Soooo…. You don’t own guns?

 

 

Culture Shock: An American Down Under

WHAAAAAAAAT???   .......  I was raised in the country.  Between hunting season, my own stocked arsenal, and a shooting range mere miles from my house, seldom a day went by that I didn’t hear the sweet sound of gunfire in the distance.  I was raised with gun safety in mind.  I learned from a young age how to safely and properly handle a weapon in the correct manner.  Once I spent a little time in Australia, I realized just how tight the gun control laws were.  Requiring permits, registrations, and only being considered for a weapon if you meet certain strict criteria, I realized that I no longer had my 2nd amendment constitutional rights. (Or any constitutional rights for that matter)  Something about it just made me feel uneasy.  How else is a man supposed to shoot sh*t if he can’t have guns? 

The fact I no longer had access to guns didn’t really bother me.  It was the fact that I wasn’t allowed to have access to guns that I didn’t really like.   

 

 

A love for the head-butt

 

Culture Shock: An American Down Unda

I’ll start by saying that I am a big fan of National Geographic.  I would often watch their shows from the comfort of my living room and enjoy the educational programming they had to offer.  On rare occasion I would observe scenes of rams in the mountains fighting for whatever reason by head-butting each other into submission.  Seen on Nat Geo, I just figured this method of fighting was primitive, and it certainly wasn’t something that was used by humans. Right? ……. WRONG!  Finding myself immersed in the bar scene on occasion and hearing stories form others, it seems that Aussies have some sort of passionate love for the head-butt if conflict should arise. Seems that when tempers flare over there, heads fly.  Literally.  It came as a surprise to me when I heard multiple stories of people head-butting one another as a way of fighting in bars when I hadn’t heard of, or witnessed, a single head butting in the previous 24 years of my life.  I never understood.  I feel a physics lesson based on action reaction laws is in order with this particular example.

While there are countless cultural differences upon traveling to another country, these are just a few that remain in my head today.  These differences are a major part of what makes the travels so great. . . An experience like no other, I would re-live those moments every day if I could.

Culture Shock: An American Down Unda
CultureShock! Australia: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette
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The Masked Plover in Action

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Comments

Jun 16, 2013 9:03am
Zachjazz
Thanks for the interesting and entertaining article! I've wanted to visit Australia for a long time now.
Jul 19, 2013 8:44am
Suliczwp87
If you ever get the chance to get out there. Dont hesitate to do it. Just go.
Jul 13, 2013 6:39am
utgllc
Awesome article! The thought of knowing you have to watch out for birds that are poisonous is crazy....
Jul 19, 2013 8:44am
Suliczwp87
Everything is deadly out there. Its crazy.
Jul 16, 2013 11:39am
Wesman_Todd_Shaw
Thanks for a terrific read! Very entertaining! Hey, I was told by some guys I know from here (Texas) who'd been in the navy that Australian women LOVE American men. ....so I'm interested in ...ah, yeah.

I was wondering what that Magpie thing might taste like, then I recalled...nobody in Australia could shoot one and find out. I'm told that loads of citizens there have figured out what a disaster their gun control junk is.

Thanks again for the entertaining read.
Jul 16, 2013 7:01pm
Juanfer234
Australia seems to have an unnatural concentration of native wildlife that aims to kill and or eat you (salties, great whites, bull dog ants, every venemous snake known to man). Thanks for the heads up. I'll add poison tipped dive-bombing birds to my list of things to watch out for if ever I should decide to visit....
Jul 19, 2013 8:46am
Suliczwp87
They only dive bomb during a certain season but it is well worthy of adding to the list. I posted a video of them as well that I took while I was out there. Check it out at the bottom of the article. They come in rather hard.
Jul 18, 2013 5:10am
annewrite1
Enjoyed your article.

I agree - those magpies and plovers are pretty scary.

And when it comes to sports, don't forget our bat and ball game - cricket!
Dec 25, 2014 8:09pm
shar-On
As an ozzie I enjoyed your article and its humour. We love traveling around here and as yet have never had any problem with the plovers. Although I know the magpies do divebomb you in nesting season looking for something to build their nests.

Actually is is not just the animals that are dangerous it is car drivers too. Although Most countries have their dangerous animals like tigers, lions, bears, snakes and then of course how many people die in the snowstorms. Where ever you live I suppose you learn to lookout for the hidden dangers of all sorts and I think it is getting worse all the time. Great article
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