Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Your Questions Answered Part 3

I'm back with more answers to your questions about life in Oz.

I'm going to double up in today's post and answer kristin and annelise's questions since they both have rather short lists.

kristin wanted to know:
Do your toilets really flush the water down in an opposite spiral motion than here above the equator?
Kristin, thanks for your thoughtful question. This is always a hotly debated topic and probably has The Simpsons to thank for bringing it onto the pop culture radar. As a result of your questions and feeling I needed to complete the most diligent of research, I spent a large part of today flushing the toilet and taking notes. Okay, so maybe I exaggerate when I say a large part of today. Perhaps, it was just one single flush but you have to remember a few things a) we only have the one toilet in the house, so no one can monopolise it for too long otherwise there'd be trouble b) I've got two little people to look after and rarely get time to actually use the toilet myself much less study it c) we are in the midst of a long and painful drought and I couldn't bring myself to consciously waste so much water. I hope you can understand my reasons for only observing the one flush. I did pay extra close attention and here's what I found. It appears that the water in my toilet does a bit of a tidal thing where the water comes from the top and rolls over itself whilst going down. That's the best way I can describe it. The water doesn't seem to flush down in a spiral motion at all. If there was any direction to the water I'd say it was counter-clockwise, but that would be stretching it.

After the careful study of my own toilet, I then contacted my best friend Google. She led me to several websites that seem to think the whole theory is a myth. I wonder if this is one the guys on Myth Busters have tested out before. Does anyone else watch that show? The Handsome Australian loves it and insists on watching it with the kids and lauds it's scientific value. I'm still not convinced.

To sum up kristin, I don't think the toilet flushes in an opposite direction. While we are on the subject of toilets and flushing though--there are two types of flushes here in Australia. Most toilets have two buttons on the top of them. One is for the "half flush" and the other is for the "full flush". What's the difference? Well, the half flush uses less water and is generally used to flush down your number 1s. The full flush, true to it's name gives a fuller flush. It's generally used to flush down your number 2s.

Hope that answers your question kristin and tells you more than you ever wanted to know about Australian toilets. Thanks for asking!

Now we'll move on to annelise's questions. Here is what she wanted to know:

1. Is there no "z" in the Australian alphabet and that is why your spelling changed to the over use of s( realise vs realize)?

2. Has the Aussie hubby ever made up for a night out of drinking in the States (the one pre marriage)?

3. Are Aussie women tall?

First up:
1. Is there no "z" in the Australian alphabet and that is why your spelling changed to the over use of s (realise vs. realize)?
Actually annelise, to tell you the truth, there is no "z" in the Australian alphabet. Well, they don't call it "z" anyway. Where Americans pronounce the letter "z" as zee, the Australians pronounce it "zed". The letter does exist, but it goes by a different name. Funny? Now sing the Alphabet song, "...Y and Zed. Next time won't you sing with me?" Yeah, doesn't sound right does it? "Zed" doesn't rhyme with "me" at the end of the song. It sounds terrible. It's like someone placed this heavy weight at the end of the alphabet. To my ears, "zed" just sinks. Initially, I insisted my children learn the song the way it is sung in the USA. I like "zee". I'm happy with "zee". Once my oldest child aged a bit and started attending preschool, I realised my efforts were futile. She was going to learn "zed" at school and as long as we live in Australia "zed" is the way it's going to be. That's it folks, I'm going to have a vegemite loving, "zed" speaking child that learns "maths" instead of "math". How will I cope?

Ok, moving past that small wanted to know why I use "s" to spell so many words that are spelled with "z" in the USA. This is just the Australian way. I'm pretty sure they've gotten this little tradition from the English, they get a lot of things from the English. So while we Americans were throwing English Tea in Boston Harbour, the Australians were learning to spell with the "s" instead of the "z". Why do I spell that way now? Can't I just keep using the "z"? Well truth be told, my first job here in Australia was as a high school English teacher. I couldn't spell with the "z" because a) 14 year olds will take any opportunity to point out your faults, make fun of them and then remind you of your mistake every time you see them b) I was teaching English in Australia and I needed to teach these kids what would be considered correct here and the "s" is what is considered correct, and c) Australians sometimes get upset by what they feel is the Americanisation of everything. They are keen to maintain their own cultural identity and by maintaining the use of the "s" instead of the "z" they are doing that in their own small way.

That's a really long way of saying, I do it to fit in. Thanks for asking, because I know you were really curious and weren't poking fun at me at all. Right?

Now for the next question:
2. Has the Aussie hubby ever made up for a night out drinking in the States (the one pre marriage)
Unfortunately annelise, I can't answer that question on this blog (but check out my next status update on facebook....only kidding). I will, however, take this opportunity to discuss the cultural differences relating to alcohol. Australians love their drinks. I don't think I've ever been to an alcohol free event here in Australia. Imagine my surprise when I began work as a high school English teacher and every Friday afternoon the staff met in the staffroom for a few drinks before heading home. Beer and wine was kept in the staff fridge. I can't even imagine having alcohol on a school campus in Texas. It doesn't matter if the staff are the ones drinking it, it simply isn't done. Don't get me wrong, as a young teacher in Texas, we did go out on Friday afternoons for a few drinks, but we left the school and went to a local bar for "happy hour". We would never have considered drinking at the school. No way.

I also remember when the Handsome Australian told me about the Friday afternoon ritual at his work. They'd generally have a meeting on a Friday afternoon with some finger food and some beers. Then when the meeting was done, everyone would go back to their desks and take their beers with them. They'd still be working away, sipping on a cold one. I don't think there are many American workplaces where that would be the norm. Going out after work to have a few cold ones, yes. Drinking them while at work, no.

All around, the Aussies seem much more relaxed when it comes to alcohol than the Americans are. I've never met anyone in Australia who has been a member of Alcoholics Anonymous and in fact, I don't hear the word "alcoholic" used very much here. It seems that people are much more accepting of the idea of drinking lots of alcohol and don't see a real problem with it.

Armed with those observations, you can imagine the Handsome Australian's explanations of his night out drinking in the US. I'll leave it to you to fill in the blanks.

And finally:
3. Are Aussie women tall?
Hmm...this one really had me thinking. I'd say there is a reasonable population of tall women here. It's probably comparable to the amount of tall women in the USA based on percentage of the overall population. I'll tell you one thing though my tall friend...there aren't any stores here that really cater to tall women. In the USA, you can walk into the GAP or similar store and have a choice as to what length pants you will buy--there is petite, regular, and long. Something for everyone. Here it seems everyone is expected to be the same height. So that is why I still buy my pants in the USA. That and all the clothes are generally cheaper there, but that's another blog for another day...

Thanks kristin and annelise for your interest and questions. I hope I've given satisfactory responses.

Stay tuned tomorrow as we make our way through more of your questions! There are some good ones coming up so be sure to check back!


Scintilla said...

Myers had 'Petite' sizes but I don't think they had 'tall'. They have them for 'big' the other sense.

H&JJ said...

Suzinoz, I just wanted to let you know that you do, in fact, have another reader! I often check out yours, Lee's and Kristin's blogs as I eat my lunch. You all provide such good entertainment - and following the November election where else will I turn for a good laugh! I wish I could share our own updates from Portland, but alas I have not worked blogging into my already fairly hectic schedule. Keep the posts coming!

Annelise said...

I think this was your most informative blog of the Q and A blogs. In fact it was not only the most informative but the best. Now one must ponder was it because of the awesome question contributors or just the genius of the lady that penned it.
To summarize some thoughts:
-I did not think the Handsome Australian had made up for the night
-Where the heck DO all the tall women live, and let us go shop there
-I did not know that there was a tidal wave flush as opposed to the circular motion
-More toilet trivia I did not know was the two buttons. Quite interesting. I think that is a good idea actually
-I knew there was not a z! I just knew it and I am not a fan of the zed!
-Maths. Seriously. Maths. OMG
-Drinking on campus..interesting. Would love that after TAKS!
-Drinking on the job...interesting

So many great tidbits in this blog. Kudos!!!!